UEFA Cup round-up: Milan, Spurs put aside league woes | inside World Soccer


UEFA Cup round-up: Milan, Spurs put aside league woes

Friday, September 19, 2008

AC Milan and Tottenham secured their first win of the season in the UEFA Cup first leg of the opening round.

Both clubs have endured bitter starts to their league campaigns, but Milan, have lost their first two matches in Serie A, beat FC Zürich 3-1 and Spurs, rooted to the bottom of the Premier League, overcame Poland's Wisla Krakow 2-1.

Czech defender Marek Jankulovski put the seven-time European champions ahead with a deflected shot just before halftime.

Brazilian teenager Alexandre Pato doubled the advantage with a free kick in the 57th minute before substitute Marco Borriello made it 3-0 with a strike just outside the area 17 minutes from time.

Dusan Djuric pulled one back for Zurich with a splendid right-footed shot that ricocheted in off the crossbar in the 78th minute.

The win eased the pressure on coach Carlo Ancelotti, who is under fire after losing the opening two league matches.

Juande Ramos was also under pressure as he led Tottenham to its worst start to a domestic campaign in 34 years.

David Bentley had scored for Spurs but the visitors levelled within a minute through Tomas Jirsak.

But Darren Bent grabbed the winner for Spurs with a 73rd-minute header.

Elsewhere, Manchester City and Aston Villa came from a goal down to grasp crucial away victories in Cyprus and Bulgaria.

City fell behind four minutes to a 49th-minute goal from midfielder Klodian Duro, but former CSKA Moscow striker Jô levelled on the hour before he struck the winner in the 72nd minute.

While Aston Villa, the 1982 European champions, stunned by Ivelin Popov 's early goal on 10 minutes before Nigel Reo-Coker levelled on the stroke of halftime.

Villa captain Gareth Barry converted a 72nd-minute penalty to put the visitors in front on his 400th club appearance with the club.

Stilian Petrov added a third in stoppage time to give the his side a two-goal cushion.

The Bulgarians finished the match with nine men after the dismissal of Cedric Cambo and Mihail Venkov.

FA Cup winners Portsmouth started its first ever European campaign with a 2-0 home success over Vitória Guimarães.

Lassana Diarra opened the scoring on 39 minutes before Jermain Defoe netted the second on the hour mark.

Napoli stunned two-time European champions Benfica 3-2 before some 60,000 fans at San Paolo with goals from Luigi Vitale, Germán Denis and Christian Maggio.

Udinese used perfect counterattacks to secure a 2-0 away win over Borussia Dortmund with first-half goals from Antonio Floro Flores and Gokhan Inler.

Sevilla, winners in 2006 and 2007, made a successful return to the competition as they secured a 2-0 triumph over Salzburg.

An early Fernando Morientes goal gave 2004 UEFA Cup winners Valencia a 1-0 win at Maritimo.

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