|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Liverpool sink Barcelona at the Nou Camp
February 22, 2007 08:36 IST
Liverpool 2 Barca 1
Craig Bellamy and John-Arne Riise, who made headlines for all the wrong reasons last week, were Liverpool's scoring heroes in a famous 2-1 win over European champions Barcelona on Wednesday.
The two players were both fined and heavily censured by coach Rafa Benitez after a bust-up during the club's training camp in Portugal last week but both repaid Benitez's faith in playing them by finding the net.
The 2005 European champions now take a huge advantage into the second leg against the 2006 champions when they reconvene in the first round of this Champions League tie at Anfield in two weeks time.
Elsewhere former Porto boss Jose Mourinho saw his Chelsea side come back to draw 1-1 at the Dragao Stadium in an eventful match, AS Roma and Olympique Lyon drew 0-0 in Rome. and Inter Milan conceded a late goal to draw 2-2 at the San Siro with Valencia.
The outstanding match on a relatively quiet night of European soccer was at the Nou Camp where Liverpool, the only English club ever to beat Barcelona there back in 1976, repeated the feat.
Deco headed Barca ahead after 14 minutes and Bellamy equalised with a header that squirmed out of goalkeeper Victor Valdes's grasp and over the line two minutes before halftime.
Liverpool played the better football in the second half and deservedly went ahead when Riise lashed in the winner 16 minutes from the end.
Deco came close to equalising when he hit the post from a free kick before the Catalans slumped to only their second defeat in their last 20 Champions League matches and their first at home in the competition since April 2003.
Riise told Sky Sports News he and Bellamy had put the incident -- which involved a row over a Karaoke song and the unconventional use of a golf club -- behind them: "It is all over, it's behind us and we have to look to the future now," he said.
"There is no problem between him and me and all the team are very happy."
Bellamy, who celebrated his goal with an exaggerated golf-swing action, told Sky Sports News he agreed with his Norwegian team mate.
"There is no problem between us. You know how strict the manager is. If there was a big problem then I wouldn't have been here -- but there isn't one."
Inter Milan, who have won 16 successive Serie A matches and not lost since September, were held to a 2-2 draw at the San Siro by Valencia who twice came from behind to equalise with David Silva grabbing the draw for the Spaniards with a well struck volley three minutes from time.
Esteban Cambiasso put the Serie A leaders ahead with a 29th minute header before David Villa equalised with a thunderous 30-metre free kick after 64 minutes.
Defender Maicon restored Inter's lead with a well worked goal 14 minutes from time, before Silva gave Valencia real hope with his side's late equaliser.
The main talking point to emerge from AS Roma's goalless draw with Olympique Lyon was the fact English referee Mike Riley booked 11 players to equal the competition record set in Nov. 2000 when Dutch referee Dick Jol booked 11 when Panathinaikos played Juventus.
At least there were goals at the Dragao Stadium in Porto where the home side and Chelsea, managed by Porto's 2004 Champions League winning coach Jose Mourinho, battled out a 1-1 draw with Raul Meireles scoring for Porto after 12 minutes and Andriy Shevchenko equalising with a left-foot shot four minutes later -- his 58th European goal.
While Chelsea now look the more likely to advance to the quarter-finals the night was costly in terms of injuries for them.
England captain John Terry, who has only recently returned from a long injury layoff, went down after only eight minutes with an ankle ligament injury that will keep him out of Sunday's League Cup final against Arsenal -- and possibly a lot longer than that.
Chelsea also lost Dutchman Arjen Robben, who came on as Terry's replacement but picked up a muscle injury and was himself replaced by John Obi Mikel at the start of the second half.
The second legs of Wednesday's ties will be played on March 6. This year's final is in Athens on May 23.