Andriy Voronin's classy finish gave last season's UEFA Champions League finalists Liverpool FC victory at Toulouse FC in the first leg of their third qualifying round tie.
Voronin was making his European debut for Liverpool after his summer transfer from Bayer 04 Leverkusen and, just before half-time, the Ukrainian's powerful shot gave the five-time champions a lead to take to Anfield on 28 August. Toulouse, on their UEFA Champions League bow, have a tough task if they are to win a two-legged European tie for only the second time.
With the game kicking off in the afternoon due to the Assumption Day holiday in France, a temperature in excess of 30C contributed to the quiet opening. Steven Gerrard curled a free-kick centimetres wide on three minutes with the ball only just eluding Voronin, but it was not until midway through the half that the next real chance arrived, Gerrard shooting over.
Johan Elmander's angled effort forced Pepe Reina into a save before the half-hour, but with both teams sitting back the goal came as something of a surprise. Steve Finnan's long ball was headed on by Peter Crouch on the edge of the box to Voronin who controlled, turned and fired past a helpless Nicolas Douchez in the Toulouse goal.
Fodé Mansare came into the Toulouse midfield for the second half, when the home side were restricted to long-range attempts from Achille Emana and Elmander. Douchez then made a superb intervention as Crouch looked to head the ball beyond his grasp, while Gerrard again came close after fine work by Ryan Babel, who formed a useful understanding with his new team-mate.
With around 15 minutes left another Liverpool signing, Fernando Torres, made his UEFA Champions League debut as Voronin's replacement, but the Spain forward never really had an opportunity to emulate his colleague by getting on the scoresheet. Still, Liverpool's record of never exiting this competition in the third qualifying round seems on course to continue.
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