Liverpool leave it late, Roma come from behind to beat Real

February 20th, 2008 - 12:10 pm ICT by admin  

Hamburg, Feb 20 (DPA) Two goals in the last five minutes gave Liverpool a 2-0 victory against a ten-man Inter Milan in a round of 16 first leg Champions League match Tuesday, while Roma came from behind to beat Real Madrid 2-1 in the Italian capital. In other matches Tuesday, the only German club remaining in the competition, Schalke 04, beat Porto 1-0 in Germany, while Chelsea were held to a goalless draw in Greece by Olympiakos Piraeus.

In Liverpool, Serie A leaders Inter Milan were reduced to ten men when after just 30 minutes, Marco Materazzi was rather harshly sent off for a second bookable offence after a foul on Fernando Torres.

However, last year’s finalists struggled to make their numerical advantage count as Inter sat back and absorbed the pressure. The visitors had their first corner in the 68th minute, but were finally broken down five minutes from the end when Dutch striker Dirk Kuyt found the opening goal.

Captain Steven Gerrard scored a second in the last minute of the game to put the Premiership side in a commanding position ahead of the return leg.

Liverpool coach Rafael Benitez, who was under tremendous pressure after his side lost in the FA Cup on the weekend to lower-league Barnsley, said that he was happy that his side had come back strongly after that defeat.

“But we are not through yet. Inter have a very strong side and we will face a tough match in Milan,” Benitez said.

Kuyt said that the players had not given up at any stage. “It was a real big night for everybody. It is a big win and we just want to go through to the next round.”

The Dutchman said that they knew how special it was to play in the Champions League. “It is even better to win. And it was unbelievable when the goal went in. We played patiently and waited for our chance and I am pleased it came.”

In Rome, the visiting side was the better for most of the game, but failed to capitalise on their chances, though former Spanish striker Raul had given them an early eighth minute lead when he deflected a Guti shot past goalkeeper Doni.

Roma used their chances much better, equalising in the 24th minute through David Pizarro, whose shot took a fortunate deflection off Fernando Gaga to give Iker Cassilas no chance in goal.

The second half continued much as the first, with the Spanish side pushing forward, but Brazilian Mancini scored the winner for the Serie A team after being set up by Francesco Totti.

Bundesliga club Schalke 04 had an ideal start at home against Porto as Kevin Kuranyi gave them the lead after goalkeeper Helton pushed a shot from Rafinha into the path of the Germany striker and he made no mistake from 12 metres.

Kuranyi, who had a few chances to double his side’s lead later in the game, admitted that his goal was somewhat lucky. “I was at the right place, but then the ball took a lucky bounce.

“Of course it would be easier if we had scored a second goal and would have taken a 2-0 win to Porto, but we are still pretty happy with the result.

“Porto is very strong at home, so we certainly have to be at our best, but I think our chances are quite good.”

His coach Mirko Slomka said that his side had done what was expected from them. “When we went into the game, we wanted to win and we wanted to not concede a goal. We managed to do that, so I am happy.

“Porto was very strong in the second half and we had to be at our best.”

Big-spending Premiership club Chelsea were held to a goalless draw in Greece by Olympiakos Piraeus.

Chelsea coach Avraham Grant started the match with just Didier Drogba upfront, but the Ivory Coast striker could do little against the compact Olympiakos defence.

Grant brought on French striker Nicolas Anelka and Drogba’s compatriot Salomon Kalou with 15 minutes to go, but it was too late to find a winning goal.

The return legs are on 5 March, excepting the Inter game which will be played a week later.

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