Sat, Apr 07, 2007 - Page 20 News List

Spanish teams sweep to victories in UEFA Cup

AFP , PARIS

Tottenham Hotspurs' Michael Dawson, left, and Jermaine Jenas, right, fight for the ball with French forward Frederic Kanoute of Sevilla FC during their UEFA Cup soccer match at Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium in Sevilla, Spain, on Thursday.

PHOTO: EPA

Fredi Kanoute scored a controversial penalty as holders Sevilla beat his former English Premiership side Spurs 2-1 in their UEFA Cup quarter-final first-leg clash on Thursday to make it a good night all around for Spain's three representatives.

Osasuna perhaps came up with the result of the night by beating 1988 UEFA Cup winners Bayer Leverkusen 3-0 away.

Barcelona-based Espanyol will be kicking themselves despite beating Benfica 3-2 at home as they let 3-0 lead slip.

The night's other match saw AZ Alkmaar -- coached by Louis van Gaal, the former manager of Espanyol's city rivals Barcelona -- held 0-0 at home by Bundesliga highflyers Werder Bremen.

Kanoute's goal leveled the match after Ireland skipper Robbie Keane had given Spurs the ideal start by scoring inside two minutes.

Alexandr Kerzhakov's goal for Sevilla close to halftime kept the Spanish side's hopes alive of becoming only the second side to retain the trophy -- the other being Real Madrid.

The penalty decision, though, remained the burning issue and had both Keane and England goalkeeper Paul Robinson fuming.

Robinson was astonished by the decision.

"I got both my hands on the ball," the England goalkeeper said.

"The referee said afterwards that `you got your hands on the ball and then took the man out' but surely that is a fair challenge," he said.

Keane went even further.

"I thought the penalty was a disgrace," Keane said.

"To get an early goal and then get a decision like that!" he said. "It left the lads devastated."

Sevilla coach Juande Ramos, whose natural attacking style has attracted many other clubs, admitted that his side faced a tough task in its campaign to retain the trophy.

"We've got a goal advantage but against Spurs at home, with the crowd behind them, it's going to be a very tough game," Ramos said. "It's a very slim advantage."

Osasuna played well above their mid-table status and scored an even earlier goal than Spurs as Javier Cuellar headed home within the first minute.

Bayer never really recovered from that early blow, and they weren't exactly helped by one of their central defenders, Juan, who opted to play up front more often than trekking back to defend.

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