Valencia CF and Werder Bremen both gained morale-boosting domestic wins on Saturday ahead of their vital UEFA Champions League encounter on Tuesday. uefa.com rounds up the latest news on the teams in Groups E-H.
Arsenal FC need three points at home to eliminated Rosenborg BK to ensure progress but were boosted on Saturday by defeating Birmingham City FC 3-0 with a Robert Pires goal and two late Thierry Henry efforts. It was a useful boost after losing 1-0 to Manchester United FC in the English League Cup last eight on Wednesday when they fielded a young side, of which goalkeeper Manuel Almunia kept his place to make his first Premiership start against Birmingham. Edu (toe), Gilberto (vertebrae), Pascal Cygan (back), Robin van Persie (ankle), Jermaine Pennant (hamstring), Dennis Bergkamp (Achilles) and Jérémie Aliadière (knee) were all out on Saturday. Rosenborg continue to be hit by injuries, especially in defence. Ørjan Berg (knee), Christer Basma (heel) and Vidar Riseth (groin) are all out of the Arsenal game after recent operations, while Jan Gunnar Solli (groin) and Robbie Russell (knee) both doubtful. Torjus Hansén was also injured in Thursday's 2-1 win away against Danish side Esbjerg fB in the Royal League, but should be ready to play.
Panathanaikos FC, who must better Arsenal's result against Rosenborg when PSV Eindhoven come to Greece, were defeated 1-0 by arch-rivals Olympiacos CFP on Saturday, Rivaldo scoring the only goal. To make matters worse, Ezequiel González was sent off late on, but Panathinaikos are injury-free. Unbeaten Eredivisie leaders PSV, who are already through and need only a point to ensure first place, won 4-0 at bottom club De Graafschap on Saturday and broke AFC Ajax's league record of 1,082 minutes without conceding a goal, dating back to 1971. PSV's total now stands at 1,100 minutes from 12 games. Alex, Mark van Bommel and twice Jefferson Farfán scored the goals. Michael Lamey returned to the bench from hamstring injury, but striker Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink (shoulder) and attacking midfielder John de Jong (knee) are out until the winter break. Defender Kasper Bøgelund (thigh) and midfield player Theo Lucius (hamstring) are also out.
A John Hartson double gave Celtic FC a 2-1 home Scottish Premier League win against Hibernian FC. Alan Thompson and Chris Sutton returned to the side following suspension and Stanislav Varga also recovered from a thigh injury to play in defence. Stilian Petrov came off at half-time with an ankle injury and is a doubt for the match with AC Milan, in which a win would take Celtic into the UEFA Cup. Milan, who are already through to the first knockout round and need only draw to secure first place, claimed a 2-1 win at Parma FC on Saturday with late goals from Kaká and Andrea Pirlo to keep up the pressure on Serie A leaders Juventus FC. Jaap Stam and Filippo Inzaghi are still sidelined with long-term ankle injuries.
FC Shakhtar Donetsk beat FC Volyn Lutsk 3-1 on Thursday to return to the top of the Ukrainian Premier League for 48 hours until FC Dynano Kyiv won a postponed game. Captain Anatoliy Tymoschuk was missing through injury while Flavius Stoican was left on the bench by coach Mircea Lucescu prior to their game with already-qualified FC Barcelona, where Shakhtar must better Celtic's result to enter the UEFA Cup. Barcelona extended their lead at the top of the Primera División table to ten points after a comfortable 4-0 win at Málaga CF on Saturday, Samuel Eto'o scoring twice and Deco and Andrés Iniesta claiming the others. However, Ludovic Giuly picked up a hamstring injury last week in an AIDS charity match joining Henrik Larsson, Gabri García, Thiago Motta, Edmílson (all knee) and Gerard López (groin) on the sidelines. Larsson did, however, successfully undergo surgery in Colorado on Friday to reconstruct the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. With the transfer window closed, those injuries have given a chance to reserve team starlets Lionel Messi, Oriol Riera, Joan Verdu and Javito Peral.
Valencia CF welcome Werder Bremen on Tuesday and must win to take second place from the German champions. The Spanish title-holders left it late to steal a 1-0 win at Albacete Balompié as Xisco Muñoz's late goal put them into third place on Saturday night. The club extended the contract of Mali midfielder Mohamed Sissoko by three years to June 2011 last week, but although his ankle injury suffered last week has been diagnosed as just a strain, he will not play against Bremen. Miguel Ángel Angulo has a thigh muscle tear and Vicente Rodríguez is also out with the ankle injury suffered in Germany on Matchday 2, but the winger is back in training and is unlikely to need an operation. Roberto Ayala has entered the final stages of his recuperation from a knee injury while left-back Fabio Aurelio, who had the same problem, is now fully recovered and last week returned to action having been out since March. Bremen striker Ivan Klasnic was missing in their 6-0 win at SC Freiburg due a dislocated shoulder and is doubtful for the trip to Spain. Krisztian Lisztes and Gustavo Nery are long-term absentees.
Already-qualified FC Internazionale Milano won for only the third time in Serie A this season on Saturday as an Adriano hat-trick and further goals from Sinisa Mihajlovic and Christian Vieri saw off FC Messina Peloro 5-0. Inter goalkeeper Francesco Toldo was shown the red card four minutes into the second half with the score at 3-0, but substitute Fabian Carini saved a Nicola Amoruso penalty. Striker Kily González is still out through an ankle injury, while also sidelined are midfield player Emre Belözoglu (hand) and goalkeeper Alberto Fontana (foot). Nigerian striker Obafemi Martins missed the Messina game as a precaution due to fears about a medicine taken in midweek, while defender Carlos Gamarra was left out as he is still not fully fit after a knee injury. A win on Tuesday would confirm Inter as group winners, but in stark contrast their visitors RSC Anderlecht are just hoping to end their campaign with their first points in the group after five defeats. On Saturday they won 1-0 at KFC Germinal Beerschot Antwerpen, Aruna Dindane scoring the only goal 15 minutes from time. Defender Glen de Boeck has torn knee ligaments and will be out for the season, and Hannu Tihinen (foot), Mark Deman (thigh), Nenad Jestrovic (broken arm), Fabrice Ehret (muscular problem), Martin Kolar (knee) and Clayton Zane (knee) are also still injured. Goalkeeper Daniel Zitka broke his arm in training on Sunday to further increase the Belgian side's injury woes.
FC Porto lost 1-0 against SC Beira-Mar in the SuperLiga at the weekend but remain top. Coach Victor Fernández picked Areias, Pepe and Bosingwa but captain Jorge Costa and Benni McCarthy were suspended. Vítor Baía, Nuno Valente and Raul Meireles are still out injured. They must win on Tuesday to have any chance of retaining their European title, but the visitors to Porto, guaranteed group winners Chelsea FC, are in fine fettle after a 4-0 win against Newcastle United FC in which Mateja Kezman scored his first league goal for the club and kept their Premiership lead at five points. In midweek they earned a League Cup semi-final place by defeating Fulham FC 2-1, and José Mourinho has virtually a full squad to pick from at his former club.
Paris Saint-Germain FC failed to register a Ligue 1 win for the fourth week in a row after being held 1-1 by LOSC Lille Métropole at the Parc des Princes. Danijel Ljuboja (shoulder), Jérôme Rothen (ankle) and Jean-Hugues Ateba (ankle) are all out, but Brazilian striker Reinaldo - in for Ljuboja - got the goal for PSG, who will be through if they gain three points against PFC CSKA Moskva FC. CSKA themselves must win and hope Porto do not. With the Russian season over CSKA have been training in Marbella, and defeated Málaga CF 3-0 in a friendly on Wednesday with Yuri Zhirkov, Vágner Love and Rolan Gusev scoring. "I think the game was interesting and CSKA won deservingly," said captain Sergei Semak. However, defender Chidi Odiah, striker Ivica Olic and Daniel Carvalho were sidelined along with Jurijs Laizans, who sustained a minor injury in training and is likely to miss the PSG game along with fellow midfield player Carvalho. Odiah and Olic are doubtful.
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