Champions' League, day 5
Better results for Spain's Champions' League teams on Wednesday. Barcelona were the first side from La Liga to reach the next round despite being held to a 1-1 draw by Celtic, and Valencia's fate is now in their own hands after beating Anderlecht 1-2. (24.11.04)
Barcelona 1 - Glasgow Celtic 1
Barcelona made it through to the second round of the competition after picking up the point they needed in a 1-1 draw with Celtic. With only fifteen fit players available from his first team squad, Frank Rijkaard had little choice but to put out his strongest available line up. Still it looked as if they were going to run riot when Eto'o picked up a return pass from Deco to put them ahead midway through the first half, and then shot just wide a couple of minutes later. Hedman kept out efforts from Eto'o again and Giuly soon afterwards, and Xavi put another chance over the bar. But the Scots struck back on the stroke of half time, Hartson getting on the end of Petrov's free kick to turn the ball in on the far post. There the action stopped though, and in the end both sides settled for a point which helped them achieve their respective objectives. (24.11.04)
Anderlecht 1 - Valencia 2
Valencia fight to live another day after beating Anderlecht 1-2 in Brussels, and with Inter Milan holding Werder Bremen to a draw in the other group match, a 1-0 or better victory in two weeks time against the German side will see the Spaniards through to the last sixteen. Despite losing Aimar to injury in the pre-match warm up, Ranieri's side got off to the best possible start when Corradi put them ahead with a clever back-heel flick in the twentieth minute. The Belgians equalised though only five minutes later following a questionable penalty by Caneira on Aruna, Wilhelmsson scoring on the rebound after Cañizares saved Zetterberg's kick. But three minutes in to the second half Corradi set up Di Vaio for him to restore the lead, and that was how it stayed to the end. (24.11.04)
Bad news for Spanish sides tonight in the Champions League, with Real Madrid having to win their last game in Roma to qualify for the next round after being held to a 1-1 draw by Bayer Leverkusen, and Deportivo out of Europe completely after losing 1-0 against Olympiakos. (23.11.04)
Real Madrid 1 - Bayer Leverkusen 1
Another disappointing performance by Real Madrid, who could only draw at home to Bayer Leverkusen in the fifth day of the league stage. García Remón's side will now have to beat Roma behind closed doors in a fortnight's time to be sure of qualifying for the last sixteen. The Galacticos fell behind ten minutes before the break following a dreadful mistake by Samuel after Voronin had headed against the bar, the Argentine defender gifting the ball to Berbatov who gratefully tucked it into the net. Substitute Morientes missed an easy header before Raúl finally levelled the scores twenty minutes from the end after Figo and Zidane combined to set him up, equalling his club president Alfredo Di Stefano's record of 49 goals in European competitions. But the visiting defence held fast after that, stopping efforts from Roberto Carlos, Ronaldo and Raúl, and keeper Butt also saved a late Figo penalty after Zidane was tripped in the area.
Olympiakos 1 - Deportivo 0
Disappointment as well for Deportivo La Coruña, who find themselves without a chance of even playing in the UEFA cup after a 1-0 defeat at Olympiakos left them clearly at the bottom of their group without even one goal to their name. Javier Irureta's depleted side were lucky not to fall behind in the opening minutes when Molina saved from Okkas when free on goal, but there was anger from the Spanish camp when the referee failed to send off Schürrer and then Rivaldo for serious fouls later in the first half. Luque tested Nikopolidis with a free kick after the restart, but Molina had to make a couple of key saves before Rivaldo set up Djordjevic to score what was to be the only goal of the match. That was the end of Deportivo's hopes, and the Galicians are out after five seasons in a row of reaching the second stage of the competition.