Thursday, October 4, 2007

UEFA Cup Wrap-Up

The News: The first round of the UEFA Cup was completed today with teams squaring off in the second legs of their home and away ties.

Of Note:
Helsingborg 5 – 1 Heerenveen: Despite taking a two goal lead into the second leg, Michael Bradley and Heerenveen were unceremoniously eliminated from the UEFA Cup after today’s 5-1 loss left them two goals adrift on aggregate. Henrik Larsson opened the scoring for Helsingborg in the 20th minute, and the Swedish cup scored four more unanswered goals, before Heerenveen notched a late consolation in the 89th minute. Now Heerenveen turn their sights towards the weekend where they face SC Heracles Almelo in Eredivisie league play.

Standard Liege 1 – 1 Zenit St. Petersburg: Standard failed to overturn a three goal disadvantage from the first leg, and were eliminated from the UEFA Cup 4-1 on aggregate. Oguchi Onyewu opened the scoring in the 37th minute, but was sent off later in the half for his second bookable offense. Despite constant pressure in the second half, the Belgian Club couldn’t find the net again, and when Zenit scored a late equalizer in the 81st minute, Standard Liege’s fate was sealed. Despite being out of European competition, Gooch and his club remain in excellent form domestically, having not lost a game thus far this season. They’ll put their undefeated record on the line again this weekend when they face Germinal Beerschot on Sunday.

Everton 3 – 2 FC Metalist Kharkiv: Everton came from behind twice in a 3-2 victory that saw them advance into the group stage of the UEFA Cup. After the first leg ended even at one, the Toffees found themselves with their backs against the wall early, when Metalist Khariv scored the opening goal. After halftime, however, Everton turned it on, and scored three goals in forty-five minutes to ensure their passage into the next round. Tim Howard was between the posts for Everton, his second successive start after recovering from a dislocated finger. On Sunday, Newcastle travel to Goodison Park for an afternoon kick off as Everton tries to maintain their solid position in the Premier League table.

Up Next: It's the end of the line for Michael and Gooch, but for Timmy and his teammates they move on. Everton finds out who they face next on Oct. 9 when they hodl the drawing for the group stage.

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