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Home > Sports > Football > Reuters > Report


Liverpool earn slender lead

Martyn Herman | April 06, 2005 10:36 IST

Liverpool claimed a slender advantage over Juventus in their UEFA Champions League quarter-final with a 2-1 first-leg win on an emotional night at Anfield on Tuesday.

Olympique Lyon conceded a late goal in a 1-1 home draw with PSV Eindhoven, leaving the other tie also precariously balanced going into next week's second legs.

AC Milan play city rivals Inter and Chelsea face Bayern Munich in the other quarter-final first leg games on Wednesday.

Liverpool and Juventus were meeting for the first time since the Heysel Stadium tragedy 20 years ago in which 39 fans, mainly Italian, were killed when a wall collapsed following crowd trouble at the European Cup final in Brussels.

A minute's silence was observed in memory of those who died, and Phil Neal and Michel Platini, captains 20 years ago, took part in a ceremony in which Liverpool fans took a banner to the Juve supporters with the message "in memory and friendship".

Fans from both clubs staged a football match in the city before kickoff while there was a stirring rendition of Liverpool's anthem "You'll Never Walk Alone."

Any danger that the weight of the occasion would stifle the players was quickly erased, however, as four-time European champions Liverpool rolled back the years with a tremendous display of attacking football in the first half.

Defender Sami Hyypia volleyed them ahead after 10 minutes and 15 minutes later Luis Garcia lashed a swirling shot past helpless goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon to put Liverpool 2-0 ahead against a shell-shocked Juve.

The Italians regrouped, however, and snatched a vital away goal to take back to Turin just past the hour.

Defender Fabio Cannavaro's downward header found a way past Liverpool's young keeper Scott Carson to give the twice European champions a lifeline.

Despite conceding an away goal Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard was happy with the result.

"I don't think we'll play for 0-0, we've got the players to go there and nick a goal and hopefully we'll keep a clean sheet and then we'll be in the semi-final," he said of next week's second leg.

RELIEVED CAPELLO

Relieved Juve coach Fabio Capello was less happy. "We didn't play for the opening 30 minutes and I didn't like that at all," he said. "We gifted them two goals and there really was only one team on the pitch.

"Given the way things were after the first half, it is a good result for us."

French champions Lyon, bidding to reach the semi-finals for the first time in their history, dominated PSV for an hour after Florent Malouda had given them a 12th-minute lead.

They had chances to give themselves some breathing space for the trip to the Netherlands but were stunned 11 minutes from time when Philip Cocu's solo run and speculative shot squeezed inside Gregory Coupet's left-hand post.

PSV, champions in 1988 and conquerors of last year's runners-up Monaco in the previous round, will fancy their chances of reaching the last four, although coach Guus Hiddink was taking nothing for granted.

"It's a first step, but we know Lyon can be a dangerous side when they play away," he said.

Lyon coach Paul Le Guen, whose side enjoyed a superb 3-0 away victory at Werder Bremen in the last round, said everything is still to play for.

"We will be more than ready and you can look forward for another big fight," he said.


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