UEFA Cup round-up: Holders snatch victory; Valencia and Milan held | inside World Soccer


UEFA Cup round-up: Holders snatch victory; Valencia and Milan held

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The UEFA Cup resumed after a two-month break with reigning champions Zenit St Petersburg starting their title defence with victory, while Valencia and AC Milan grabbed important away goals.

Zenit, in action for the first time since Andrei Arshavin joined Arsenal, shook off the rust to beat VfB Stuttgart 2-1 on a grassless frozen field at Petrovskiy Stadium.

New signing Szabolcs Huszti gave Zenit the lead after just two minutes, only for Mario Gómez to restore parity 13 minutes later.

Zenit struggled before skipper Anatoliy Tymoschuk fired the winner from just outside the box in first-half stoppage time.

A Raúl Albiol own goal forced Valencia to a 1-1 draw with Dynamo Kiev at the Lobanovsky Dynamo Stadium.

It took just eight minutes for the first goal of the evening to arrive, with David Silva scoring off Juan Mata's right cross.

But before being sent off, Kiev striker Artem Milevskiy fired the ball across the penalty area, where it struck Raul Albiol and deflected past Valencia goalkeeper César to earn the home side a draw.

Milan conceded a late equaliser at Werder Bremen to take a 1-1 draw back to San Siro next week.

Coach Carlo Ancelotti left David Beckham on the bench and Alexandre Pato in the stands, unveiling a line-up different in emphasis to the one that lost to Inter Milan on Sunday.

Filippo Inzaghi put the visitors ahead in the 36th minute, slotting home after Per Mertesacker blocked his initial header.

But with six minutes to go, Hugo Almeida headed down to Diego, who controlled the ball with his chest and put the ball in with his left foot.

Bordeaux and Galatasaray played out a 0-0 draw in France, while Hamburg took a huge step towards the last 16 after a convincing 3-0 win at NEC Nijmegen.


Others scorline in UEFA Cup on Thursday:
Olympiakos1-3St Etienne
PSG2-0Wolfsburg
Sampdoria0-1Metalist Kharkiv
Aalborg3-0Deportivo La Coruña
Braga3-0Standard Liège


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