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League leaders look to Europe

Published: Monday 18 October 2004, 21.31CET
Feyenoord are one of four clubs from Groups A-D kicking off their UEFA Cup campaigns as domestic league leaders.
 
 
Published: Monday 18 October 2004, 21.31CET

League leaders look to Europe

Feyenoord are one of four clubs from Groups A-D kicking off their UEFA Cup campaigns as domestic league leaders.

The inaugural UEFA Cup group stage gets under way on Thursday, with 16 matches across eight groups. uefa.com rounds up the latest news from the teams in Groups A-D.

GROUP A

Feyenoord warmed up for the visit of Heart of Midlothian FC by winning 2-0 at Roda JC on Sunday. Strikers Dirk Kuijt and Salomon Kalou continued their fine form by scoring their seventh and ninth goals respectively as Ruud Gullit's team moved level at the top of the Eredivisie with PSV Eindhoven. Serbia and Montenegro Under-21 striker Danko Lazovic missed out with flu but should be available. Hearts manager Craig Levein was in Kerkrade to watch Feyenoord as his side lost 3-0 at Celtic FC. Levein left Celtic Park at half-time with Hearts trailing 1-0 to fly to the Netherlands. Hearts were 2-0 behind early in the second half when they were awarded a penalty, but Steven Pressley hit the post. Dutch forward Mark de Vries was sidelined by a foot injury, but should be fit for Thursday.

FC Schalke 04 achieved the result of the weekend in Germany by winning 1-0 at FC Bayern München. Gerald Asamoah got the only goal to lift Schalke to sixth place and send the UEFA Intertoto Cup winners into their opening game against FC Basel 1893 in confident mood. Defender Fabian Lamotte is out with an ankle problem, but is Schalke's only injury concern. Basel also won, coming from behind to beat Servette FC 2-1 at home to establish a three-point lead in the Swiss Football League. Christian Giménez drew the champions level with his ninth goal of the campaign before Mladen Petric scored the second-half winner - his fourth in five matches. Basel were without injured defender Murat Yakin, who will be absent in Gelsenkirchen.

Ferencvárosi TC open their campaign at home to Feyenoord on 4 November. The Budapest side lead the Hungarian First Division with seven victories from nine matches, but were held to their first draw at Újpesti TE on Sunday, despite taking the lead through Sorin Botis's spectacular strike. Hungary midfielder Szabolcs Huszti recovered from a back injury to play the full 90 minutes, his first since early September.

GROUP B

Athletic Club Bilbao claimed their second league win of the season against Málaga CF at the weekend, thanks to Ismael Urzaiz's solitary goal at San Mamés as Ernesto Valverde's team rose to 12th in the table. For the first group-stage match, against former competition winners Parma FC, midfielder Javi González is a major doubt because of a knee problem, while midfielder Tiko and striker Santiago Ezquerro are out with ankle and muscle injuries. In contrast, Parma's poor form continued with a 3-1 loss at Brescia Calcio. Italy striker Alberto Gilardino put Parma ahead on 11 minutes with his second goal of the campaign, but Silvio Baldini's side could not hold on and are now second from bottom, having yet to win in Serie A this season. Gilardino played the whole game despite receiving a knock to his achilles tendon.

FC Steaua Bucuresti climbed to second place in the Romanian First Division with a 1-0 home victory against FC Otelul Galati. Adrian Neaga scored with a header as Steaua moved to within three points of leaders FC National Bucuresti. Steaua were without the injured Florentin Dumitru, Mirel Radoi, Tiberiu Curt and Vasili Khomutovski, and only Dumitru may recover in time for Thursday's tie with R. Standard de Liège. Gabriel Bostina is suspended. Standard went fourth in Belgium by beating KVC Westerlo 2-0 at home on Saturday with early goals from Mohamed Tchite and Philippe Léonard. Wamberto and Sérgio Conceição are still injured and miss the trip to Bucharest.

Besiktas JK, who host Athletic on 4 November, thrashed Diyarbakirspor 4-0 at home on Saturday. It was only their second victory of the season, and came despite suspensions to defenders Ibrahim Toraman and Çagdas Atan, and injury to Ronaldo Guiaro. For the first time this term, Mustafa Dogan and Emre Asik were paired in central defence. Sergen Yalçin and Emre Asik gave Besiktas a 2-0 half-time lead, before Ibrahim Akin added two more after the break.

GROUP C

FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk won the first leg of their Ukrainian Cup quarter-final 2-0 at FC Neftyanik Akhtyrk. Dnipro were able to rest several key players but still prevailed with first-half goals from Serhiy Matiukhin and Konstyantyn Kravchenko, the latter a penalty. The Ukrainians kick off their campaign at home to Club Brugge KV, who won 2-0 at KSC Lokeren OV to maintain their two-point advantage over RSC Anderlecht at the top of the Jupiler League. The result was marred by the 40th-minute dismissal of striker Boško Balaban, but Brugge will take heart from the return of captain Timmy Simons after his knee ligament injury.

Real Zaragoza's meeting with FC Utrecht at La Romareda promises goals. Zaragoza's seven league matches so far have delivered 28 of them - 13 for Víctor Muñoz's men at home, including Sunday's 2-1 triumph against Real Sociedad de Fútbol. That result lifted the northern Spanish club into seventh place, level on points with Club Atlético de Madrid in fourth. For the visit of Utrecht, Muñoz misses defender Luis Cuartero because of broken ribs. Goalkeeper César Laínez, meanwhile, is not quite fit enough despite recovering from knee surgery. Utrecht were surprising 3-0 losers at lowly FC Groningen on Sunday, ending their run of four straight league victories. Dutch international Dave van den Bergh was absent with a hamstring problem but could be fit to face Zaragoza, while Belgian international Stéphane Tanghe played despite a broken hand.

FK Austria Wien have the week off before facing Zaragoza at home on 4 November. Austria won for the eighth time in the league on Saturday, beating SV Mattersburg 2-0 at home, and lead on goal difference from SK Rapid Wien. First-half strikes from Sigurd Rushfeldt and Ivica Vastic made sure of the points.

GROUP D

Panionios NFC lost for the third time in four matches on Saturday, 2-0 at OFI Crete FC, to drop to fourth from bottom of the Greek league. Coach Karol Pecze was without injured Mico Smiljanic as well as Evagelos Mantzios, Juan Martín Parodi and Jaroslav Drobný. Goalkeeper Drobný will miss out at home to Newcastle United FC, but Mantzios and Parodi are fit and Lubomir Meszaros may also play a part after being rested against OFI. Newcastle stretched their unbeaten sequence under new manager Graeme Souness to seven matches with a 1-1 draw at Charlton Athletic FC on Sunday. Craig Bellamy opened the scoring in that game and is likely to partner Alan Shearer up front as Patrick Kluivert is struggling with a hamstring injury. Midfielder Nicky Butt misses out through suspension.

FC Dinamo Tbilisi host FC Sochaux-Montbéliard with both sides boosted by weekend victories. The Georgian Cup winners moved four points clear in the Premier League by overcoming champions FC WIT Georgia 3-2 at home on Saturday. Sochaux coach Guy Lacombe was on hand to see Levan Melkadze score twice and Georgi Nemsadze add a penalty to secure the points. Dinamo will be without suspended Jaba Kankava on Thursday, but goalkeeper Irakli Zoidze returns from injury. Meanwhile, Brazilian Ilan struck a hat-trick in Sochaux's 3-0 rout of visitors Stade Rennais FC on Saturday, which lifted them to ninth in Ligue 1. However, fellow forward Jaouad Zairi damaged knee ligaments against Rennes, an injury which will keep him out for a week at least. Zairi was replaced by 17-year-old Jérémy Menez, who should start against Dinamo.

Sporting Clube de Portugal are hitting form ahead of their opener at home to Panionios on 4 November. Brazilian Liedson scored twice in the first half and Hugo Viana added two more after the interval as Sporting won 4-1 at GD Estoril-Praia on Saturday. It was only Sporting's second league win of the season, taking them to tenth in the SuperLiga. Marius Niculae, Danny and Nélson are all currently injured, while Mauricio Pinilla is doubtful for the Panionios match, which Hugo Viana will miss through suspension.

 
Last updated: 20/10/04 18.55CET

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