Champions league - quarter-finals, first leg
Barcelona rounded off a disappointing couple of days for Spanish sides when they lost 1-0 to Panathinaikos in their first leg tie. The only goal of the game came in the seventy ninth minute from a Basinas penalty after referee Terje Hauge ruled that Abelardo had brought down Kolkka, even though the Spanish international defender appeared to have reached the ball with his tackle. Up to that point the game had been rather dull, with Rexach lining up with a five man defence looking to take a draw back to the Nou Camp next Tuesday. Neither keeper was particularly troubled in the first half, with Rochemback shooting just wide for the Spaniards and Konstantinou heading past the post on a rapid counter attack by the Greek team. Barça increased the pressure after the break though, and when they failed to break through they threw on Rivaldo, who had been kept in reserve as he had not fully recovered from an ankle injury. He immediately brought a good save out of Nikopolidis, but then came the penalty leaving the Catalan side with an uphill battle next week. The prize for victory though is a possible semi-final tie with Real Madrid, and they will surely give it their best. Rexach's job probably depends on it. (03.04.02)
Real Madrid lost their first leg tie at Bayern Munich by 2-1 thanks to two late goals from the German side. Del Bosque had surprised everyone including Geremi in his starting line up rather than a recognised striker, but it proved an inspired decision as the Camerooni international blasted his side into the lead in the eleventh minute. Madrid appeared to have the game under control for the rest of the first half, but Munich came back after the break and Elber headed against the bar with César beaten. The international keeper seemed to be groggy after a knock, and Del Bosque was close to replacing him with Casillas. However he proved he was fully recovered saving a penalty from Effenberg after Pavón tripped Salihamidzic in the area. He then made two important stops from Elber and it looked as if it was not going to be Munich's night. However Effenberg made up for his penalty miss scoring from close range eight minutes from the end, and with two minutes to go substitute Pizarro forced the ball past the keeper to set up an exciting second leg match in Madrid next week.
It was a bad night for Spanish football, with Deportivo La Coruña losing at home 0-2 to Manchester United. Depor had never been beaten by an English side in the Riazor stadium and Alex Ferguson's team had never won in Spain against a Spanish club. However records are made to be broken, and after a lively start by the visitors, Beckham gave them the lead with a shot from fully 35 yards out which sailed over Molina into the top of the net. Barthez made a couple of good saves at the other end before Van Nistelrooy extended Manchester's lead shortly before half time, turning Silvestre's cross under the keeper. Depor were lucky not to have fallen further behind after the break when the referee waved away two penalty appeals against Scaloni, and Giggs broke through only to see his shot cleared off the line by César. However it is hard to see the Gallicians saving this one in Old Trafford next week, even though the English league champions will probably be missing the suspended Scholes and the injured Keane and Beckham, both of whom were carried off on stretchers during the match. (02.04.02)