Europa League action round-up – Matchday 3 – October 22, 2009

Fulham came agonizingly close to pulling off a famous victory over Roma at Craven Cottage last night. They scored the opener after 24 minutes, when Brede Hangeland headed in from Bjorn Helge Riise’s corner. Roma brought on David Pizarro and Simone Perrotta at half-time and began to get a foothold in the game. The pressure finally told when deep in the second half Stephen Kelly felled John Arne Riise in the penalty area. The referee awarded the Romans a penalty and confusion followed when, astonishingly, he showed a red card to Hangeland, following the advice of the goal line official. In the melee that followed, in which Kelly was conspicuous by his absence, the referee was finally convinced that it had been a case of mistaken identity, finally showing the card to the correct culprit. Mark Schwarzer pulled off a fine save from Jeremy Menez’s penalty and from then on it was backs to the wall for Fulham in a nail-biting final quarter of an hour. Roma now looked a real threat and finally got their reward in injury-time when Marco Andreolli fired the ball into the roof of the net from David Pizarro’s corner. It was a cruel finish for Fulham, who still look well placed for qualification. Whether UEFA choose to carry on their extra referee’s assistants policy after this season is less certain.

It was a miserable night at the Estadio Da Luz for Everton, who succumbed to their heaviest ever defeat in Europe, losing 5-0 to Benfica. Angel Di Maria put in a man of the match performance for the home side, setting up the first three goals – the first for Javier Saviola 14 minutes into the game, then two for Oscar Cardozo just after the break. The Toffees were 4-0 down after 52 minutes when Luisao scored from a Pablo Aimar corner and Saviola added the fifth late in the second half. David Moyes was forced to send out a greatly depleted and inexperienced side but he was able to find praise for his team after the game: “It was the best team we had and the players did everything they could. The boys came up against some serious players tonight. They are professionals and when you are out there to do your best, so I’ve praised them, but also they’ve seen the level they need to get to.”

Tony Mowbray was less charitable in his post-match comments, after watching his side narrowly lose to Hamburg. Marcus Berg scored the only goal of the game, following some great build up play from Ze Roberto. It might have been different had Scott Brown and Shaun Maloney not squandered first half chances, but Celtic’s once formidable home European record is now in tatters and qualification for the knockout stage looks unlikely. Mowbray, who seems to have discovered a new liking for conservative tactics, hinted at his desire to improve the quality of his playing staff after the game saying: “The players are honest, hardworking players and they are very hard on themselves. Players will get opportunities to remain at the club, but the quality needs to improve and I have to work hard to do that.”

Full Results

Thursday October 22, 2009

Group A
FC Timisoara 0-0 Anderlecht
Ajax 2-1 Dinamo Zagreb

Group B
Valencia 1-1 Slavia Prague
Lille 3-0 Genoa

Group C
Celtic 0-1 Hamburg
Hapoel Tel-Aviv 5-1 Rapid Vienna

Group D
FK Ventspils 1-2 Sporting Lisbon
Hertha Berlin 0-1 Heerenveen

Group E
Fulham 1-1 Roma
CSKA Sofia 0-2 Basel

Group F
Galatasaray 4-1 Dinamo Bucharest
Panathinaikos 1-0 Sturm Graz

Group G
Salzburg 1-0 Levski Sofia
Lazio 2-1 Villarreal

Group H
FC Sheriff 2-0 FC Twente
Steaua Bucharest 0-1 Fenerbahce

Group I
BATE Borisov 2-1 AEK Athens
Benfica 5-0 Everton

Group J
Shakhtar Donetsk 4-0 Toulouse
Club Brugge 2-0 Partizan Belgrade

Group K
PSV Eindhoven 1-0 FC Copenhagen
Sparta Prague 2-0 CFR Cluj

Group L
Austria Vienna 2-2 Werder Bremen
Athletico Bilbao 2-1 CD Nacional

Europa League action round-ups

Matchday 1 – September 17, 2009
Matchday 2 – October 2, 2009
Matchday 3 – October 22, 2009

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