Milan strike late, Sevilla suffer UEFA Cup loss
Brazilian Ronaldinho struck deep into injury time to give favourites AC Milan a 1-0 UEFA Cup group stage win at home to Braga while twice winners Sevilla suffered a 1-0 defeat at Standard Liege.sports Updated: Nov 07, 2008 10:10 IST
Brazilian Ronaldinho struck deep into injury time to give favourites AC Milan a 1-0 UEFA Cup group stage win at home to Braga on Thursday while twice winners Sevilla suffered a 1-0 defeat at Standard Liege.
Ronaldinho came off the bench just after the hour mark to help the Serie A leaders finally break the resistance of their Portuguese opponents with a sweetly struck shot from Gennaro Gattuso's pass.
On a good night for the Italian league's top two, Udinese won 2-1 at Spartak Moscow and in a clash of former winners, CSKA Moscow deepened Feyenoord's woes with a 3-1 win in Holland.
Seven-times European champions Milan top Group E on six points, ahead of VfL Wolfsburg who joined Braga on three points after making their UEFA Cup group stage debut in style by thrashing Heerenveen 5-1.
In Belgium, Dieudonne Mbokani's coolly finished first-half strike proved the undoing of 2006 and 2007 champions Sevilla as Standard followed up their fine first-round victory over Everton with an opening Group C win over the Spaniards.
They join Sevilla on three points alongside Sampdoria and VfB Stuttgart after the Germans left it late to beat Serbian champions Partizan Belgrade 2-0 thanks to Mario Gomez's fourth and fifth goals of the competition.
Brazil striker Vagner Love also made it five goals in four games as 2005 champions CSKA Moscow won 3-1 at Feyenoord to consign the twice winners to a second successive defeat. Lech Poznan and AS Nancy drew 2-2 in the other Group H match.
After their Champions League sides failed to win midweek, it was a better night for English clubs with Tottenham Hotspur easing past Dinamo Zagreb 4-0, Aston Villa edging Slavia Prague 1-0 and Manchester City FC beating Twente Enschede 3-2.
Tottenham, unbeaten in four matches since Harry Redknapp took over from former Sevilla coach Juande Ramos, got their UEFA Cup campaign back on track thanks to a Darren Bent hat-trick.
The striker scored two goals in the first half and slotted home another late on after Tom Huddlestone fired home a volley from outside the box just before the hour.
After defeating Spurs in Ramos's final game in charge, Udinese maintained their 100 per cent Group D record when Italy striker Fabio Quagliarella struck either side of a Clemente Rodriguez equaliser for Michael Laudrup's Spartak Moscow side.
Manchester City, who have won just once in their last six Premier League outings, again looked vulnerable in defence before outlasting former England manager Steve McClaren's Dutch visitors.
"We're trying really hard to get out of that," Shaun Wright-Phillips, City's opening scorer, told ITV.
"We've been told about it by the boss and we keep letting it happen so it's something we have to work on."
Racing Santander and 1997 winners Schalke 04 drew 1-1 in the other Group A fixture while Ajax Amsterdam were the sole Dutch winners after beating Zilina 1-0 in a Group F topped by Villa.
Former winners Galatasaray won 2-0 at Benfica in Group B where Hertha Berlin played out a 0-0 draw at Metalist Kharkiv. In Group G, FC Copenhagen grabbed a late 1-1 draw at Valencia and St Etienne beat Rosenborg Trondheim 3-0.
The top three teams from each of the eight groups progress to the first knockout round where they will be joined by the eight sides finishing third in their Champions League groups.