Sat, Dec 18, 2004 - Page 18 News List

Parma stays in running

EUROPEAN FOOTBALL A 3-2 win over Besiktas kept Italy in contention for a UEFA Cup championship as Athletic Bilbao scored a 7-1 victory at Standard Liege


Parma's Alessandro Rosina, right, and Besiktas' Mustafa Dogan scramble for the ball during their UEFA Cup Group B match in Pama, Italy on Thursday.


Parma hit back from an early goal down to beat Besiktas 3-2 on Thursday and maintain Italy's hopes of winning a UEFA Cup championship it used to dominate.

After Lazio's elimination, it looked like Serie A wouldn't have a single team left in a competition it won eight times in 11 seasons between 1989 and 1999 and had 10 finalists during that same stretch.

It appeared even worse when Okan Buruk gave the Turkish club a fifth minute lead at Parma's Tardini Stadium.

But Alberto Gilardino, Giuseppe Cardone and Daniele Degano turned the game around as Parma, which went into the game last in Group B, captured the third spot for a place in the knockout round and the last 32 for a great triumph by new coach Pietro Carmignani.

"It was like coming home for me," said Carmignani who was hired on Tuesday to replace the fired Silvio Baldini. "It was important for the team to advance in the UEFA Cup and luckily we did it with great determination."

Maybe it wasn't the top performance of Group B, however.

Athletic Bilbao scored a 7-1 victory at Standard Liege with a hat-trick in 54 minutes by Santiago Ezquerro to capture a place in the next round as group winner. Ezquerro scored twice in the first eight minutes as Bilbao ended the Belgian club's chance to qualify.

Switzerland's FC Basel joined Feyenoord and Schalke as qualifiers from Group A with a 1-0 victory over the Dutch club thanks to a strike by Argentine striker Cesar Andres Carignano.

Broken Hearts

Scotland's interest in European competition ended with Hearts 1-0 loss at home to Hungarian champion Ferencvaros which also didn't make it. The Glasgow clubs, Celtic and Rangers, had already been knocked out of the Champions League and UEFA Cup.

By contrast Real Zaragoza made sure there are five Spanish clubs in the last 32 by capturing a point in a 1-1 tie at FC Brugge.

Brazilian striker Savio Bortolini put the Spanish club ahead just before half time and, although Nastja Ceh replied for the Belgians, Zaragoza joins Bilbao, Seville, Villarreal and Valencia in Friday's draw.

Austria Vienna scored a 2-1 victory at FC Utrecht to gain a place in the next round as another qualifier from Group C, Sigurd Rushfeldt scoring the winner 12 minutes from the end.

Newcastle Leads Group

Mickael Isabey scored four minutes from the end as French club Sochaux reached the third round with a 1-0 beating of Greek club Panionios. Newcastle finished top of the group, however, despite surrendering an early lead through Craig Bellamy and being held 1-1 at home by Sporting Lisbon who replied through Miguel Custodio to make sure of qualifying.

Eight teams go into Friday's draw as group winners which means they don't need to face each other. They are Middlesbrough, AZ Alkmaar, VfB Stuttgart, Lille, Newcastle, Dnipro, Feyenoord and Athletic Bilbao. They are also joined by eight clubs who were eliminated from the more prestigious Champions League but gained the consolation of a UEFA Cup spot by finishing third in their group.

They are Greek clubs Panathinaikos and Olympiakos, Ukraine teams Dynamo Kiev and Shakhtar Donetsk and four more national champions, Spain's champion Valencia, Dutch club Ajax Amsterdam, Turkey's Fenerbahce and Russia's CSKA Moscow.

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