Picking through the debris of Thursday night's UEFA Cup semi-finals, the Dutch media find hope for AZ Alkmaar while the Russian press still expect PFC CSKA Moskva to prosper.
Sporting Clube de Portugal 2-1 AZ Alkmaar
Sporting travel to the Netherlands with the same result obtained in the first leg of their Round of 32 tie against Feyenoord. Then Sporting won the return to dump the Dutch side out of the competition. AZ Alkmaar have the same small advantage as their compatriots, having scored first in Estádio José Alvalade, however Mauricio Pinilla's goal could prove to be Sporting's passport to the final. It was precious. (A Bola, Portugal)
Substitute Mauricio Pinilla cruelly set back the AZ dream after they looked set to leave Portugal with a fantastic draw. With ten minutes left, he shocked Alkmaar with a long-range shot. But despite the late goal, AZ still have a good chance of reaching the final. The 2-1 defeat offers enough hope that they can go through next week in the Alkmaarderhout. This is partly thanks to goalkeeper Henk Timmer, who prevented Pinilla from extending the lead with a cool last-minute save. (Algemeen Dagblad, Netherlands)
The dream of a UEFA Cup final place is still in sight for AZ. The narrow 2-1 defeat by Sporting offers Co Adriaanse's side hope, although they again lost players last night. Michael Buskermolen and Olaf Lindenbergh both received yellow cards and will be suspended next week. Already suffering from injuries, AZ will have to call on their reserves for the second leg. However, even in a UEFA Cup semi-final, this team showed they will not be overawed. (De Volkskrant, Netherlands)
Parma FC 0-0 PFC CSKA Moskva
Parma's amazing UEFA Cup campaign goes on. Once again they controlled a more talented team in Roman Abramovich's CSKA, thereby keeping their final hopes alive. Yesterday's goalless draw means Pietro Carmignani's boys travel to Moscow knowing any score draw will send them through - while the Russians have to win which is never easy. Carmignani chose to rest his best players because avoiding relegation remains the club's target. However, his youngsters had nothing to lose and their brave performance prevented CSKA from playing as they would have wished. (Gazzetta dello Sport, Italy)
After games like this, match reports tend to refer to inner passion and who was responsible for the result. There was responsibility because neither side wanted to lose, while the passion on show prompted a glut of fouls from both teams. But the fact there were no half-time substitutions meant only one thing - the coaches were content with the football being played. CSKA dominated the latter stages and appeared capable of changing gears at any time but it seems they decided to wait another week. This Parma is a team the Army Men can beat and they must prove it at home. (Sport-Express, Russia)
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