Wednesday, 22 November 2006

CL: Matchday 5

Tuesday 21 November
Group H - Matchday 5
Julio Cesar's scorching free-kick gave AEK Athens a memorable victory over Milan at the Olympic Stadium in Athens as the Greek side kept their Champions League dream alive. The Brazilian striker curled home a superb left-footed shot after 32 minutes to secure a battling victory over the Rossoneri - a result which puts Lorenzo Serra Ferrer's team into second place behind their illustrious Italian visitors. Goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino was also a hero for AEK, producing a string of fine first-half saves to deny Filippo Inzaghi in particular. Milan missed a string of great chances in an entertaining match with Inzaghi guilty of some poor finishing.

In the other game, Lille's hopes of making it to the last 16 suffered a blow when they were twice pegged back by Anderlecht. Peter Odemwingie put Claude Puel's side ahead in the 28th minute but Mbo Mpenza levelled 10 minutes later. Nicolas Fauvergue again gave the hosts the upper hand two minutes into the second half but the lead lasted just 60 seconds before Mpenza again equalised. The Belgian champions finished the game with 10 men after Jelle van Damme saw red for a second bookable offence late on, but Lille had no time to make the extra man count. The result sees the French team slip to third and Milan qualify as group winners

Other Results - Matchday 5
Group E: Real Madrid 2-2 Lyon, Steaua Bucharest 1-1 Dynamo Kiev.
Group F: Benfica 3-1 FC Copenhagen, Celtic 1-0 Manchester United.
Group G: Arsenal 3-1 Hamburg, CSKA Moscow 0-2 FC Porto.

Wednesday 22 November
Group B - Matchday 5
Inter secured their passage to the knockout stage of the Champions League after a tense victory against Sporting Lisbon at the San Siro. Hernan Crespo grabbed the crucial goal for the Serie A leaders nine minutes before the break. The win means the Nerazzurri continue the fine run of form that has seen them put together three consecutive group wins to qualify after a disasterous start which saw them lose their opening two Group B games. Inter now face German champions Bayern Munich in the final match on December 5 as the group's two qualifiers do battle for the top spot.

Two goals from Claudio Pizarro were not enough to ensure Bayern Munich top spot in after they were held by Spartak Moscow in the penultimate round of matches. Bayern needed a victory in Russia to ensure they can not be caught by Inter who they face in the final game, but Spartak kept their hopes of qualifying for the UEFA Cup alive with a brave display. Maxim Kalinichenko's first-ever Champions League goal gave the hosts an early lead, before Pizarro looked to have put Bayern on course for an away victory with two superb strikes, only for Radoslav Kovac to equalise with just over 10 minutes remaining.

Group D - Matchday 5
Ciprian Marica's second-half strike gave Shakhtar Donetsk a vital home victory over a toothless Roma side. The Romanian striker scored on the hour mark to revive the Ukrainians' hopes of securing second place in Group D and qualifying for the knockout stages. It also marked the first triumph in Europe this season for Mircea Lucescu's side, who had only managed to register two points in their previous four group matches. Shakhtar dominated the game, with the visitors - who needed just one point to qualify - creating little. The Eternal City giants will nevertheless fancy their chances of progressing as they only need a point at home to Valencia in the last group game, while Shakhtar must win at Olympiakos and also hope the Spaniards triumph at the Stadio Olimpico.

In the groups other game, Valencia ensured they finished top of the pile in Group D after a straightforward victory over Olympiakos at the Mestalla thanks to goals from Miguel Angulo and Fernando Morientes. Quique Sanchez Flores' Spanish outfit went ahead through Angulo's deflected strike just before half-time and Morientes struck just a minute after the restart as the hosts comfortably collected their fourth win in five matches to give themselves an unassailable lead.

Other Results - Matchday 5
Group A: Levski Sofia 0-2 Barcelona, Werder Bremen 1-0 Chelsea.
Group C: Bordeaux 3-1 Galatasaray, Liverpool 2-0 PSV Eindhoven.

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