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Brugge and Austria on song

Published: Monday 8 November 2004, 9.27CET
Group C: Club Brugge KV and FK Austria Wien maintained their excellent form with weekend victories. features

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Published: Monday 8 November 2004, 9.27CET

Brugge and Austria on song

Group C: Club Brugge KV and FK Austria Wien maintained their excellent form with weekend victories.
UEFA Cup Group C rivals Club Brugge KV and FK Austria Wien maintained their excellent form with wins at the weekend, while FC Utrecht were beaten and FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk and Real Zaragoza could only draw.

Club Brugge
Club Brugge preserved their four-point lead in the Belgian First Division with a 2-0 home victory against KVC Westerlo - keeping a seventh clean sheet in 12 league matches. Boško Balaban opened the scoring with his ninth league goal and Gert Verheyen added the second eleven minutes before the break. Club Brugge were without defenders Marek Spilár, who is struggling with a hamstring injury, and Hans Cornelis, who has a muscle problem. Midfielder Jonathan Blondel hurt his ankle playing for the reserves and could be sidelined for two weeks, although he is expected to return for the Matchday 3 home game against Utrecht on 25 November. His team will be looking for their first Group C point, having lost 3-2 at Dnipro on Matchday 1.

Utrecht followed up the 2-1 home defeat by Dnipro with a 4-0 loss at fellow UEFA Cup participants AZ Alkmaar on 7 November. The latter result - the Dutch club's sixth match without a win - left them in ninth place in the Eredivisie. Winger Dave van den Bergh and defender Edson Braafheid both returned from injury, but goalkeeper Joost Terol faces a four-week lay-off with a thigh problem. Striker Hans van de Haar missed the Alkmaar game through suspension, yet is otherwise available for action. However, new signing Michael Mols is ineligible for the UEFA Cup group stage.

Dnipro failed to build on their 2-1 victory away to Utrecht when they were held 0-0 at home by the Ukrainian Premier League's bottom club, FC Borysfen Boryspil, three days later. With the draw, Dnipro dropped to ninth position with 16 points from 12 games, a massive 14 points behind leaders FC Shakhtar Donetsk. Nonetheless, the Group C leaders will be eyeing a third straight success - and potential qualification - on Matchday 3 when they entertain Austria.

Radoslaw Gilewicz's 70th-minute goal was the difference between Austria and Zaragoza on 4 November and the Polish striker was at it again the following Sunday, his 77th-minute strike breaking the deadlock against SW Bregenz before midfielder Markus Kiesenebner made sure of the points with the second goal in a 2-0 triumph. Coach Günter Kronsteiner's side have won their last two Bundesliga matches to move to within a point of leaders SK Rapid Wien.

Zaragoza recovered from the loss to Austria by climbing to sixth place in Spain's Primera División with a 1-1 draw at Club Atlético de Madrid. Sávio Bortolini struck first for the visitors after just two minutes, but Salva Ballesta levelled with nine minutes to play. Defender Luis Cuartero is fit again after a rib injury, but goalkeeper César Laínez remains sidelined. Zaragoza, with three points from two group outings, have Matchday 3 off so will have to wait until 1 December to face Dnipro.

Last updated: 23/11/04 11.22CET

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