UEFA cup, third round first leg
Spartak Moscow 0 - Mallorca 3
European football returned this week after a two month lay-off, with four Spanish sides competing in the Champions' League and four more in the UEFA cup. Mallorca kicked things off on Thursday evening with a visit to Spartak Moscow, and came away comfortable 0-3 winners thanks to a great second half performance. The Spanish side didn't let the adverse weather conditions get to them, and strikes from Eto'o, Toni González and Jesús Perera in the last quarter of the game virtually ensured their presence in the last sixteen of the competition.
Galatasaray 2 - Villarreal 2
Villarreal had the hardest task on paper of all the Spanish sides, but they started well under caretaker manager Paquito and raced into a two goal lead at Galatasaray. Román Riquelme was the architect of the side, combining with Roger to set up Sonny Anderson for a seventh minute opener, and then taking a pass from the Brazilian striker to score himself. The Turkish side came back though before the break with a goal from Murat after Reina saved from a César Prates free kick, and Prates levelled the scores himself with another free kick in the second half. Villarreal played the last half hour with ten men after Ballesteros was sent off.
Brondby 0 - Barcelona 1
A spectacular second half strike from Ronaldinho was enough to give Barcelona a one goal victory in Denmark against Michael Laudrup's Brondby. The Brazilian star fired a free kick against the bar and then ran on to collect the rebound in front of a passive defence and shoot into the roof of the net. The Catalans could have gone in front in the first half if Saviola and Luis García had converted their chances, but they should have done enough to ensure their passage through to the next round in next week's second leg.
Valencia 3 - Besiktas 2
Valencia left it to the last minute to beat Besiktas in a thrilling match in the Mestalla stadium. Pancu had twice put the Turkish side in front in the first half, and first Sissoko and then Canobbio had levelled the scores for Rafa Benítez's side. But with a draw on the cards, David Navarro rose to head Fabio Aurelio's free kick over keeper Córdoba and give his side a narrow advantage to take to Istanbul next Wednesday. (26.02.04)