Football: Marseille knock out ten-man Liverpool

26th March 2004, Comments 0 comments

MARSEILLE, France, March 25 (AFP) - Former European champions Marseille qualified for the UEFA Cup quarter-finals with a 2-1 victory over ten-man Liverpool here on Thursday.

MARSEILLE, France, March 25 (AFP) - Former European champions Marseille qualified for the UEFA Cup quarter-finals with a 2-1 victory over ten-man Liverpool here on Thursday.

Gerard Houllier's side, who drew 1-1 at Anfield in the first leg, saw their chances of qualifying hit hard when Croat midfielder Igor Biscan was sent off for pulling down former Fulham forward Steve Marlet minutes before half time.

Emile Heskey had opened the scoring on the quarter hour for Liverpool, only for Marseille striker Didier Drogba to pull the scores level from the spot after Biscan's foul.

Marseille's winner came courtesy of a bullet header from defender Abdoulaye Meite minutes before the hour mark.

Houllier, who after the furst leg was upset by Marseille's noisy celebrations at Anfield, looked visibly angry after the match. He felt the referee handled the penalty decision badly.

"I think it was the wrong decision," said Houllier.

"If he (Biscan) did something wrong, he did it outside the box. I think the refere gave them a bit of help today."

Marseille started sprightly but Liverpool did not wait long before wresting control of the match.

Stephen Gerrard's intelligent through ball from midfield found Heskey on the edge of Fabien Barthez's area.

Barthez, who had been given a bloody nose ten minutes earlier in a collision with his own defender, had no chance with Heskey's drive from 12 yards out which beat him easily.

Danny Murphy then almost doubled the score when he turned nicely and floated a perfectly-weighted curling shot over the head of Barthez which sailed just over the crossbar.

The closest Marseille got to scoring came when midfielder Mathieu Flamini's shot from the edge of the area was deflected out by John-Arne Riise.

Two minutes later Marseille were handed a lifeline when Biscan tugged at Marlet's shorts as he ran down on goal.

Marlet's shot went just wide of Dudek's left-hand post but his mistake did not escape the referee, who pulled out the red card and pointed to the spot.

Drogba left Dudek with no chance, driving the ball into the roof of the net.

Marseille immediately tried to make their advantage pay and the hosts had the ball in the net when Drogba's glancing header beat Dudek at his far post.
However the referee signalled a shove on defender Sammi Hyypia by the Ivory Coast forward just beforehand.

After the interval Houllier's men were always playing catchup.Marseille threatened on several occasions to increase their lead, with Riise's foot saving an intended close-range effort from Drogba only two minutes after the restart.

Hyypia had a great header from a deep corner going in the net before Brahim Hemdani blocked on the line for the hosts.

But it was Hyypia's block which gave away the corner which led to Marseille's goal.

After an outswinging corner to the left of Dudek's goal, Meite rose unchallenged to power his header into the net.

Seconds later Barthez had to run out and block at Owen's feet as the England striker attempted an immediate response.

Minutes later the England striker came off with a sore hamstring.Marseille then took over the match - although late substitute Bruno Cheyrou saw a promising volley from the edge of the area sail unluckily over the crossbar four minutes before the full-time whistle.

                                                              Subject: France news


0 Comments To This Article