Thu, Aug 05, 2004 - Page 19 News List

AS Roma loses to Liverpool while on US exhibition tour

AP , EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY

Michael Owen scored with five minutes remaining to give Liverpool a 2-1 victory over AS Roma on Tuesday night in the final match for both teams on their US exhibition tour.

The victory sends the 18-time English league champs home with two wins and a loss from its week-and-half stay, while Roma won only one of its three matches, a 5-1 rout of Celtic.

Liverpool next faces Austrian club Grazer AK on Aug. 10 in the third qualifying round of the European Champions League before beginning the English Premier League season on Aug. 14 at Tottenham Hotspur.

Roma's league season begins Sept. 12 with the group phase of the Champions League set for Sept. 14-15.

The Italian league runner-up last season played without Francesco Totti, who joined Roma's growing injured list by hurting his knee during training following the club's 1-0 victory over Celtic in Toronto on Saturday.

Owen, who entered the game to start the second half, scored from about 15 yards after Dieter Hamann forced Roma to turn over the ball near the top of the penalty area. The ball squirted free to the right side, where Owen ran onto it and struck it past goalkeeper Carlo Zotti.

"That's what makes Owen Owen," Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez said.

Roma's Marco Del Vecchio and Liverpool's Djibril Cisse scored nine minutes apart midway through the first half.

Del Vecchio gave Roma the lead in the 21st minute, converting an easy chance after getting a cross from Cristian Panucci that deflected off the back of Liverpool defender and into the Italian forward's pass 6 yards in front of the goal.

Liverpool tied the when Gerrard stole the ball from Oliver Dacourt at the top of Roma's defensive third and sent the ball forward to defender John Arne Riise on a play that Riise and Cisse both appeared to be offside.

With the rest of the Roma defense stopping, Zotti came out to challenge Riise, who squared the ball to Cisse to score.

Despite the match being played in 27-degree Celsius heat and 79 percent humidity, Roma didn't not use a substitution until Maurizio Lanzero entered the game in the 73rd minute ford defender Vicent Candela.

"We were missing 7 to 8 players for this match," said Roma manager Cesare Prandelli, who missed his club's first two matches due to his wife's health and only joined the club over the weekend. "These boys were tough."

By contrast, Liverpool had used its eight allowed substitutions by the 60th minute.

The victory followed Liverpool's win over Celtic on July 25 and a loss to Porto on Friday in Toronto. Roma lost 3-0 to Chelsea on Thursday before beating Celtic 1-0 on Saturday.

The match before 25,028 at Giants Stadium dropped the average crowd to 39,814 for the Champions World Series, a sequence of 11 exhibition matches in the US involving nine European clubs, including Manchester United and Bayern Munich. Last year's series of eight matches drew an average crowd of 52,821.

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