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Wednesday, 5 April, 2000, 22:17 GMT 23:17 UK
Lopez hat-trick stuns Lazio
Valencia celebrate the first of five goals
Valencia 5-2 Lazio

Valencia's Gerard Lopez stunned Italian side Lazio by scoring a hat-trick to lead the Spanish team to a brilliant 5-2 victory in the first leg of the Champions League quarter final.

The Serie A side were odds-on favourites to win this tie, but they now face a mammoth task for the return match after Valencia produced one of their best performances in European competition.

Lazio were two goals down in the first four minutes - and striker Gerard was involved in both.

In the opening seconds, the Valencia forward struck a stinging shot against Italian keeper Marco Ballotta, who only managed to parry the effort.

Midfielder Miguel Angelo seized upon the loose ball and finished off by slotting home.

Nedved (left) helped Lazio to their first goal
Three minutes later Gerard scored his first, when he sold a dummy, jinked inside the Lazio defence and finished off in style.

Lazio looked desperate, but managed to claw their way back after 28 minutes, through their star striker Simone Inzaghi.

Czech Pavel Nedved stormed down the left and sent in an inviting ball into the box for the frontman, who slipped his shot into the Valencia goal.

Gerard restored the two-goal advantage five minutes before the interval, when his powerful header gave Balotta no chance.

Lazio were without first-choice keeper Luca Marchegiani, and at times his absence was clearly a telling factor.

With ten minutes left Gerard stepped up to score his third.

And even though Lazio's Marcelo Salas reduced the deficit after 86 minutes, the Spanish side had the last laugh when the Argentinian Claudio Lopez rattled in the fifth.


Valencia: Canizares, Pellegrino, Djukic, Carboni, Angloma, Gerard, Farinos, Sanchez, Angulo, Lopez, Gonzalez. Subs: Bartual Molina, Bjorklund, Oscar, Albelda, Fagiani, Gerardo.

Lazio: Ballotta, Negro, Mihajlovic, Pancaro, Simeone, Gottardi, Nedved, Stankovic, Veron, Inzaghi, Almeyda. Subs: Modini, Marcolin, Sensini, Conceicao, Boksic, Salas, Lombardo.

Referee: Kim Nielsen (Denmark)

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