Sat, Oct 21, 2006 - Page 18 News List

British teams enjoy UEFA wins

GREAT START Rangers made the headlines as the first Scottish team ever to win a European tie in Italy, as the UK's clubs did well in their first group matches

AFP , PARIS

Newcastle's Obafemi Martins, right, vies with Fenerbahce's goalkeeper Rustu Recber, center, in their UEFA Cup group match at St James' Park, Newcastle, England, on Thursday.

PHOTO: AFP

Newcastle, Tottenham, Blackburn and Glasgow Rangers made it a British night to remember when all four sides triumphed in their opening UEFA Cup group matches on Thursday.

Newcastle needed an Antoine Sibierski goal 11 minutes from time at St James' Park to ensure a 1-0 win over Fenerbache while Spurs also got the best of Turkish opposition with a 2-0 win at Besiktas.

Blackburn came from behind to defeat Wislaw Krakow 2-1 in a match marred by allegations of racist taunts aimed by some of the Polish team at Rovers' black striker Benni McCarthy.

Rangers, meanwhile, made history when they became the first Scottish team to win a European tie in Italy with a 3-2 victory at Livorno with all their goals coming in an eight-minute spell in the first half.

At St James's Park, Sibierski got the only goal of the game after 79 minutes as Newcastle clinched a 1-0 victory over Fenerbahce.

It had looked like being a frustrating night for Newcastle as they struggled to turn possession into chances, but as Steven Taylor headed Nolberto Solano's corner back into the middle, James Milner's air-shot created confusion, allowing Sibierski to prod home.

Against opposition of such evident quality, Newcastle would probably have settled for a draw, but in a tough group that also includes Palermo and Celta Vigo, winning the home matches could prove vital.

"It was a great win," Sibierski said. "We really needed to win tonight. I think we were very, very patient, and although we only scored once that was enough to win against a great team."

Blackburn will complain to UEFA after their South African striker Benni McCarthy was allegedly subjected to constant racial abuse in their 2-1 win at Wisla Krakow.

Rovers boss Mark Hughes said: "Benni was upset because a number of comments were made to him. They were of a racist nature. We will speak to UEFA and make it clear to them who we think was involved."

Blackburn had trailed at the break to a Roberto Cantoro drive.

Rovers were level 11 minutes after the interval when former Welsh international Robbie Savage headed in a David Bentley cross.

The visitors then snatched a dramatic last minute winner when Bentley was first to react after Wisla keeper Emilian Dolha had failed to hang on to the ball.

Spurs opened the scoring at Besiktas through Egyptian international Hossam Ghaly in the 32nd minute with Dmitar Berbatov sealing victory in the 63rd minute.

"Berbatov is the extra quality we have up front," said Spurs coach Martin Jol. "It was a terrific goal and hopefully it will break the spell as we have struggled to score this season."

In Livorno, Charlie Adam gave Rangers a 27th-minute lead with a smart volley before Kris Boyd made it two from the penalty spot on 30 minutes.

Cristiano Lucarelli then pulled one back with a controversial penalty on 32 minutes before recalled striker Nacho Novo drilled home Boyd's headed pass.

Lucarelli scrambled home his second in the 90th minute for a Livorno consolation.

"It was a good game. The first half was brilliant," said Rangers coach Paul Le Guen. "I'm very happy with the way we played. Perhaps this win can help us."

There was better luck for Italian clubs elsewhere with Parma beating Odense 2-1 and Palermo also enjoying a 2-1 win at Eintracht Frankfurt.

Holders Sevilla of Spain were held to a 0-0 draw by Czech side Slovan Liberec.

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