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Lively Lens live on

Published: Tuesday 29 October 2002, 22.01CET
RC Lens 2-1 AC Milan A John Utaka goal kept Lens's UEFA Champions League dream alive.
Published: Tuesday 29 October 2002, 22.01CET

Lively Lens live on

RC Lens 2-1 AC Milan A John Utaka goal kept Lens's UEFA Champions League dream alive.

A John Utaka goal four minutes into the second half saw RC Lens come from behind to win a second famous victory in as many weeks in UEFA Champions League Group G as they overcame AC Milan at the Stade Félix-Bollaert.

Unwise ball
With Milan trying to defend as Lens scampered forward, Andrea Pirlo played an unwise ball back to Thomas Helveg inside the area. The lively Utaka stole the ball off the defender and slipped it under goalkeeper Christian Abbiati and just beyond the despairing challenge of Alessandro Costacurta to earn a surprise win for Lens.

First-half dominance
The first half was controlled completely by Milan, who despite being without a number of first-choice players dominated possession and played some delightful football in midfield to leave Lens chasing shadows in front of their home crowd.

Excellent form
Andriy Shevchenko was in excellent form all game, finding space among a notoriously stubborn Lens defence and it took a truly exceptional challenge from Rigobert Song to deny the Ukrainian a shot on goal after 13 minutes.

Shevchenko strikes
However, Shevchenko was not to be denied for long and he opened the scoring from a beautifully-worked corner from the left after 31 minutes. Pirlo swung the ball across, Jon Dahl Tomasson nodded the ball on to the far post and Shevchenko stole in to head the ball into the net from barely three metres.

Near miss
A minute later, Lens were unlucky not to be level when Antoine Sibierski's cross was headed just wide by Utaka, but the home side were riding their luck too and only a poor first touch from Tomasson denied him a clear run on goal after 39 minutes. Shevchenko then flashed the ball just wide of Guillaume Warmuz's left-hand post.

Deft header
A minute later, Lens were level. A ball was lofted over the top of the Milan defence for Utaka, who spun around to wrong-foot the Milan defence before crossing for Daniel Moreira to beat Abbiati with a deft header.

Good save
Milan started the second half in determined mood and almost took the lead again stright from the kick off when Massimo Ambrosini's shot was only just tipped over the crossbar by Warmuz. It looked like the second half would be a re-run of the first until Utaka exploited a rare defensive mistake to take the lead.

Lively finish
From then on, the game really came to life, with Lens doing their best to hit Milan on the break while Carlo Ancelotti's side laid siege to Warmuz's goal. Song and Adama Coulibaly continued to be towers of strength in defence, although Shevchenko's substitution at half-time had certainly come as a relief for the home side. Pirlo just missed the target with an 81st-minute free-kick - Milan's best chance of the half - and full-time brought relief and rapture in Lens.

Last updated: 30/10/02 14.46CET

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http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=0/matches/round=1636/match=1036508/postmatch/report/index.html#lively+lens+live

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