Hanover - Hannover 96 bowed out of the UEFA Europa League after being held 1-1 at home by FC Anji Makhachkala on an action-packed night in the Lower Saxony capital.

Sergio da Silva Pinto struck with 20 minutes left on the clock to leave Hannover needing just one more to go through on the away goals rule. Instead, though, it was the Russian visitors who found the net deep in added time through Lacina Traore, to wrap up a 4-2 aggregate success.

A whisker away


Hannover started with exactly the sort of passion and tempo expected of them in such a tie. Szabolcs Huszti was at his string-pulling best, whipping a superb ball into the path of Mohammed Abdellaoue, who came within inches of prodding home. The Norwegian, too, had a real spring in his step, crashing a fierce effort narrowly past the post five minutes later.

The atmosphere inside the AWD-Arena was electryfying as Hannover again went close to reducing the aggregate arrears. Quick and direct, Didier Ya Konan sent a telling ball into the danger zone where Mame Diouf rose to send a glancing header just wide, before seeing an effort of his own miss the target by a hair's width towards the end of a promising first half.

Heartache


The Reds now had 45 minutes to find the two goals needed to secure their progress and, to their credit, were giving it absolutely everything as Marcel Schmiedebach's devilish cross forced an uncertain save from Anji goalkeeper Vladmir Gabulov. Hannover's all-out approach inevitably left them exposed, but when called on, Ron-Robert Zieler was on hand to deny Samuel Eto'o.

Slomka's men got the breakthrough their performance so deserved in the 70th minute, though, as da Silva Pinto smashed Huszti's pinpoint cross low and hard past the keeper to set up a grandstand finish, but eight added minutes played into Anji hands as Traore delivered the knockout blow with a minute left on the clock.

Line-ups:

Anji: V. Gabulov - Logashov, Joao Carlos, Ewerton, Yeshchenko - Jucilei, Diarra - Boussoufa, Akhmedov, Willian (Traore 68') - Eto'o

Hannover: Zieler - H. Sakai (Sobiech 83'), Djourou, Schulz, Pocognoli (Rausch 70') - Schmiedebach (Schlaudraff 61'), da Silva Pinto, Ya Konan, Huszti - Abdellaoue, M. Diouf

Goals: 1-0 da Silva Pinto (70'), 1-1 Traore (90+8')