Saturday, March 8, 2008

English teams suffer European shock

PARIS: Everton, Tottenham and Bolton failed to match the lofty heights of their Champions League counterparts on Thursday as their UEFA Cup dreams were left hanging in the balance.
Hopes were high that the three could follow the impressive examples set by Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal in midweek, but all three endured disappointing nights. Everton, who harbour hopes of playing in Europe's elite competition next season, slumped to a 2-0 defeat at Fiorentina in their last 16, first leg clash to lose their 100 per cent record in the competition.Tottenham were also beaten, going down 1-0 at White Hart Lane to PSV Eindhoven to shatter coach Juande Ramos's hopes of winning the competition for the third successive year.Bolton, battling relegation from the Premier League, drew 1-1 at home to Sporting Lisbon.
Glasgow Rangers kept British pride intact with a 2-0 win at home to Werder Bremen while title favourites Bayern Munich cruised to a 5-0 win at Anderlecht.Everton were indebted to goalkeeper Tim Howard who celebrated his 29th birthday in style with a string of fine first-half saves inside the cold and rain-swept Artemio Franchi stadium in Florence.But Fiorentina were deserving winners with second half goals from Serbian striker Zdravko Kuzmanovic and midfielder Ricardo Montolivo.Tottenham's English League Cup final hangover showed no sign of abating as PSV took a 1-0 advantage back to the Netherlands.Jefferson Farfan punished a horrendous first half mistake from debutant Gilberto to inflict a second successive defeat on Juande Ramos's side since they won the League Cup two weeks ago. At the Reebok, Bolton saw Sporting Lisbon's Simon Vukcevic crack a stunning equaliser to cancel out Gavin McCann's first-half opener to leave Gary Megson's side facing an uphill struggle in Portugal. - AFP

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