Thursday, 22 February 2007

UEFA Cup: Round of 32, Second Leg

Thursday 22 February
Round of 32, Second Leg: Parma 0-1 Braga [AGG: 0-2]
Despite dominating the game, Parma were knocked out of the UEFA Cup after being caught by a late sucker-punch from Braga's Diego. Attempting to overturn the Portuguese side's one-goal advantage from the first leg, Claudio Ranieri's men missed a score of chances in defeat. And things could have been so different for the Serie A strugglers as Daniele Paponi thought his superb drilled header had beaten Paulo Santos early on, only for the Braga goalkeeper to somehow tip the ball over the bar. Andrea Gasbarroni, Daniele Dessena and Giuseppe Rossi all went close before Braga midfielder Frechaut was dismissed for a second bookable offence. As Parma continued to push forward, they were caught out when Luis Filipe crossed for Diego to volley home in the 89th minute and set up a last-16 meeting with Tottenham Hotspur.

Round of 32, Second Leg: Espanyol 2-0 Livorno [AGG: 4-1]
Jesus Maria Lacruz scored his first goal for Espanyol as the Spanish side cruised into the UEFA Cup last 16, their 2-0 victory on the night sealing a 4-1 aggregate triumph against ten-man Livorno. Fabio Galante had kept Livorno hopes alive with his strike towards the end of the first leg in Tuscany last week, but when Lacruz registered early on, that optimism was quickly consigned to memory. The defender found himself in unusual territory on 16 minutes, yet demonstrated a striker's poise as he dispatched Luis GarcĂ­a's right-wing cross past Marco Amelia. He was in more familiar territory from the kick-off, although he could do nothing as Cristiano Lucarelli headed narrowly over the bar on the counterattack. It set the pattern of the match: Espanyol, and Luis Garcia in particular, causing a menace while Livorno looked to pounce on the break. Stefano Fiore spurned a gilt-edged opportunity to restore parity on the night as he shot straight at Gorka Iraizoz on the cusp of half-time. Any vague ambitions were vanquished soon after the restart, however, as the lively Luis Garcia teed up Ferran Corominas who rifled in his third goal of the campaign. Livorno continued to press, yet their misery was completed 12 minutes from time when Cesar was dismissed. Espanyol now face Israeli team Maccabi Haifa in the Round of 16.

This Week's Other Results:
Blackburn Rovers 0-0 Bayer Leverkusen [2-3], Glasgow Rangers 4-0 Happoel Tel-Aviv [5-2], AZ Alkmaar 2-2 Fenerbahce [AG 5-5], Nancy 0-1 Shakhtar Donetsk [1-2], Osasuna 1-0 Bordeaux [1-0 AET], Ajax 3-1 Werder Bremen [3-4], Macaabi Haifa 1-0 CSKA Moscow [1-0], Dinamo Bucharest 1-2 Benfica [1-3], PSG 2-0 AEK Athens [4-0], Sevilla 1-0 Steaua Bucharest [3-0], Celta Vigo 2-1 Spartak Moscow [3-2], Newcastle United 1-0 Zulte Waregem [4-1], Panathinaikos 0-0 Lens [1-3] & Feyenoord [P-P] Tottenham Hotspur*.

* Tottenham Hotspur get bye into the Round of 16 following Feyenoord being thrown out of the tournament for crowd trouble in the Group Stage.

Round of 16 Fixtures:
Newcastle United (Eng) v AZ Alkmaar (Ned), Maccabi Haifa (Isr) v Espanyol (Esp), Glasgow Rangers (Sco) v Osasuna (Esp), Braga (Por) v Tottenham Hotspur (Eng), Sevilla (Esp) v Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukr), Lens v Bayer Leverkusen (Ger), PSG (Fra) v Benfica (Por) & Celta Vigo (Esp) v Werder Bremen (Ger).

The Round of 16 will get under way on Thursday 8 March, with the return matches taking place the following Wednesday and Thursday. This season's final will be played at Hampden Park in Glasgow on Wednesday 16 May.

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