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UEFA praise Liverpool, Juventus
Mike Collett | April 06, 2005 12:47 IST
Liverpool and Juventus were praised by UEFA for the way they handled their poignant Champions League quarter-final first leg on Tuesday.
Deputy chief executive Markus Studer, among the official UEFA party at the first meeting of the two clubs since the Heysel Stadium disaster in 1985 when 39 mainly Italian fans died, said: "You have to say the organisation was just right, it was perfect.
"Liverpool must be applauded for the way they handled the arrangements and the fans of both clubs understood the message. There was not a hint of trouble in the stadium, there was a fantastic atmosphere and both clubs must be praised. It was a very successful night for European football."
Studer said the huge mosaic created before the kickoff by Liverpool fans at the Kop end holding up red, white and black coloured cards that spelt the word "Amicizia" - Italian for friendship -- was particularly touching.
"That was a very nice gesture and the Juventus fans warmly appreciated it. The whole match was played in a perfect atmosphere and the night was handled in the right way," he said.
Most Juve fans applauded the gesture, but not all of them seemed to appreciate the message of reconciliation.
Some turned their backs on the display and the simmering animosity means there could be some hostility for the return leg in Turin next Wednesday - especially if Juve cannot overturn their 2-1 first leg deficit.