Manager Gary Megson knows that Bolton Wanderers FC are in a "tenuous position" despite ending their Group F campaign with a 1-0 win at FK Crvena Zvezda.
Bolton succeeded where the likes of Manchester United FC, Liverpool FC and Arsenal FC failed, becoming the first English side in seven UEFA club competition meetings to win a game against Crvena Zvezda in Belgrade. The result moved them to the top of Group F with six points, but they may yet find themselves eliminated on Matchday 5 in the event of a doomsday scenario.
Should SC Braga beat Crvena Zvezda by more than one goal while FC Bayern München draw at home against FC Aris Thessaloniki, Bolton will be eliminated from the competition by virtue of a combination of goal difference and goals scored. Megson said: "We've done what we can and if we don't qualify its down to our two results at home. We've had two terrific results away from home – the draw at Bayern and now this one – but it's those two home results that have put us in this tenuous position."
Hired following the dismissal of Sammy Lee, Megson watched from the stands as Bolton drew their opening game 1-1 at home against Aris, but took credit for the subsequent 2-2 draw in Munich. A 1-1 draw at home against Braga was less impressive, but victory in Belgrade – courtesy of a fine effort from Gavin McCann – saw his side end their campaign on a high.
"He struck a great goal from about 30 yards in training on Wednesday night," noted Megson. "This one dropped nicely for him. There were a lot of bodies in the way but it was still a great strike." Bolton had rested several senior players for the game, with the manager putting the priority on Premier League survival and Sunday's crunch match with Wigan Athletic FC, saying: "I felt it was the right thing to do."
His fringe players served him well, despite a testing surface at the FK Crvena Zvezda Stadium. "You'd like to say you were playing on a level playing field but it was anything but – for both sides," said Megson, but joking aside, Crvena Zvezda coach Aleksandar Janković was impressed with Bolton. "I saw a well organised team tonight," he said. "I think Bolton have a good chance in this competition."
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