Europa League action round-up – Matchday 4 – October 22, 2009

For the second time in two weeks, an impressive looking Benfica beat Everton comfortably. The Portuguese side out-passed their opponents and fully deserved their victory, with Angel Di Maria particularly impressing. The Toffees did manage to test the Benfica goalkeeper in the first half, but the visitors always looked the more likely team to score and the pressure finally told early in the second period when Javier Saviola gathered a loose ball that had ricochet off Di Maria and coolly finished. Oscar Cardozo put the game beyond Everton after 76 minutes, reacting to a Ruben Amorim shot and finishing well into the bottom corner. A furious Tim Howard appealed for offside and replays suggested he had a case as Cardozo was standing beyond the last defender as Amorim shot. Despite having chalked up just one victory in the competition so far, Everton remain second in the group with their fate still in their own hands.

Celtic, on the other hand, will now have to hope for somewhat of a miracle in order to progress to the knockout stage following a 0-0 draw in Hamburg. The Glasgow side created chances, with Barry Robson firing over the bar from close range and Scott McDonald missing two decent opportunities although Hamburg had missed two good chances to score inside the first 90 seconds. The draw leaves Celtic needing Hamburg to lose both of their remaining games as well as winning their own – both scenarios appear unlikely. After the game, Tony Mowbray chose to look at the positives, albeit revealing some frustration at his sides missed opportunities: “Sometimes you’re in the dressing-room at half-time thinking you needed one of those chances to go in. But you put it into context – they’re a very powerful Bundesliga side – and you try to take positives from it, which are that we are frustrated but we know that we can compete.”

Fulham are still in with a chance of qualification despite losing away at Roma. They took the lead in the first half through a Diomansy Kamara penalty after the striker had been fouled by Marco Andreolli. The Cottagers then had two men sent off in a second half dominated by the Italian side. Substitute Erik Nevland was the first to go after 49 minutes for a tackle on Daniele De Rossi. It was a harsh decision that seemed to change the course of the game. Roma were level after 69 minutes when a John Arne Riise shot cruelly deflected off two Fulham players, including his brother Bjorn Helge, and beat Mark Schwarzer. The home side sealed the game seven minutes later with a header from Stefano Okaka Chuka and Fulham were then reduced to nine men when Paul Konchesky was sent off for a bad tackle. After the game, Roy Hodgson let there be no doubt as to what he thought of the sending off decisions: “I accept the situation as the referee makes the decision but I am not happy. The two red cards were very harsh. To play the second half down to 10 men is a bitter pill to swallow.”

Results

Thursday November 5, 2009
Group A
Anderlecht 3-1 FC Timisoara
Dinamo Zagreb 0-2 Ajax

Group B
Slavia Prague 2-2 Valencia
Genoa 3-2 Lille

Group C
Hamburg 0-0 CELTIC
Rapid Vienna 0-3 Hapoel Tel-Aviv

Group D
Sporting Lisbon 1-1 FK Ventspils
Heerenveen 2-3 Hertha Berlin

Group E
Roma 2-1 FULHAM
Basel 3-1 CSKA Sofia

Group F
Dinamo Bucharest 0-3 Galatasaray
Sturm Graz 0-1 Panathinaikos

Group G
Levski Sofia 0-1 Salzburg
Villarreal 4-1 Lazio

Group H
FC Twente 2-1 FC Sheriff
Fenerbahce 3-1 Steaua Bucharest

Group I
AEK Athens 2-2 BATE Borisov
EVERTON 0-2 Benfica

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

Group K
FC Copenhagen 1-1 PSV Eindhoven
CFR Cluj 2-3 Sparta Prague

Group L
Werder Bremen 2-0 Austria Vienna
CD Nacional 1-1 Athletico Bilbao

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