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RELATED BBC SITES
Wednesday football as it happened
Champions League, third qualifying round, first leg
Sparta Prague 0-2 Arsenal Toulouse 0-1 Liverpool Spartak Moscow 1-1 Celtic

Premier League
Birmingham 2-2 Sunderland

Fulham 2-1 Bolton Manchester City 1-0 Derby Portsmouth 1-1 Manchester United Reading 1-2 Chelsea Wigan 1-0 Middlesbrough

GOALFLASHES AND MAJOR INCIDENTS (all times BST)

By Charlie Henderson

Player of the day: There might not have been many magic moments in the game between Wigan and Middlesbrough, but clearly whatever there was came through Jason Koumas who has notched an amazing 9.33. Fulham goalscorer David Healy is also up around the nine mark at the minute.

2157: For all the latest reaction to the action stick with the BBC Sport website. Have your say on anything football related with Tim Lovejoy on BBC Radio 5live's 606 in a few minutes. Then catch all the goals and red cards from the Premier League on Match of the Day from 2240 BST on BBC One. A full weekend of fixtures will promise more Premier League thrills and spills.

2155: FULL-TIME Wigan 1-0 Middlesbrough
Paul Scharner's wasted effort at the end doesn't matter. A first win of the season for Wigan. Problems for Middlesbrough? Next up is a trip to Fulham. Lose that and the answer would be yes.

2154: Wigan's Paul Scharner - now with blonde hair - should have wrapped up the points at the JJB. He breaks but shoots into the side netting.

2152: FULL-TIME Reading 1-2 Chelsea
Jose Mourinho is frantically punching the air as the final whistle goes. A game of two halves and Chelsea maintain their 100% start to the Premier League campaign. Reading have a red card problem.

2150: Middlesbrough have four minutes more to find a leveller. Boss Gareth Southgate is furious on the touchline and has thrown centre-back David Wheater into attack.

2149: Three minutes of added time at the Madejski Stadium. Standard fare 10 v 11.

2146: Chelsea look good for their win against 10-man Reading. If they maintain their advantage they will be four points ahead of Manchester United after just two games.

2145: You can catch all the Premier League action, plus the four goals from Everton's win over Tottenham on Tuesday, on Match of the Day on BBC One at 2240 BST.

2143: Just the two games still going - Reading v Chelsea and Wigan v Middlesbrough. Have your say on all the action with Tim Lovejoy on BBC Radio 5live's 606 from 2200 BST. Call on 0500 909 693, send in a text on 85058 or log on at 606 to join the debate.

2142: FULL-TIME Fulham 2-1 Bolton
A first win of the season for Fulham. A second successive defeat for Bolton.

2140: FULL-TIME Birmingham 2-2 Sunderland
Old Manchester United team-mates Steve Bruce and Roy Keane shake hands on a draw after a second last-minute goal of the season for Sunderland. The visitors had an amazing 58% of possession.

2138: FULL-TIME Portsmouth 1-1 Manchester United
The defending champions are yet to win this season and now they will go into Sunday's derby without Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney. A second draw of the campaign for Pompey.

2136: GOAL Birmingham 2-2 Sunderland
Chaos in the Birmingham box as Colin Doyle brilliantly saves Ross Wallace's free-kick. The ball balloons high in the air and Stern John is on hand to head in against his former club.

2136: FULL-TIME Manchester City 1-0 Derby
A goal and a win. Yes, a goal and a win at Eastlands for Manchester City. Home fans will relish that as the Sven-Goran Eriksson revolution goes on. Two games, six points, three goals scored and none conceded.

2135: Four more minutes at Fratton Park in that tempestuous match between Portsmouth and Manchester United.

2134: FULL-TIME Sparta Prague 0-2 Arsenal


High fives all round for the Gunners as new skipper William Gallas gathers his team in a post-match huddle. This seems to be the Frenchman's 'thing'.

2133: GOAL Sparta Prague 0-2 Arsenal
Arsenal were on the back foot but now they're looking at the group stages of the Champions League. A quick break from the corner and Bacary Sagna finds Alexander Hleb who secures his second injury-time goal in four days with a scuffed left-footed effort.

2132: Arsenal are in added time and on the back foot. A shot flashes wide of Jens Lehmann's left post. It took a deflection.

2131: RED CARD Reading
Two games played and two red cards for Reading. May as well call them Reding this season. Kalifa Cisse will have an early bath after a second booking. He caught Claudio Pizarro. Not a great debut by any stretch of the imagination.

2130: Stern John hits the Birmingham bar from a Carlos Edwards cross. So close but so far for Sunderland who trail 2-1.

2129: RED CARD Manchester United
Mayhem at Fratton Park as United wait for a corner. Cristiano Ronaldo butts Richard Hughes and is given his marching orders after a dose of handbags in the box involving pretty much one and all.

2128: GOAL Birmingham 2-1 Sunderland
The Blues are back in front at home to Sunderland. The ball is worked to Garry O'Connor on the right and he rifles an effort across Craig Gordon into the far corner.

2126: RED CARD Portsmouth
Sulley Muntari gets his second booking of the night and cannot believe he has been shown a red. He stands statuesque before being beckoned off by boss Harry Redknapp. He was late on Michael Carrick. John O'Shea will be pushed forward now.

2125: Manchester United make a change with John O'Shea replacing skipper Ryan Giggs. He slots into midfield but could well be pushed further forward, as he was at the weekend, in the search for a goal.

2124: Arsenal keeper Jens Lehmann tips away a dipping free-kick.

2123: Middlesbrough's Stewart Downing hits the Wigan woodwork.

2122: Arsenal are into the final 10 minutes in Prague. Sparta are pressing and Martin Abraham cannot believe it when he doesn't win a penalty after going down over the leg of Cesc Fabregas in the box.

2120: GOAL Birmingham 1-1 Sunderland
Stop the press, Black Cats boss Roy Keane is smiling. Michael Chopra scores for Sunderland after breaking away from the Birmingham rearguard and lashing in a bouncing ball.

2119: The goal gapes for David Nugent and the Portsmouth player trips over his own legs at the end of a quick break when going one-on-one with Edwin van der Sar.

2117: Pretty even at Eastlands. Derby are not out of it against Svennis the Saviour's Manchester City.

2116: A chance for Carlos Tevez, but from a tough angle the Manchester United debutant cannot turn in the loose ball after David James parries a shot from Cristiano Ronaldo.

2115: GOAL Wigan 1-0 Middlesbrough
Boro keeper Mark Schwarzer cannot hold Antonio Valencia's deflected shot and Antoine Sibierski slides in to break the deadlock.

2113: GOAL Sparta Prague 0-1 Arsenal
A strong, jinking run from Gael Clichy ends with a square pass to Cesc Fabregas on the edge of the box. The Spaniard finishes with a firm right-footed shot.

2112: Ryan Giggs bisects the Portsmouth centre backs to connect with a Cristiano Ronaldo cross which David James tips over. Nemanja Vidic fails to get anything on a low Ryan Giggs cross following the corner. Anything on it and Manchester United would have been in front.

2109: GOAL Reading 1-2 Chelsea
What a turnaround. The ball breaks for Didier Drogba on the edge of the area and the striker, who is wearing yellow boots to match his shirt, picks his spot and expertly sidefoots home.

2106: GOAL Reading 1-1 Chelsea
Frank Lampard kisses the ring after a bustling run from midfield to latch on to a Didier Drogba flick on and slide a shot under Marcus Hahnemann. Whatever Jose Mourinho said over the half-time cuppa worked.

2104: Reading kept Chelsea waiting a while after the interval. The hosts eventually emerge and play resumes. Wigan and Middlesbrough are also up and running again and the visitors include Stewart Downing in their ranks.

2101: Fulham keeper Tony Warner maintain's his side's advantage with a fine save from Nicolas Anelka, tipping a curling shot wide.

2100: Here come the stewards at the Madejeski. Oh no. Apologies. It's Chelsea in their electric yellow away kit. Claudio Pizarro and Jon Obi Mikel are sent on in place of Paulo Ferreira and Steve Sidwell. That means the visitors have used all three subs.

2059: Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo fires in a free-kick which David James beats away. What a game.

2058: Arsenal go close. Goalkeeper Tomas Pospech can only parry Robin van Persie's low cross-cum-shot. He gets lucky. The ball goes to a Sparta foot.

2057: GOAL Portsmouth 1-1 Manchester United
Matt Taylor fizzes a cross from the left into the box and Benjani Mwaruwari, running from deep, powers in an unstoppable header.

2056: Paul Scholes threads the ball through the narrowest of gaps to Carlos Tevez tight in the box. The Argentine's snapsot screams over.

2055: Arsenal break at pace down the left before switching the point of attack to the right. When the ball comes in the box Sparta defender Zdenek Pospech doesn't know much about it but puts it behind off his head.

2053: Cristiano Ronaldo slides a pass to Nani on the left of the area, but Pompey keeper David James to deny the Portuguese winger at the post.

2050: Harry Redknapp has put a half-time rocket up his Portsmouth team. They come out for the second 45 firing after a change sends them to 4-4-2. Matt Taylor is on for Pedro Mendes. That incessant bell at Fratton Park is still ringing.

2048: No rest for the wicked. The early games resume.

2047: HALF-TIME
Steve Sidwell misses a chance at the back post from a corner moments before the interval whistle goes. The midfielder is serenaded by "Sidwell, what's the score? Sidwell, Sidwell what's the score?" as he and the 21 other players head for the touchline

2046: Frank Lampard holds his head in his hands after running into the box from deep and failing to get on the end of a Shaun Wright-Phillips through ball. It went through his legs.

2043: More potential injury problems for England head coach Steve McClaren? Let's hope not. Stewart Downing goes down under a light challenge from Antonio Valencia and is holding his right side. He's hobbling a touch, but carries on.

2042: Reading keeper Marcus Hahnemann saves a weak Glen Johnson header. There may be a while to go at the Madejski but it's almost 20 years since the Royals beat the Blues.

2037: Jason Koumas, Wigan's best player of the night by a long way, works some space in a central position but his shot is a tame one along the ground.

2034: Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho's got a face like thunder on the touchline.

2033: Kevin Doyle stabs a cross in from the Reading left. John Oster latches on to it but his effort ricochets back off the post.

2031: HALF-TIME
The whistles start to go in the 1945 BST games. Sparta and Arsenal head for the break on a sultry central European evening having shared five yellow cards - 3-2 to the Gunners.

2030: Injuries will just not leave Chelsea alone. Ricardo Carvalho goes off to be replaced by Glen Johnson, who slots in to central defence.

2028: GOAL Reading 1-0 Chelsea
Petr Cech makes a right old mess of coming to punch a Ivar Ingimarsson header clear and Andre Bikey is on hand to tap in having just come on for Michael Duberry. That was his first touch of the game. A better substitution than Dave Kitson's at the weekend!

2027: GOAL Manchester City 1-0 Derby
Congratulations to City who score a league goal at home for the first time since the first day of the year. That's 227 days. Michael Johnson plays a one-two with Elano and then scores with a delightful effort off the outside of his right foot.

2025: A corner for Arsenal. Another corner for Arsenal. Both are as rank as each other.

2023: Wigan v Middlesbrough is making a firm bid for the night's worst game. Not a lot going on at the JJB Stadium.

2021: A new edition to the Jose Mourinho wardrobe - stylish light grey Macintosh for the August rain - collar turned up, with Jose looking very Jean-Paul Belmondo.

2020: Tomas Repka's actually made of blancmange instead of stern stuff. He's had enough and goes off, but not before a sly word with Cesc Fabregas.

2019: Manchester United are on top at Fratton Park, but Carlos Tevez is struggling to gel with his new team-mates. Gel. I wonder if the Argentine uses it? His hair's as greasy as the slick, damp playing surface.

2016: GOAL Birmingham 1-0 Sunderland
Stephen Kelly climbs well to nod Sebastian Larsson's free-kick on goal and the left-back will be claiming it despite the slightest of deflections off the chest of Paul McShane.

2014: Tomas Repka is made of stern stuff and is back in the battle after flexing his knee once or twice. And a battle it is between Sparta and Arsenal. Tackles flying, players staying down and grimacing. No quarter asked, no quarter given.

2013: GOAL Fulham 2-1 Bolton
The home side have turned it around at a very wet Craven Cottage. Alexi Smertin lets loose from distance and his long-range drive is deflected off Gerald Cid past Jussi Jaaskalainen.

2012: Sparta skipper Tomas Repka pulls up lame and could be off if the magic spray doesn't sort him out.

2010: GOAL Fulham 1-1 Bolton
David Healy slots his second goal of the season after Bolton fail to clear a corner. The striker turns on a sixpence and fires in from six yards to square the match.

2009: Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas catches Tomas Repka late and is booked for his troubles. That's the third booking of the match.

2008: Unpredictable reaction of the night. Arsenal's Alexander Hleb fancies his chances against Sparta hard man Tomas Repka and goes head-to-head with him. You know, the thing where footballers ridiculously push their foreheads against each other like rutting dear.

2007: Predictable reaction of the night. Chelsea's former Reading midfielder Steve Sidwell is roundly booed whenever he touches the ball.

2006: Fulham keeper Tony Warner makes amends for his earlier error, tipping a low Nicolas Anelka shot around the post.

2004: Chelsea keeper Petr Cech has lasted longer than he did on his last visit to the Madejski. On that occasion he fractured his skull in a collision with Stephen Hunt in the opening minute. This time he's had a few comforting touches of the ball early doors.

2003: Those two later games have started at Reading and Wigan.

2002: GOAL Portsmouth 0-1 Manchester United
The champions have scored their first goal of the campaign, and what a goal. Carlos Tevez tees up Paul Scholes on the edge of the area and the former England midfielder unleashes a trademark bullet of a shot.

2000: GOAL Fulham 0-1 Bolton
Fulham might well have been bossing the territory, but Bolton are winning. Tony Warner was in wonderful form at Arsenal, but he has had a nightmare here. He may as well be playing on Elm Street. The keeper grabs a long throw from Nicky Hunt and as he moves forward to release the ball it slips from his grasp and old boy Heidar Helguson taps in.

1959: It is sheeting it down at Craven Cottage. Fulham are bossing the territory.

1956: Ow. Sunderland's Danny Collins is ball-watching and goes head over heels over an advertising hoarding. Not his greatest moment in football.

1955: Bacary Sagna shows great strength to win the ball in an advanced position and is fouled by Marek Kulic as he bears down on the area. The Sparta man is booked. Robin van Persie's free-kick forces a firm punch from Tomas Postulka.

1953: Tit-for-tat in Prague. Cesc Fabregas forces a fine save from Tomas Postulka with a stinging shot.

1951: Sparta Prague have started by far the better at home to Arsenal and Jan Rezek fires a shot on to Jens Lehmann's right post after getting in behind Gael Clichy.

1947: Carlos Tevez Manchester United career has begun. The Argentine is sporting the number 32 shirt.

1945: The action starts between Manchester City and Derby.

1944: It may have been a quiet welcome for Sven-Goran Eriksson, but the hello for Manchester City owner Thaksin Shinawatra almost blows the roof off at the Eastlands.

1943: Sparta Prague and Arsenal are waiting around for nobody and get the ball rolling. The Gunners are in their new change strip of white shirts and red shorts. Local time is 2043.

1941: Just down the road it's a nice evening at Eastlands where Sven-Goran Eriksson gets a surprisingly muted welcome. Will the fans get to cheer a league goal for the first time since New Year's Day.

1937: Likewise at The JJB Stadium. A shaft of sunlight spears across the Wigan pitch and new Middlesbrough signing Mido is a spectator.

1935: A bit squally at Fulham as well where Fulham and Bolton are looking for their first points of the campaign.

1934: The army are in the house at Birmingham, abseiling off the stand with a banner welcoming the club to the Premier League. Not great weather to be hanging around off the lip of a stand. Wet, windy and generally quite wild.

1932: The big news of the night sees Carlos Tevez come in for his Manchester United debut in place of the injured Wayne Rooney. The Argentine will be watched by Kia Joorabchian, his agent/representative/owner/fixer... the list goes on.

1930: Two priceless results for Liverpool and Celtic, but entertainment was at a premium. Things can only get better, so roll on the 1945 BST games.


TEAM NEWS

Arsenal name an unchanged line-up from that which beat Fulham in their Premier League opener on Sunday. Sparta Prague welcome back former West Ham defender Tomas Repka after suspension.

Fulham start with same XI that lost at Arsenal on Sunday. Bolton have former Fulham player Heidar Helguson in place of the injured Kevin Davies, Abdoulaye Meite is in for Amdy Faye and El Hadji Diouf replaces Riacrdo Vaz Te.

Birmingham make just one change with Stuart Parnaby replacing Franck Queudrue at right-back. Sunderland striker Michael Chopra is promoted from the bench after his winner against Spurs and he starts at St Andrews. David Connolly partners him with Kieran Richardson out injured.

Manchester City stick with the side that won 2-0 away at West Ham, though Emile Mpenza is back on the bench. Derby hand a start to midfielder David Jones, with striker Robert Earnshaw making way.

Portsmouth central defender Sol Campbell misses out because of a groin injury with Martin Cranie coming in for him, while Noe Pamarot replaces Lauren. Manchester United's Argentine forward Carlos Tevez makes his debut for the club.

Master psychologist Jose Mourinho hands Steve Sidwell his first Chelsea start against his old club Reading. The midfielder will prove a thing or two left, right and centre. Didier Drogba also starts and Paulo Ferreira returns. Kalifa Cisse makes his debut for Reading in one of three changes. Shane Long partner Kevin Doyle in attack.

Antoine Sibierski starts for first time and is the only change Wigan show from the side that lost on to Everton. He replaces Caleb Folan. Middlesbrough are unchanged from side that lost at home to Blackburn on opening day of the season.


1900: That match between Portsmouth and Manchester United is on BBC Radio 5live. Punch Lawro's Premier League tips for the night into the BBC Sport predictor and Manchester City will end the eveing top of the table. Agree or disagree? Play with the permutations yourself.

1859: And there are also six Premier League matches tonight, with four starting at 1945 BST. BBC Sport pundit Mark Lawrenson thinks Manchester United will be going into Sunday's derby match against City still looking for their first win over the Premier League season. "Portsmouth are no pushovers at home," he says.

1855: The Gunners start at 1945 BST against Sparta Prague, when Sparta old boy Tomas Rosicky can expect a warm welcome at the AXA Arena. "A good start is especially important with a young side because they could drop their heads," is Arsenal stalwart Lee Dixon's verdict.

1853: FULL-TIME Spartak Moscow 1-1 Celtic
An excellent result for Celtic. They and Old Firm rivals Rangers are looking well placed after their Champions League qualifier first legs, as are Liverpool. Over to Arsenal now to complete the quartet.

1852: Celtic are finishing the game in the Spartak half. Perfect. Martin Stranzl concedes a free-kick for a tug on Scott Brown.

1851: Corner for Spartak as Mark Wilson blocks a Dimitri Torbinsky cross. Radoslav Kovac's looping header comes off the bar and goes behind for a goal-kick.

1850: There will be three minutes of added time.

1849: Celtic are playing out time well. No alarms.

1847: Spartak look done for. They've nothing left in the tank or the imagination. Celtic's stoical defence has blunted their energy levels and ambition.

1845: Just five minutes remaining on what would be an excellent result for the Scottish champions.

1843: A gilt-edged chance... to Celtic. Substitute Aidan McGeady, on for Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink, breaks and feeds the on-rushing Scott Brown who is behind the defence. Brown rounds the keeper, loses his way for a split second and that is just enough for the prone Stipe Pletikosa to spin around and save at the Scot's feet. How costly could that prove?

1842: A excellent reaction save from Mark Brown. He atones for his mistake on the goal and denies Welliton from point blank range.

1840: Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink threatens to race clear of Radoslav Kovac but clatters into keeper Stipe Pletikosa. He hobbles to the sidelinse for treatment after eating up a bit of time receiving attention on the pitch.

1839: Those green defensive ranks have been replenished with defender Gary Caldwell coming on for Scott McDonald.

1838: Patient possession from Spartak, but they're not piercing the green ranks.

1835: It is all Spartak with Mozart orchestrating things in the middle of the paddock. Sit tight for a long last 15 minutes for Celtic.

1833: Changes apiece. Evander Sno replaces Massimo Donati, who just took a knock but walks of briskly and free of injury. Spartak call on the experienced Maxim Kalinichenko for Dimitri Bystrov.

1831: The Celtic goal is living a charmed life. Spartak open the Bhoys up on the left this time. Dimitri Bystrov meets the cross at the back post nobody is on hand to hammer it home as the visitors smother the danger.

1830: A rare chance in attack for Celtic, but Paul Hartley's attempt to tee up Shunsuke Nakamura flounders as his square pass on the edge of the area is too heavy by half.

1829: Needless yellow card for Scott Brown as he drags back Martin Stranzl in the middle of the park.

1828: Celtic need to shore up their left flank. Welliton's having an ever-increasing influence on the game.

1825: A fantastic opening for Roman Pavluchenko as he meets Welliton's cross with only Mark Brown to beat. But the highly-rated Russian's powerful downward header bounces up and over the bar.

1823: Scott McDonald, who's certainly not holding that hamstring anymore, harries Martin Stranzl into a mistake at the back and it is a corner for the Bhoys. John Kennedy gets a glancing touch to Shunsuke Nakamura's corner which takes the ball away from Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink.

1821: Shunsuke Nakamura fires a low effort straight at Stipe Pleitkosa.

1820: That stats say Spartak have had 54% of the ball. It seems so much more, particularly since the break. But here's a chance for Celtic with a free-kick.

1817: Somehow the ball doesn't go in. Dimitri Torbinsky's corner is headed back across goal and Egor Titov and Martin Stranzl have wonderful opportunities to bury the ball in the net. The fail to connect properly and Mark Brown snaffles the loose ball.

1816: Injury problem for Scott McDonald? He seemed to grab his hamstring but as yet he's happy to be staying on.

1815: Massimo Donati steps in at the vital moment to block a shot from Welliton who was looking to give it some welly son on the right after a neat Spartak passing move.

1812: Egor Titov charges into the box and does some sort of gymnastics tumble. The referee shows disdain for his efforts.

1810: Martin Stranzl is the jam in a Celtic sandwich as he is squeezed out under a high ball by John Kennedy and Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink. Sounds more like a donut. Free-kick for Spartak but wasted.

1807: But Celtic look cool and earn a corner after some nervy Spartak defending. Straight to Croatian stopper Stipe Pletikosa.

1806: A right old noise from the home support as they look to get their men in red hitting the heights they were in that spell before the break.

1805: A hot, sticky evening in Moscow and we're set for the second 45.

"Shunsuke Nakamura has not really looked authoratitive."
Roddy Forsythe, BBC Radio 5live reporter

1747: HALF-TIME Spartak Moscow 1-1 Celtic
Celtic last to the bell, so to speak. That away goal is a precious prize, but they need to stand firm at the back against vibrant hosts. in the second 45.

1745: A last-ditch tackle from Scott Brown keeps Spartak at bay. The hosts are piling forward. If this was a boxing match Gordon Strachan would be looking for a towel it's so one-sided at the minute. Is there a knock-out punch to come?

1744: GOAL Spartak Moscow 1-1 Celtic
All hands to the pump for Celtic, but they can't keep Spartak out. Roman Pavluchenko climbs high at the back post to head in Roman Shishkin's cross from the right. Mark Brown gets a hand to the ball, but not enough to prevent it from nestling in the net.

1743: The Celtic wall stands tall against Dmitri Torbinsky's free-kick.

1742: Lee Naylor is booked for a foul on Vladimir Bystrov on the edge of the area. The Spartak man went down easily, but it was ugly from Naylor. Danger.

Player rater: Can it possibly be true that not a single person in the universe has voted on the Celtic game? Bhoys fans are everywhere. Get clicking.

1736: Martin Stranzl heads an inviting free-kick over the bar. He is convinced the last touch came off a Celtic head and he may have a point. Stephen McManus keeps his head down as he trots upfield pass the referee.

1734: Scott Brown shows an adhesive touch to bring down a high ball forward on the right and then slips a pass behind the defender for Scott McDonald. It is a touch too heavy and rolls away from the straining McDonald through to the Spartak keeper Stipe Pletikosa.

1731: The home fans are not enjoying this in Moscow and Celtic, after a very slow start, are looking increasingly comfortable.

1727: Spartak look ever so slightly rattled and need to regain their composure after the surprise of going behind.

"Now maybe Paul Hartley will be given a break."5753bhoy on 606

1722: GOAL Spartak Moscow 0-1 Celtic
Scott McDonald clips in a ball from the right and Paul Hartley arrives late to meet the cross with a thunderbolt of a header.

1720: FULL-TIME Toulouse 0-1 Liverpool
A memorable goal settles a forgettable game. The return is at Anfield on Tuesday 28 August. No surprise that come the final whistle goalscorer Andriy Voronin is your man of the match.

1717: Toulouse are giving it one last crack but Liverpool hold firm before Javier Mascherano breaks. They play rugby at this place and Moussa Sissoko takes a leaf out of the Stade Toulousain traniing book as he man-handles the Argentine to the ground to earn a booking.

"Why has Momo tackled his own player or have you been drinking?"
Anonymous via text on 81111

1716: Celtic boss Gordon Strachan cuts an anxious figure on the touchline in Moscow. Arms folded. His camouflaged team are slowly coming into things. Their kit is the same hue as the plastic grass.

1715: Johan Elmander goes down in the box after being bumped by Sami Hyypia under a high ball. No penalty.

1714: A little over five minutes remaining in France where Liverpool are happy to see out what has been a largely poor game in a professional manner. Job done and Toulouse should be done in the return.

1711: A let off for Celtic as German referee Herbert Fandel rules out a Spartak effort. The net ripples, the players celebrate and the fans go nuts after Roman Pavluchenko pokes flicks a cross in. The fans continue to go nuts when they realise the score remains 0-0.

1709: A change for Toulouse with Albin Ebondo hamstrung. Moussa Sissoko comes on. What with Liverpool's Mohamed Sissoko that means we've got two M Sissoko's each wearing the number 22.

"The game's getting scrappy and players are tired, that's what you get. The touch goes a little bit and, barring the substitutes, there are 22 tired players out there. It's sapping conditions."
Gary Gillespie, BBC Radio 5live pundit

1705: Goalscorer Andriy Voronin is replaced by Fernando Torres. Jamie Carragher could have a hint of cramp. Something's up but the defender's made of stern stuff and makes light of it.

1704: Liverpool are looking comfortable with 15 minutes or so remaining.

1703: Celtic start very much on the back foot.

1700: Never mind the pitch, Spartak Moscow could cause plenty of problems themselves. Top of the table and unbeaten since June. Celtic face a tough evening. Local time in Russia is 2000.

1659: The players emerge in Moscow at the Luzhniki Stadium. It's a plastic pitch which could cause Celtic, all in green, some problems.

1655: Johan Elmander heads over. Andre-Pierre Gignac replaces Paulo Cesar.

1653: Paulo Cesar and Jeremy Mathieu work a neat short corner and given too much space by Javier Mascherano who does a pirouette as they feign to whip in a cross. That's him out of the action, but Mathieu fizzes a left-footed effort well wide.

1651: Steven Gerrard hands the skipper's armband to Jamie Carragher and troops off and straight down the tunnel as Momo Sissoko comes on. No dissent from Gerrard in going down the tunnel. He's in need of shade and maybe a bit of treatment to a knock he took to his foot.

1650: Johan Elmander gets to the ball ahead of Sami Hyypia at the near post to meet Pantxi Sirieix's driven cross, but while he diverts it on goal it is an easy save for Pepe Reina.

1647: Ryan Babel and Steven Gerrard link up again. Gerrard's left-footed shot is deflected over the bar, although the referee thinks the midfielder managed to create that vicious change in movement all by himself. It is a Toulouse goal kick.

1646: Johan Elmander is booked for a late tackle from behind on the advancing Javier Mascherano.

1645: Alvaro Arbeloa does well to turn and poke away a through ball for Paulo Cesar on the Toulouse right. Yossi Benayoun is the man to make way for John Arne Riise.

1644: A substitution in the pipeline for Liverpool as John Arne Riise steps up to the touchline, changed and ready for action.

1642: Peter Crouch is almost through but for a last-ditch clawing save from Nicolas Douchez which takes the ball off the striker's head. The chance came after Crouch blocked Mohamed Fofana's attempted clearance from an Andriy Voronin flick-on.

1641: Andriy Voronin and Yossi Benayoun look to work a one-two on the edge of the area. It is well read by the Toulouse rearguard and the move breaks down.

1639: Toulouse play it short this time on the right. When they swing it into the box the ball is glanced behind off a Toulouse head for a Liverpool goal kick.

1638: Sami Hyypia heads the corner behind for another.

1637: Jeremy Mathieu charges along the left flank and his efforts are rewarded with a corner.

1635: Johan Elmander is next up to swing his leg outside the area. Wide as well. The Swede has reportedly been tracked by Liverpool as well as Everton and Manchester City.

1634: A slow resumption before Achille Emana has a pop from distance. It was always rising. No worries for Pepe Reina.

1631: Back to the action and there has been a Toulouse change. Midfielder Fode Mansare is on for Bryan Bangougnoux.

1627: TEAM NEWS Spartak Moscow v Celtic
Half an hour until the action starts in the Russian capital and stick here for all the action. Striker Scott McDonald makes his Celtic debut, having been suspended for the first two domestic games of the season - with Kenny Miller dropping out - and Paul Hartley is preferred in midfield to Aiden McGeady. Mark Brown steps in in goal. Still awaiting Spartak stuff.

Celtic: M Brown, Wilson, Naylor, Kennedy, McManus, Nakamura, S Brown, Donati, Hartley, Vennegoor of Hesselink, McDonald.

1624: Scrolling through 606 'United4all4' has opened a can of whoop ass all over himself. The thread's entitled 'Voronin sucks'. You don't need Matt Dawson and Sue Barker to know what happened next.

1620: An underground Richard Bacon fan club has come to the fore on the text service. The 81111 inbox is also full of contrasting views of the lack of Liverpool fans and the fact people have to work on a Wednesday afternoon - even in Liverpool. While Danny in Manchester might know something the rest of us don't: "Babel to get one. Voronin to get two. All three Crouch assists. Liverpool to win 3-0." So far so good.

1617: HALF-TIME Toulouse 0-1 Liverpool
A well-earned break for the players. Jamie Carragher takes his shirt off as he heads for the tunnel. Any sort of drink will do, and before that goal whisky looked the order of the day to pep things up.

1616: Achille Emana's overhead kick is wide after Jamie Carragher fails to clear Pantxi Sirieix's cross.

"Stunning. You could have had four goalkeepers in there and none of them would have saved that. It was right in the top corner."
Gary Gillespie, BBC Radio 5live pundit

1613: GOAL Toulouse 0-1 Liverpool
Out of nothing, and what a goal! Peter Crouch flicks on a Steve Finnan long ball forward. Andriy Voronin controls with his back to goal before turning and arrowing a shot into the top corner from outside the area.

1611:The isolated Johan Elmander latches on to a long ball over the top in the box, but he runs the ball out of play with Sami Hyypia marshalling the Swede into touch.

1610: Excitement in the home stands as Toulouse look to break, but Achille Emana's pass to Johan Elmander is poor and the cheers turn to groans in a flash.

"It isn't the best of matches but is an absolute stroll in the park for Liverpool. So comfy on the ball and no pressure at all by Toulouse. I think 3-0 Liverpool."
chris-harding69 on 606

1607: Javier Mascherano goes on a rare foray forward but runs the ball out of play when he reaches the strange surroundings - for him - of the byeline.

1606: The "wobbly" Yossi Benayoun is receiving treatment to his left wrist and taking on a flood of fluids on the touchline as he does.

1605: Steven Gerrard clips a free-kick into the box aiming for the footballing mast that is Peter Crouch. Said mast was adjudged to be leaning on Mauro Cetto.

"Yossi Benayoun looks a little wobbly on his feet. You'd expect being an Israeli he'd be alright with the heat. Maybe he just needs some water."
Gary Gillespie, BBC Radio 5live pundit

1602: Yossi Benayoun releases Steven Gerrard in space down the right flank, but Mohamed Fofana clears behind with a solid header. Liverpool can't conjure anything to challenge their hosts from the corner.

1600: Liverpool are happy to take the sting out of the game with long, flat passes across the back from time to time. And why not? It's a good surface so they may as well make the most of it and get a bit of a breather here and there.

1559: Pepe Reina blocks an effort from an acute angle from Johan Elmander and it's a first corner of the game. Liverpool clear the danger at the second time of asking.

1558: Ryan Babel's had enough of the right - wonder why? - and pops up on the left. Twisting this way and that, he works his way to the edge of the area before slipping a pass to Steven Gerrard. The skipper shoots wide.

1556: Yossi Benayoun has got the plum role in the first 45 minutes. A long way from the talkative boss and playing on the left in the shade.

1555: Rafa Benitez, shirt sleeves rolled up, is on the edge of his technical area babbling on. Poor old Ryan Babel. He's the one patrolling the right side getting it in the ear. Former Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier is in attendance. Nice shades.

1552: A sliding clearance from Jamie Carragher in the Liverpool area after Paulo Cesar forced his way forward. Toulouse are turning things up here.

1550: A burst of energy from Steven Gerrard as he bustles into the box, but a bit too much elbow was used by the Liverpool skipper and the Greek referee spots the infringement.

1549: Well, what do you know? A first effort on target for Toulouse, but a comfortable save for Pepe Reina after Johan Elmander's low shot was half blocked by Jamie Carragher.

1548: No great early chances for Liverpool, but the good news for Reds fans is that Toulouse have been anonymous so far. Tempting fate? Doubt it.

1545: Steve Finnan works an inch of space on the right. His whipped cross is cleared by the first defender with Yossi Benayoun sniffing out a chance behind.

1543: All a bit quiet in this stifling heat. A slow-slow-quick pace, with Ryan Babel looking feisty in a few 50-50 tackles.

1541: Ryan Babel puts on the turbo boosters down the right flank but there's no way through the populated home defence.

1539: Flutters at the back for Toulouse. Peter Crouch steals in on a weak back pass and releases Yossi Benayoun, but the hosts recover.

"Liverpool have settled into their formation. Mascherano holding and Gerrard ahead. Voronin's playing slightly off Peter Crouch with the two wide players. It has been comfortable for Liverpool. Toulouse have found it hard to get the ball off them."
Gary Gillespie, BBC Radio 5live pundit

1535: Back to the important stuff - the action. Play is confined to a sliver of shade on the Liverpool left. A wise idea. Reports suggest temperatures are in excess of 100F.

"Charlie you typing is dreadful. How the hell did you get a job at the bbc? Hold on this is the same company that gave Richard Bacon his big break. Enough said."
Anonymous via text on 81111 - and this time it's not a typo by me! Printed as sent.

1533: Steven Gerrard ended the weekend game with a wonderful free-kick against Aston Villa. An early effort here from a deadball whistles past the Toulouse post.

1530: The action begins in France.

"You'd think Liverpool will be too strong, but it will be difficult. It's a hot, balmy afternoon."
Gary Gillespie, BBC Radio 5live pundit

1527: Here come the players. Choreographed flag-waving from the home fans. It is 1627 local time.

1526: Hats off to those hardy travellers - or more pertinently, hats on. The sun's belting down in Toulouse. Home keeper Nicolas Douchez is dripping with sweat in the tunnel!

1525: Remember all the brouhaha off the field at that final in Athens about Liverpool's fans, demand for tickets outstripping supply and how they're the best supported club in Europe. Well, only a reported 640 have made the trip to France with the club for today's game.

1523: So then, just 85 days after Liverpool fell at the final hurdle of last season's Champions League to AC Milan we're set to get back on the European merry-go-round.

1521: Peter Crouch, Steven Gerrard are Jamie Carragher 5/1 joint favourites to copy their boss and grow a goatee. Pepe Reina is better priced at 9/1. In fact, the keeper could turn into a doppelganger with that receding hairline as well.

1520: A snap interview with the goatee sporting Reds boss Rafael Benitez, who denies he has one eye on Sunday's league match against Chelsea with regards to his team selection. "Toulouse could be dangerous and we need to be really focused," he says.

1519: TEAM NEWS Toulouse v Liverpool
Here are those promised details. Peter Crouch gets a recall, Javier Mascherano's back and John Arne Riise, Daniel Agger and Fernando Torres are on the Liverpool bench. As for the hosts, watch out for Johan Elamder.

1516: But just because Toulouse - AKA Les Violets - have got no Champions League pedigree to fall back on don't go thinking they're mugs. Last week, after a 3-1 away defeat to Valenciennes, maybe. But they go into this game off the back of a 1-0 home weekend win against Lyon - AKA Le Perennial Champions of France.

1513: The French outfit are hoping to reach the Champions League proper for the first time after finishing third in last season's Le Championnat.

1510: Monsieur Andre-Pierre Gignac has also said "no one scares me in the Liverpool defence." Who's in that defence? Well, it includes Jamie Carragher, fresh from giving national coach Steve McClaren that England snub, and Sami Hyypia. Full teams to follow.

1507: First up Liverpool are playing Toulouse. Madness. Who plays football to lose? Home striker Andre-Pierre Gignac has said: "We have nothing to lose." There's too much to lose going around in Toulouse and it's getting complicated.

1504: You can also drop us a line via text on 81111, be it now or later when you're on your way to one of the games in the Premier League programme... or Moscow or Prague if you're willing to take out a second mortgage when the phone bill comes in.

1503: If on any part of this journey you feel the need to shout up from the back of the bus to vent your spleen over any footballing issues - but not the gumpf about Roy Keane and Wags - you can do so via text on 606. NB: Position the screen so the boss can't see.

1500: Strap yourselves in for six hours of football, or thereabouts. A half-a-dozen hours of drama - maybe - that starts in Toulouse and will end in either Reading or Wigan at around 2130 BST. The Midi-Pyrenees to Lancashire. What a journey.



Barclays Premier League Table
01 February 2010 22:00
    P GD PTS
1 Chelsea 23 38 54
2 Man Utd 24 36 53
3 Arsenal 24 32 49
4 Tottenham 24 20 42

5 Liverpool 24 16 41

6 Man City 22 14 41
7 Aston Villa 23 13 40
8 Birmingham 23 -1 34
9 Everton 23 -1 32
10 Blackburn 24 -15 28
11 Fulham 23 -2 27
12 Stoke 22 -7 26
13 Sunderland 23 -10 24
14 Wigan 22 -23 22
15 West Ham 23 -9 21
16 Bolton 22 -15 21
17 Wolverhampton 23 -21 21

18 Burnley 23 -23 20
19 Hull 23 -26 20
20 Portsmouth 22 -16 15

SEE ALSO
Wednesday's football photos
15 Aug 07 |  Premier League


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