Sat, Nov 29, 2008 - Page 20 News List

Inzaghi deflates Pompey as Spurs, City march on

AFP , PARIS

Jamie Ohara, No. 24, of Tottenham Hotspur scores past Nijmegen goalkeeper Gabor Babos during their UEFA Cup Group B match in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, on Thursday. The Spurs defeated Nijmegen 1-0.

PHOTO: AFP

AC Milan’s veteran Italian striker Filippo Inzaghi grabbed his 65th career European goal to dent Portsmouth’s UEFA Cup ambitions in a 2-2 draw on Thursday as Manchester City and Tottenham eased to victory.

Portsmouth, in their first season of European soccer, were cruising at 2-0 in their Group E clash at Fratton Park after goals from Younes Kaboul and Kanu.

But substitute Ronaldinho pulled one back with a fabulous free-kick in the 84th minute before poacher Inzaghi struck in the second minute of injury time to put Milan, who now have seven points, into the knockout stages.

“We are struggling to put teams to bed, but they have some excellent players and if you switch off, they punish you,” Portsmouth boss Tony Adams said.

Manchester City made it two wins out of two in Group A with an assured 2-0 victory over Germany’s Schalke 04 in Gelksenkirchen, which followed their opening 3-2 victory against FC Twente.

Paris St Germain’s 2-2 draw with Racing Santander in the same pool meant Mark Hughes’ City are assured of a place in the next round.

City took the lead on the half-hour mark when Daniel Sturridge’s cross was sidefooted home by Zimbabwean striker Benjani Mwaruwari to stun the majority of the 60,000-strong crowd.

In-form midfielder Stephen Ireland tucked away the second in the 65th minute.

The result follows City’s convincing 3-0 victory at home to Arsenal at the weekend, and Hughes feels his side are in fine fettle ahead of tomorrow’s derby meeting with Manchester United.

“It’s been a great week,” he said. “It started off very well, beating Arsenal, and we’ve carried on with a great performance here and that leads us very nicely into a certain game at the weekend.”

Tottenham enjoyed a 1-0 win at Dutch side NEC Nijmegen with Jamie O’Hara’s 14th-minute header proving the clincher after Fraizer Campbell had hit the bar.

Harry Redknapp’s side now have six points from three Group D games, which should be enough to see through.

“The pitch wasn’t particularly good,” Redknapp said. “It was difficult to really pass the ball but we were strong and solid and I never felt in any danger. Six points is job done.”

In Group H, CSKA Moscow beat Lech Poznan of Poland 2-1 to make sure of their place in the knockout stages.

Alan Dzagoev and Yuri Zhirkov’s first-half goals secured CSKA’s third successive win with Semir Stilic hitting a late consolation for the Poles.

In Group G, French side St Etienne also reached the last 32 after a 1-1 draw with Bruges, but the match was overshadowed by fighting between the two sets of fans in the Belgian city.

The top three teams in each of the eight groups go through to the knockout stage where they will be joined by the eight third-place finishers from the opening round of the Champions League.

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