Liverpool, Lazio advance as Leeds crash

SUB-STANDARD: Struggling Leeds was dumped out of the UEFA Cup by Malaga, while competition favorites Liverpool and Lazio did enough to make the 4th round

AP , LONDON

Sat, Dec 14, 2002 - Page 19

UEFA Cup co-favorites Lazio and Liverpool marched forward to the fourth round of the UEFA Cup on Thursday, but another favorite Betis went out and was joined by slumping English side Leeds.

Lazio advanced on a 3-2 aggregate over the two legs despite an embarrassing 1-0 loss to Sturm Graz with Hungarian Imre Szabics scoring an 87th-minute winner. Lazio fielded a second team, saving itself for its weekend league showdown with Juventus.

Liverpool rode Michael Owen's 21st-minute goal in a lackluster 1-0 victory over Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem. The English advanced on a 2-0 aggregate and hope to duplicate their trophy in the 2001 UEFA Cup after being eliminated this year from the high-profile Champions League.

Spain's Betis, among the favorites with Lazio and Liverpool, took an exit with a 2-0 loss to Auxerre on goals by Teemu Tainio and Yann Lachuer.

The French advanced 2-1 after also being knocked out of the Champions League.

Another Spanish side had

better luck.

Malaga won 2-1 at England's Leeds on two goals by Panama's Julio Cesar Dely Valdes. The first-leg game in Spain ended scoreless. Valdes got the clinching goal in the 80th minute after giving Malaga a 1-0 lead in the 14th. Eirik Bakke equalized for Leeds in the 23rd.

Scottish side Celtic advanced to the final 16 on the away-goals rule despite its 2-1 defeat at Celta de Vigo.

Welsh forward John Hartson's 37th-minute strike proved crucial as the Scottish team went through 2-2 on aggregate. Goals in each half by Jesuli Mora and Benni McCarthy could not save the Spanish.

The result means that Celtic, Champions Cup winners in 1967, will extend a European campaign past December for the first time in 23 years.

Thursday's third-round, second-leg matches trimmed the UEFA Cup field to 16 survivors. They resume play on Feb. 20 in the fourth round of Europe's No. 2 cup competition.

Fifteen games were on tap Thursday. The 16th game was played on Tuesday when Polish side Wisla Krakow defeated Germany's Schalke 4-1 to advance 5-2.

In other matches, Hertha Berlin held Fulham to a 0-0 draw in London, allowing the Germans to advance. Luis Boa Morte had Fulham's best chance when he hit the outside of the post in the first half on a shot from 6m.

At Lyon, France, Mustafa Ozkan scored in the 4th minute as Turkish side Denizlispor defeated Lyon 1-0 and advanced 1-0 on aggregate.