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Leaders build up confidence

Published: Tuesday 26 October 2004, 0.21CET
Group C: Club Brugge KV and FK Austria Wien continue to set the pace in their domestic leagues. features

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Published: Tuesday 26 October 2004, 0.21CET

Leaders build up confidence

Group C: Club Brugge KV and FK Austria Wien continue to set the pace in their domestic leagues.
UEFA Cup Group C rivals Club Brugge KV and FK Austria Wien continue to set the pace in their respective countries but things are not going as well domestically for Real Zaragoza, FC Utrecht and FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk.

Spilár setback
Club Brugge had a disappointing start to their group stage campaign, going down 3-2 at Dnipro on Matchday 1. However, the Belgian leaders made no mistake three days later when they won 2-0 at home to RAA Louviéroise, with Nastja Ceh and Gaëtan Englebert scoring the goals. Philippe Clément lost his place at the expense of Czech defender David Rozehnal while Marek Spilár hurt a hamstring just before the game and did not feature. Also, on the injury front, Jonathan Blondel has returned to reserve-team action but fellow midfielder Serhiy Serebrennikov remains sidelined with a thigh problem.

Rushfeldt ban
A 1-1 draw in the Vienna derby was enough to keep Austria top of their domestic table. After sitting out Matchday 1, Austria will be raring to go after their creditable away draw against SK Rapid Wien - although their neighbours are just behind them on goal difference. Ivica Vastic's seventh goal of the season put Austria ahead before a mistake by goalkeeper Joseph Didulica let in Rapid for the equaliser. Striker Sigurd Rushfeldt faces an Austrian Bundesliga ban after being shown the red card just before the final whistle.

Villa rested
After setting the early group pace with a 2-0 home win against Utrecht, Zaragoza slipped to a third domestic defeat of the season three days later. They went down 1-0 at Real Racing Club Santander, succumbing to a goal after just four minutes, and sit eighth in Spain. However, coach Víctor Muñoz had opted to keep star striker David Villa, who scored both goals on Matchday 1, on the bench and instead paired Goran Drulic and Óscar González in attack. Other news is that goalkeeper César Laínez, who underwent knee surgery last month, is due to return to training although a first-team comeback may be several weeks off. Club captain Luis Cuartero remains sidelined with fractured ribs.

Braafheid worry
Utrecht followed their 2-0 defeat on Matchday 1 with a 2-1 loss at fellow UEFA Cup contenders SC Heerenveen three days later. Richal Leitoe scored the Dutch side's consolation in the final minute but there was a worrying development when defender Edson Braafheid left the field after just 12 minutes. However, the 21-year-old defender's knee injury was not thought to be too serious on closer examination. There is more concern over goalkeeper Joost Terol and attacker Dave van den Bergh who were both substituted against Zaragoza.

More recovery time
Dnipro had the luxury of four days' rest after their 3-2 success against Club Brugge, with the home league fixture against FC Metalurh Donetsk taking place the following Monday. However, the Ukrainian side could only draw 3-3, despite an early goal from Serhiy Nazarenko. Metalurh replied with two strikes before Nazarenko equalised, but it then needed a late effort from Dnipro substitute Olexandr Melashchenko to salvage a point after the visitors had again gone ahead.

Last updated: 26/10/04 12.18CET

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