Group F: There were wins all round in Group F over the weekend as Real Madrid CF and the other two sides in action kept clean sheets.
Real Madrid CF 1-0 Real Zaragoza
A Roberto Carlos penalty saw Real Madrid claim a narrow win to stay within touching distance of the leading pack in the Primera División. Madrid won a spot-kick on 75 minutes but Robinho's shot was saved by César, who faced the same situation again three minutes after that. This time Roberto Carlos grabbed the ball off Robinho and successfully converted to give Madrid victory.
"I was the one who told Robinho to take the first penalty, but I didn't want to risk missing again so I told Roberto Carlos to take the second," said coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo. "The last three matches have been very good for us because we have overcome some difficulties. The team is tired so all I can do is praise them for their hard work. They have proved they have the strength to prosper."
It was not all good news for Madrid, however, after Jonathan Woodgate was forced off after 20 minutes with an injury to the back of his left thigh. The 25-year-old has only just returned following a 17-month injury layoff caused by a problem on the front of his left thigh. He will undergo a scan on Monday to discover the extent of the injury.
Toulouse FC 0-1 Olympique Lyonnais
Lyon remain clear at the top of Ligue 1 after their eleventh win from 14 games in the competition. Winger Sidney Govou scored on ten minutes with Lyon's first chance as he headed in Juninho Pernambucano's corner. The visitors remained in control until the later stages when goalkeeper Grégory Coupet had to make a couple of key saves
Coach Gérard Houllier fielded a similar team to that which defeated Olympiacos 4-1 in Athens, though Fred started and Benoît Pedretti remained in the stands. Houllier said: "We have finished this run of seven games within 21 days on a high and this win was not the easiest after a massive game in midweek. Toulouse gave everything at the end and could have levelled without a superb performance by Coupet."
After the match Houllier confirmed he will release Coupet, Eric Abidal, Anthony Réveillère, Florent Malouda, Govou and Sylvain Wiltord for the France team to take on Costa Rica in a friendly on Wednesday at Fort-de-France in Martinique despite the non-international date. "I agreed out of respect for the French Football Federation, and because the players wanted to join the squad," he said.
With the Norwegian Tippeligaen having reaching its conclusion last weekend, Rosenborg coach Per-Mathias Høgmo has set his sights on arranging some friendly matches to prepare his side for the remainder of their UEFA Champions League campaign.
"We do need match practice, but nothing is finalised as yet," said Høgmo. Three points from four Group F games means Rosenborg can no longer qualify for the round of 16, but with two games remaining against Olympique Lyonnais and Olympiacos CFP, Høgmo is now targeting third place and a UEFA Cup round of 32 berth. “We have no chance of going through in the [UEFA] Champions League so our aim now is third place which will give us a place in the UEFA Cup, and my team is certainly capable of winning that competition.”
Ørjan Berg (ankle), Finland midfielder Miika Koppinen and United States defender Robbie Russell (both knee) are already ruled out for the remainder of the group phase for Rosenborg, but there are no new injury worries for Høgmo following defeat to Real Madrid CF on Matchday 4.
Olympiacos CFP 2-0 Xanthi FC
Olympiacos moved top of the Ethniki Kategoria following a win against previous leaders Xanthi, who finished the game with nine men. It was the first time Olympiacos had played in front of their home fans since being forced to play behind closed doors following last season's crowd disturbances at the Greek Cup final.
Vassilios Torosidis put through his own goal on two minutes to put Olympiacos ahead, before being dismissed for fouling Ieroklis Stoltidis in the penalty area after 53 minutes. Captain Predrag Djordjević converted the spot-kick, before Paraskevas Antzas became the second visiting player to see red with 12 minutes remaining.
"I am satisfied with the three points, because it was a difficult match to play after losing against Lyon," said coach Trond Sollied. "We were extra careful and played well in the first half. We lacked rhythm after the break but still did not allow our opponents to be dangerous and our confidence has been boosted after going top."
Athanasios Kostoulas (groin) was replaced in the centre of defence by Yaya Touré, while goalkeeper Antonios Nikopolidis started after being sidelined recently with a virus. Michalis Konstantinou (groin), Michalis Kapsis (calf) and Ioannis Taralidis (abdominal strain) were also absent.