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Page last updated at 22:22 GMT, Thursday, 17 February 2011

Europa League as it happened


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By Paul Fletcher

2220: OK, that is quite enough from me. Sam Lyon will be with you on Saturday to guide you through that day's football action. Many thanks for all your thoughts and words of wisdom.

Chris Whyatt's full-time verdict: "Ugly match but Liverpool happy. Are they ever anything else under King Kenny Part II?"

2218: Almost time to call it a night as far as this live text is concerned, but I won't be going anywhere before I deliver Chris Whyatt's verdict.

Sidewick Raymond on Twitter: "Summary of the Liverpool-Prague game: A tedious series of throw-ins punctuated by some moderately firm backwards passes."

2213: I'm now being told salmon can comfortably exceed more than 20 mph. Speedy.

Rangers goalscorer Steven Whittaker:"The tie is still alive for us. We just need to go over there and score and I'm sure we're capable of doing the job."

Europa League Jon: "Young Boys - tonight might be the night you finally become men. In the last minute of injury time substitute Emmanuel Mayuka has only gone and sealed a come-from-behind 2-1 win against Zenit St Petersburg."

Colin Moffat reports:
"That's a sore one for Rangers, losing a goal so late. Increased aggression paid off early in the second half and Steven Whittaker's splendid headed goal put the home side in a strong position but they sat back in the closing stages and were hit by that late sucker-punch. Kyle Lafferty squandered a host of good chances on a night he won't look back on with much fondness."

Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher: "We've got to make sure we do the job at Anfield."

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish: "There's a lot of value coming out of the game. It was not a classic. The onus is on the home team to put pressure on us and they did not really do that. On the night 0-0 was probably fair enough."

Jez Meyer on Twitter: "Spurs beat Milan, Arsenal beat Barca, Liverpool barely manage a shot on target against Sparta Prague..."

Europa League Jon: "Comeback o'clock - Spartak Moscow have only gone and turned a 2-0 deficit into a glorious 3-2 advantage away at Basle, Ananidze grabbing what will surely be the winner in injury time. Not gloating now, are you CSKA fans?"

2200: Hey, they gave us goals. Two of them.

2158: FULL-TIME: Rangers 1-1 Sporting Lisbon

2157: In the final minute of normal time at Rangers Kyle Lafferty has another opportunity from the edge of the area but his shot is straight at Rui Patricio and the goalkeeper beats the ball out once again.

Europa League Jon: "Lille - boasting one of Europe's best home records - have shipped two in a minute and are now tied at 2-2 against PSV. Former Aston Villa man Wilfred Bouma got the first, Ola Toivonen completing the comeback seconds later. Porto have also struck late, Freddy Guarin putting them 2-1 up at Sevilla"

2156: Rangers goalscorer Kyle Lafferty races through on goal moments later but his low shot from the edge of the area is kept out by Rui Patricio.

2155: Lets be positive - a clean sheet for Liverpool.

2154: FULL-TIME: Sparta Prague 0-0 Liverpool

2130: Substitute Matias Fernandez evades the Rangers defence to head a right-wing cross into the bottom corner from eight yards.

2153: GOAL Rangers 1-1 Sporting Lisbon

Terry Mahoney on Twitter: "Come on, Paul, display one of my tweets so that I don't feel that the last two hours has been entirely wasted."

2151: Three more minutes in Prague.

2150: Somebody has just texted to say that salmon can swim at 14 mph. Which perhaps tells you something about, in particular, entertainment levels in the Liverpool game. With three central defenders on the pitch, Liverpool are just ticking down the clock.

2146: Cracking effort from Sparta's Kamil Vacek, who drills a 20-yard effort narrowly wide as Pepe Reina attempts an athletic save.

2145: Joe Cole corner. Straight out of play. As a moment to epitomise the encounter in Prague I think it serves rather well.

2144: Ok, make sense of this please. Eight minutes left and King Kenny makes a change, lone striker David Ngog comes off, defender Martin Skrtel replaces him. What we have, we hold, perhaps?

Europa League Jon: "Rolando - an anagram of a much better player - scored for Porto to put them up against Sevilla only for Freddie Kanoute to equalise seven minutes later. And they'll be doing whatever the opposite of dancing is in the streets of Basle as the Swiss side blow a two-goal lead, Kombarov and Dzyuba scoring to bring Spartak Moscow back level."

2143: Almost flashback time for Liverpool fans as Marek Matejovsky smashes a long-range strike narrowly wide. He once scored against the Reds for Reading.

2140: No major alarms for Rangers since they took the lead. The salmon line, by the way, is of the 'rose like a salmon' type, just to satisfy those of you who asked.

2136: Wow, the fog really seems to have lifted (the home fans and team) in Prague. And we have a chance. Pepe Reina makes a sharp low save to deny Leonard Kweuke with a cracking effort on the turn.

2134: A lot of smoke drifts across the pitch in Prague. And I mean a lot. He has disappeared from view. Like something out of a John Carpenter horror film. I half expect pirates to appear out of the mist.

2134: A goal eh. Just thought I'd dwell on that for a second or two.

2130: Thank you, thank you, thank you. Cracking, fantastic header from Steven Whittaker, who climbs above everybody else, salmon-like, to crash home Vladimir Weiss' corner.

2130: GOAL Rangers 1-0 Sporting Lisbon

2130: Roughly 25 minutes left in both Prague and Glasgow. No goals so far. Right now I would settle for just the one to tell you about.

2125: Not seen too much of Joe Cole so far. Strong defending from Sotiros Kyrgiakos, who pushes the dangerous Vaclav Kadlec off the ball.

2123: I want to tell you something meaningful and exciting - oh, I can. Cracking effort from Sparta striker Leonard Kweuke, who heads narrowly wide from 14 yards.

2122: Wonder what Kenny makes of European club management?

2121: Tight and cagey at Ibrox. Not the best pitch by any stretch of the imagination. Not that it can be used as an excuse for some of the misses.

Zain Patel on Twitter: "Just think how bad it must be for Paul Fletcher! He has to watch both games!."
Thanks Zain. I feel kind of responsible.

Europa League Jon: "One late first-half goal I failed to mention and it's gone to Basle who now lead Spartak Moscow 2-0 courtesy of Marco Streller's far post header from a 41st minute corner. As you were everywhere else as… hang on just a moment. Young Boys have equalised through Senad Lulic at home to Zenit St Petersburg."

2115: I am going to say this is an effort to provoke some response. The Liverpool match is feeble, dour and poor. Just give us something, anything to clutch on to, to persuade us to stick with you. Yes, OK, so we have had a surfeit of riches this week but just provide one jewel of your own.

2112: Straight from the re-start Kyle Lafferty flicks on a long ball from Richard Foster, Steven Whittaker latches onto it but his low left-footed shot from 15 yards is tipped around the post by Rui Patricio.

2109: Play back under way at Ibrox. BTW, one change I should have mentioned in the Liverpool game - naughty of me not to do so - Joe Cole is on for Fabio Aurelio, who was injured late in the first half.

2107: Play resumes in Prague. Can we do better this half, please?

Loyal Royal, via text: "Speaking of familiar faces, Liverpool will be all too familiar with the sight of Marek Matejovski, who was in the Reading squad that knocked Liverpool out of the FA Cup last year."

Colin Moffat's half-time snap shot: "Sporting have bossed possession in the first 45 minutes against a nervous home defence but the two best chances have fallen to Rangers' lone striker Kyle Lafferty, who headed high and wide on both occasions."

Gary and Cameron, via text: "Dear Kenny, we are going to the 2nd leg. Please do not win or lose heavily. 0-0 is good so keep the talk at half-time low key. Thanks Gary & Cameron."

2051: Half-time: Rangers 0-0 Sporting Lisbon

Calum McClurkin on Twitter: "Switching over between the Liverpool and Rangers game and I don't know which one is worse. Both equally bad."

Chris Whyatt's half-time snap shot: "Barca-like possession from Liverpool initially but Sparta's penetrative wide men turning the tide."

Europa League Jon: "Lille have doubled their advantage against PSV with Tulio de Melo grabbing his fifth goal of the season. FC Basle are also ahead, Alexander Frei scoring for them at home to Spartak Moscow, whose fans will only be further discouraged to learn that CSKA Moscow are a goal up at PAOK Salonika. And Young Boys, who not so long ago were leading AC Milan's midweek conquerors Spurs 3-0 in a Champions League qualifier, are a goal down at home to Zenit St Petersburg. How the worm turns..."

2051: Half-time: Sparta Prague 0-0 Liverpool

2050: Chances started to flow now. Rangers keeper Allan McGregor makes a cracking smothering save after Yannick Djalo dances through the Scottish team's defence.

2048: Best chance so far for Liverpool. David Ngog heads down a corner but Dirk Kuyt cannot quite make contact with a shot on the turn.

2046: Rangers are having a good spell at the moment. Steven Whittaker lifts the ball over the Sporting keeper as Rui Patricio advances off his line but it also clears the crossbar.

Ed Morris on Twitter: "I have only just realised how boring football is when Arsenal and Barcelona are not involved."

2044: Not lost it has he, old Repka. I refer, of course, to the aggression and hint of malice. He is booked after tangling with David Ngog, who is unlucky to also find his way into the book.

2042: Finally something of a sight of goal for Liverpool but Sparta close down the largely anonymous David Ngog very quickly and his shot is blocked.

2040: A sweeping move from Rangers ends disappointingly when Kyle Lafferty heads over from close range. Poor. Over in Prague, Marek Matejovsky has a dangerous looking strike blocked.

2038: Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina fails to hold a cross from the right and the loose ball drops to the heavily involved Manuel Pamic, but he shoots wastefully wide.

2035: Half an hour gone in Prague and, disappointingly, there has not really been a clear-cut chance.

2033: Who is that being given a talking to from the ref after nailing an opponent. Oh yeh, Sparta Prague's Tomas Repka.

Elliot Sims on Twitter: "Oddly happy to see Lech Poznan get through. Maybe it's because I'm a City fan, but I'm not sure."

2031: Another chance for Sporting, created by another familiar face. Pedro Mendes, once of Tottenham, Portsmouth and Rangers, crosses but Daniel Carrico heads wastefully over.

Europa League Jon: "A great start for France's Ligue 1 leaders Lille who take the lead against PSV Eindhoven through Idrissa Gueye. Apparently it's a 20-yard drive from a half-cleared corner - might be worth watching later."

2027: On an evening rich in familiar faces, former Spurs striker Helder Postiga drills a left-foot strike wide for Sporting after creating space with a sharp turn.

Ricardo, Preston, via text: "Re Suarez - there's some long uefa rule which basically says you can't play in the same tournament for 2 clubs, or a tournament which your old club is still involved in. Suarez obviously fails under the latter. Pity, get Carroll fit!"

2024: Problems for Rangers. Madjid Bougherra picks up a shoulder injury and it looks as though Rangers will be forced into a change but he is able to continue.

2022:More problems for Liverpool. Martin Abena plays a cracking ball through to Manuel Pamic, whose left-foot strike across goal is palmed clear by Pepe Reina.

2021: Sparta win a corner and the ball is cleared to the 20-yard line. Another disappointing shots follows but it nevertheless is indicative of the fact that Sparta have started to climb into this contest a little.

2020: Rangers threaten to break forward but, oh hold on, there is a distinct lack of support players once a bridgehead is established at the half-way line.

2018: A sight of goal for Sparta, though I don't think Pepe Reina was too concerned as Andrej Keric drilled his strike wide from a tight angle.

2017: Possession, possession, possession. I wonder if the Liverpool players watched events at the Emirates on Wednesday.

Europa League Jon: "Alas it looks like the gamblers among you will be going to work tomorrow after all as the all-aways accumulator has come unstuck. Dynamo Kiev did their bit by winning 4-1 at Besiktas, Andriy Shevchenko among the scorers but normality returned elsewhere. Benfica came from behind to beat Stuttgart 2-1, Lech Poznan edged a tight game with Braga 1-0 while the Napoli v Villarreal and BATE Borisov v PSG matches finished tied, 0-0 and 2-2 respectively."

2012: Rangers boss Walter Smith watching his team form up in the stands. No big drama so far although former Chelsea player Maniche drags a shot well wide.

Ish Kadodia on Twitter: "Vaclav Kadlec....18 year old for Sparta Prague been in the first team since 2008! Watch out for him..."

2010: Decent start from Liverpool. Dominant indeed. Sotiros Kyrgiakos cannot quite get his head on a free-kick from Fabio Aurelio.

Simon Boendermaker on Twitter: "Do you reckon if Messi played for Rangers he'd be on the bench for being too attacking?"

2006: Play has started at Ibrox, Rangers in their normal blue, Sporting in white. No green in sight.

2005: The match has started in Prague, Liverpool in white shirts and black shorts.

Johnnyboy, via text: "It's a strange rule that allows Torres to play for Chelsea in the Champions League despite him playing for Liverpool in the Europa League but Ajax started in the Champions League and dropped into the Europa League. So why is Suarez ineligible when he has not played on this competition?"

2001: The Sparta and Liverpool teams working their way out of the tunnel. Rangers and Sporting have yet to quite reach that stage.

2000: Sparta Prague back in action tonight after their winter break. I could do with one of those. I guess there has to be some plus points to living in a country that has very cold winters. Tomas Repka in the Sparta side. Remember him?

Europa League Jon: "One 1800 GMT kick-off has finished with Ajax celebrating a 3-0 win against Anderlecht, Danish teenager Christian Eriksen adding to his burgeoning reputation with the second goal. Incidentally, stat fans, that is the third away win on the trot tonight - could there be a multi-millionaire in the making out there?"

1956: Apparently 16-year-old Liverpool striker Raheem Sterling did not make it on to the bench because he had some homework to finish. Not really, but he is on half term and apparently did take some school work with him. Dedication, that's what it takes.

1953: Just a quick line on Liverpool forward Luis Suarez. He is not involved tonight because he is not eligible to play having already played for Ajax in Europe this season. Hope that clears that one up.

Bored Serbio, via text: "In some tedious market research focus group in Wimbledon - good luck David Ngog. Deserves the start. Please deliver."

Arkwright on Twitter: "Greetings from Poland, Poznan 1 Braga 0, 5 mins to go. The nutters are playing in a snowstorm, but do the home fans care?"

Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish: "It's a great thrill [being back in Europe]. It's been a long time. We're in a competition that doesn't mean a lot to anybody that's not in it. But it means something to us, and we want to do our best. Sparta have got a couple of new signings and they've had a winter break, and this is their first game back. So it'll be a difficult game for us. But we know roughly what to expect."

ilan dee on Twitter: "All the talk this week about Raheem Sterling (5 great goals in the youth game!) - shame to see it didn't make the bench."

Chris Whyatt reports: "Liverpool are a totally reinvigorated club now following the second coming of Kenny Dalglish as manager. Remarkably, given his epic exploits as a phenomenal player bewitching the continent's best, King Kenny has never taken charge of the Anfield club on the European stage. Until now. That's as far as it goes for history in tonight's tie with Sparta Prague, who sit second in the Czech league. Tantalisingly, if 16-year-old [and 71 days] Raheem Sterling had featured, he'd have become the club's youngest ever first-team player. Not even on the bench."

1945: Time for a little shameless self-promotion. Around the time Kenny Dalglish returned to Liverpool with the aim of reviving his former club's fortunes, Stockport fans favourite Peter Ward was put in charge of the Hatters. Forget about Europe, his aim is to keep Stockport in the Football League. I spoke to him recently and found out that it isn't proving easy, at all.

McGregor, Foster, Bougherra, Weir, Papac, Whittaker, Edu, Davis, Weiss, Diouf, Lafferty. Subs: Alexander, Fleck, Naismith, Healy, Bartley, Ness, Hutton.
Sporting: Rui Patricio, Joao Pereira, Daniel Carrico, Anderson Polga, Evaldo, Mendes, Maniche, Zapater, Cristiano, Postiga, Djalo. Subs: Tiago, Carlos Saleiro, Fernandez, Andre Santos, Diogo Solomao, Coelho, Vukcevic.
Referee: Manuel Grafe (Germany)

1936: Help needed. Without you this live text is nothing. So, tweet via the hashtag #BBCFootball, ask me a question direct @Paul__Fletcher or text me via 81111 (UK). Thanks in anticipation.

Europa League Jon: "Two results to tell you about from the day's early matches and they're good news for anyone going for a five away wins forecast. FC Twente won 2-0 at Rubin Kazan thanks to late strikes from Luuk de Jong and Peter Wisgerhof and will be confident of easing through next week's return leg. And Leverkusen effectively sealed their place in the last 16 with a 4-0 victory at Metalist, Sidney Sam scoring twice in injury time for the side currently second in the Bundesliga."

Sparta Prague:
Blazek, Kusnir, Repka, Brabec, Pamic, Keric, Vacek, Kadlec, Matejovsky, Abena, Kweuke. Subs: Zitka, Podany, Sionko, Bondoa, Zeman, Husek, Pekhart.
Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Kyrgiakos, Wilson, Kuyt, Lucas, Maxi, Aurelio, Ngog, Meireles. Subs: Gulacsi, Cole, Pacheco, Jovanovic, Kelly, Coady, Skrtel.
Referee: Florian Meyer (Germany)

BBC Sport's Colin Moffat reports:
"We have a Scottish team in Europe beyond Christmas for the first time since Rangers reached the Uefa Cup final in 2008. With Nikica Jelavic cup-tied and Kenny Miller now plying his trade in Turkey, a lot rests on the angular shoulders of Kyle Lafferty. The Northern Irishman leads the home attack and manager Walter Smith will want El-Hadji Diouf, Vladimir Weiss and Steven Whittaker to drive on and support him. Sporting are struggling on the home front and an early goal for the hosts would be a real test of their mettle. Ibrox isn't a sell-out but we should be in for a noisy night of drama."

1930: Thursday, that can mean only one thing - and I am not talking about Question Time (although that is, I reckon, a pretty good show). It is very much Europa League night, with Liverpool in action at Sparta Prague and Rangers hosting Sporting Lisbon. We are down to the last 32 in this competition, snappily termed the round of 32 by Uefa. I like to call it the approach towards the business end.

Print Sponsor

Europa League results

17 Feb 2011 23:59 UK

  • Anderlecht0-3Ajax
  • Basle2-3Spartak Moscow
  • BATE Borisov2-2Paris SG
  • Benfica2-1VfB Stuttgart
  • Besiktas1-4Dynamo Kiev
  • FC Metalist Kharkiv 0-4Bayer Leverkusen
  • Lech Poznan1-0Braga
  • Lille2-2PSV Eindhoven
  • Napoli0-0Villarreal
  • PAOK Salonika0-1CSKA Moscow
  • Rangers1-1SportingFT
  • Rubin Kazan0-2FC Twente
  • Sevilla1-2FC Porto
  • Sparta Prague0-0LiverpoolFT
  • Young Boys2-1Zenit St P'sbg

see also
Sparta Prague 0-0 Liverpool
17 Feb 11 |  Europe

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