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Drought bites hard in England

Published: Wednesday 20 October 2004, 14.50CET
While the press in England bemoaned a barren night, an Englishman was making headlines in Spain. features

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Published: Wednesday 20 October 2004, 14.50CET

Drought bites hard in England

While the press in England bemoaned a barren night, an Englishman was making headlines in Spain.
While the press in England bemoaned a goal drought for Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC, an Englishman was making headlines in Spain. Elsewhere, Olympique Lyonnais and AS Monaco FC were once again giving the French papers cause for satisfaction.

Liverpool FC 0-0 RC Deportivo La Coruña

On the night that Michael Owen finally scored his first goal as a Real Madrid player, Liverpool were left to rue a lack of killer instinct and a frustrating draw leaves their Champions League ambitions hanging in the balance. The half-time announcement of Owen's long-awaited breakthrough in Spain brought the only cheer of the night. (The Times, England)

A Deportivo that fails to create chances is only half a Deportivo - the kind that we saw last night at Anfield. The Coruna-based side limited themselves to resisting and settling for a more than debatable draw against a Liverpool who dominated them. This team is like a tightrope walker without a net that now must teeter along an eternal wobbly cord with just three games left. But even so, the group remains open. (La Voz de Galicia, Spain)

AS Monaco FC 2-1 Olympiacos CFP

Monaco have overtaken their opponent in the standings and taken the lead of their group, which gives them every chance before the return games. But how much did they suffer to come to this point? They even nearly wasted, as is often the case those days, the benefit of a first half where their forwards had worked wonders to break the Greek defence. (L'Equipe France)

Olympiacos paid the price for a very poor start to the match - they were trailing 2-0 in the first ten minutes. Their miraculous recovery in the second half, when they were in total control, was not enough at the end. They left Monte Carlo with a bitter feeling that they could have achieved more.(Sportime, Greece)

Bayer 04 Leverkusen 3-1 AS Roma

The visitors confirmed their bad reputation with a lot of indiscipline. When the Italian players were not occupied with playing dead, they were striking their opponents. This only had consequences close to the end when the Panucci and De Rossi received their red cards. An improved Leverkusen side won 3-1 and after this second win in three games now have a good chance of reaching the knockout stage. (Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, Germany)

Once again Roma failed to control fragile nerves. It's unforgivable. First Panucci, the most experienced player in the squad. Then De Rossi, the emerging talent. His tackle was horrifying. Coach Del Neri has a tough job to make the players think with their heads more than with their legs. The defence also need to improve. Roma's mistakes transformed a balanced match into an embarrassing night. (Gazzetta dello Sport, Italy)

Real Madrid CF 1-0 FC Dynamo Kyiv

At just the right moment, Michael Owen popped up, scored and then left without a whisper. The Englishman has been a prisoner of a melancholic drought and this lucky goal, his first for his new club, might serve as some kind of anti-depressant. For Madrid it was much more significant because it give them a glimmer of hope.(El Mundo, Spain)

Madrid was fun ... A lot of chances and shots on goal and on Ronaldo. The game was fun throughout. Real offered open football and Dynamo, after a bit of hesitation, took the challenge. But they could not take their numerous chances, and now have to be satisfied with hitting Ronaldo's testicles twice. If that's any consolation at all. (, Ukraine)

AFC Ajax 3-0 Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC

Ajax have passed the first part of this double exam brilliantly. Although coach Ronald Koeman said the match was not one for survival, it certainly was. Since the weekend the club had been swimming in a dangerous area between inflammation and explosion. A series of incidents and conflicts and tarnishing defeats had left Koeman insecure. (Algemeen Dagblad, Netherlands)

Maccabi Tel-Aviv suffered their third defeat in Champions League Group C and have yet to score a goal ... Coach Nir Klinger made several changes to his starting lineup in an attempt to surprise the Dutch with a more attack-oriented formation but a mere four minutes into the match, Klinger's plans were dealt a massive blow when Ajax took an early lead. (Jerusalem Post, Israel)

Juventus FC 1-0 FC Bayern München

A solid Juventus defeated Bayern with one combination between Ibrahimovic and Nedved. The Bianconeri are almost qualified after their third 1-0 win in the group. This is increasingly becoming Fabio Capello's Juve - we don't remember many coaches being able to build such pragmatic and cynical teams like Capello is doing. (Corriere dello Sport, Italy)

After Sebastian Deisler's setback, another heavy blow. This 1-0 defeat in Turin, while Ajax were winning 3-0 against Tel-Aviv, means that all of a sudden Bayern have to worry about going through. In front of a small crowd, there were few highlights, the action taking place between the penalty areas in a space without any fun. Bayern looked like they would settle for a point, but they forgot Pavel Nedved. (Bild, Germany)

Fenerbahçe SK 1-3 Olympique Lyonnais

Fenerbahçe surrendered with a 3-1 result and it means they need a miracle to advance any further in the Champions League.The Istanbul giants astonished their fans who packed the Sükrü Saraçoglu stadium by losing arguably the most crucial match of the group. (Hürriyet, Turkey)

Who can stop Lyon? The three-times French champions are unchallenged in all competitions and extended their incredible away streak to five wins and one draw. Better still, it meant Lyon took control of Group D and they can wrap their ticket up in two weeks' time. It would be a great achievement. (L'Equipe, France)

AC Sparta Praha 0-0 Manchester United FC

Shining Sparta outdid themselves when they stunned the famous Manchester United with their aggressive play and nearly claimed a major victory. The draw is a brave result, however, and, more importantly than the first point, is the Sparta performance against the supermen from Old Trafford. The fears of a ten-man defence proved unfounded as Sparta showed a proud and stout effort. (Sport, Czech Republic)

Manchester United are now a safe bet to reach the knockout stages although nobody who watched the prosaic, stuttering performance will be convinced about their chances of returning the prime European trophy to Old Trafford.(The Guardian, England)

Last updated: 20/10/04 15.21CET

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