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Page last updated at 21:26 GMT, Thursday, 22 October 2009 22:26 UK

Europa League as it happened



To get involved use 606 or text us your views & comments on 81111. (Not all contributions can be used)

By Chris Bevan

2222: And on that note, I'm off. It's been a shocking evening if you follow Celtic or Everton, and extremely frustrating if you're a Fulham fan... but all very entertaining if you're a neutral. I've had fun - thanks for your company folks and remember to come back on Saturday, when Stevo will take you through all the Premier League action. Laters.

2220: Shucks. Turns out I was given duff information about the number of qualifiers from the Europa League group stages... just 24 of the 48 go through to the knockout stages, joined by eight teams from the Champions League. Euro Jean is hanging his head in's not been a great night for him either.

2216: We've got a two week wait until the next round of Europa League matches - which are the reversal of tonight's matches. There will be a few scores to settle then, I'd wager.

2213: Everton David Moyes on his side's 5-0 defeat by Benfica: "I have only praise for my players. I have said to the players this is a different competition than the league, we've had two wins and one defeat. It is not too bad."

From Kihiro87 on 606: "I am gutted for Fulham. Gutted. Definitely deserved the win tonight."

2210: Fulham boss Roy Hodgson on his side's 1-1 draw with Roma: "We had a marvellous first-half and created a lot of chances. We didn't play as well in the second half but the sending off was pivotal - I've got my grave doubts whether it was a penalty in the first place. It wasn't a last-man challenge but the red card caused us problems and left us short of numbers at corner kicks, one of which leads to their equaliser."

2207: It seems John Pantsil got the final touch on that Roma equaliser. No matter - heartbreak for Fulham is the order of the day... a real shame that. Claudio Ranieri won't agree, obviously - his unbeaten record against Roy Hodgson and the Cottagers (see 1732) still stands.

2205: Hamburg goalscorer Marcus Berg after his side's win over Celtic: "We reached the semi-final last season, why not the final this time?"

This year's Europa League final is at Hamburg's ground - the HSH Nordbank Arena

2203: Celtic certainly had enough chances to win tonight, but took none of them. Twenty four of the 48 teams in the 12 groups (the top two) proceed to the knockout stage, and things look pretty bleak for them now.

2200: It's not looking quite so rosy for Celtic, though. Far from it in fact. They are rock bottom of Group C with just one point from three games. Hapoel Tel-Aviv thumped Rapid Vienna 5-1 to go top with six points, and above Hamburg on goal difference. Vienna are third with four points.

2159: It looked like Fulham would be celebrating a famous victory over Claudio Ranieri's Roma side but the Italians save themselves with a late, late equaliser. Basle's win over CSKA Sofia sees them leapfrog above the Cottagers at the top of Group E with six points, leaving Fulham second on five points and Roma third with four. All to play for then.

Full time
2157: FULL-TIME Fulham 1-1 Roma

So close for Fulham, but Roma have levelled with almost the last kick of the game. David Pizarro's corner comes to Marco Andreolli at the far post. Andreolli controls with his chest before hammering a shot goalwards and Mark Schwarzer cannot keep it out despite getting a hand to the ball.

2155: GOALFLASH Fulham 1-1 Roma (Andreolli)

2155: FULL-TIME Celtic 0-1 Hamburg

2154: Roma are still pressing but Fulham are just throwing men at the ball to clear their lines. In fact, Erik Nevland almost smashes the ball out of the ground after breaking down an attack by the visitors.

2153: We'll have three minutes of added time at Craven Cottage. Not sure how long Celtic have got... but it won't be a lot.

2151: Georgios Samaras has been superb since coming on as a subsitute, and his header falls to Aiden McGeady - but his volleyed shot misses the target. Is that Celtic's last opportunity, gone begging?

2150: Celtic are getting ever-more desperate. A defeat would all-but end their hopes of getting out of Group C. Fulham? They are still defending resolutely, but Roma are camped in their half now.

2149: Wow, that was close. David Pizarro's wicked cross from the right finds John Arne Riise arriving at pace at the back stick - but the Norwegian cannot quite steer his shot on target. Roma are still going for this.

From Broonie_hmfc on Twitter: "Yet another disapointing scoreline for Scottish football should the Celtic score stay the same."

2147: Here come Celtic again. Aiden McGeady ghosts past David Jarolim and fires in a fine shot, but Frank Rost is equal to it, diving to his left to pull off a fine save.

2146: Less than seven minutes left for Fulham to hang on for a win, and for Celtic to try to salvage a draw. Anything could happen.

2145: Just to clarify - Brede Hangeland was wrongly shown a red card at Craven Cottage... I think one of the 'extra' assistants had picked him out. Stephen Kelly told referee Paul Allaerts it was actually him who fouled John Arne Riise and, belatedly, the official reversed his decision and sent Kelly off instead. Got all that? I hope so...

2143: Celtic are pushing for an equaliser and Georgios Samaras finds Aiden McGeady with a terrific crossfield ball and the pair almost carve out an opportunity. But Tony Mowbray's side are also having to do some desperate defending as Hamburg look to increase their lead on the counter-attack. Double substitution: Shaun Maloney and Scott Brown are off for Celtic, with Niall McGinn and Paddy McCourt the men coming on.

2141: Jeremy Menez eventually steps up to take the penalty but Mark Schwarzer plunges to his right to push it away. A brilliant stop.


2139: Confusion reigns at Craven Cottage. Referee Paul Allaerts has changed his mind and sent off Stephen Kelly instead - Kelly actually owned up to fouling John Arne Riise. It was him, not Hangeland.

2138: RED CARD Fulham's Brede Hangeland

2138: PENALTY to Roma

2137: On comes Damien Duff for Fulham, replacing Bjorn Helge Riise. John Arne gives his little brother a hug and applauds him off. A nice touch.

2136: Fulham are definitely on the back foot now - a real reversal of the first half, this. Mark Schwarzer hasn't been that busy between the sticks for the Cottagers but he has to palm away an angled drive by Roma's Mirko Vucinic, who has come on for Rodrigo Taddei.

2134: So, how have Celtic responded to going behind against Hamburg? Georgios Samaras has found himself with the ball at his feet in the penalty area twice already. But a well-marshalled Hamburg defence have tracked his movements well and it's still 1-0 to the German side.

2132: We haven't seen much of Roma boss Claudio Ranieri on the touchline at Craven Cottage tonight, well, not yet anyway. I'm sure he will shine in his post-match interview though... I'm hoping for some vintage 'Clownio'. Robot-controlled feet anyone?

From agameof2halves on Twitter: "Re 2119 and shirt numbers. Was at an Australia v Oman match and Aussie substitute Dario Vidosic came on with 101 on his back. Their reserve keeper had 112!"

2129: Good industry by Jeremy Menez for Roma, who holds off a couple of challenges on the edge of the Fulham area before sending over an inviting cross-shot. No-one can get on the end of it, however, and Fulham survive.

2126: While all that was happening, Fulham have made a change. Bobby Zamora is off, Erik Nevland is on. Celtic brought on Georgios Samaras for Scott McDonald - a striker for a striker. They might need another one now...

Trouble for Celtic. Big trouble. Marcus Berg plays a neat one-two with Ze Roberto and escapes the attention of Gary Caldwell before drilling home a low shot to put Hamburg ahead.

2123: GOALFLASH Celtic 0-1 Hamburg (Berg)

2123: Celtic have weathered a very bright opening to the second half by Hamburg, but they have just had a chance of their own - Landry N'Guemo, with a delightful drag back, creates a foot or two of space before driving his shot weekly at Frank Rost.

2122: Bobby Zamora and Diomansy Kamara link up again, with the former slipping a lovely pass through to send Kamara running clear. Roma keeper Doni is off his line sharply to reach the ball first, but it was a close thing.

2121: A decent counter-attack by Fulham, with only a desperate sliding clearance by Philippe Mexes stopping Bobby Zamora's cross reaching Diomansy Kamara in front of goal.

From AdrianBennion on Twitter: "Am pleasantly surprised by Fulham tonight, also loving the Fulham, Fulham top of the league chant!"
2119: The Roma fans want a penalty when Jeremy Menez - squad number 94 - goes down under challenge in the area. Belgian referee Paul Allaerts is having none of it, quite rightly.

2117: Those Roma substitutions from half-time: David Pizarro came on for Matteo Brighi, Simone Perrotta replaced Stefano Okaka Chuka. The Italians are still enjoying all the pressure at the moment.

From Gloverlover in London, via text on 81111: "Wouldn't count Roma out just yet. Strong bench with the likes of Mirko Vucinic, Julio Baptista and Simone Perrotta. Could be a long 45 minutes for Fulham."

2114: Roma have made a brighter start to the second half, helped by those substitutions no doubt. Daniele De Rossi gets the ball in the net when a corner is only half-cleared but he is denied by the linesman's flag.

2112: A close shave for Celtic as Jonathan Pitroipa pulls the ball back for Ejero Elia, who fired against the top of the bar.

2109: Inspired by a rousing rendition of "You'll Never Walk Alone" Celtic are up and at Hamburg straight away and Scott Brown is just unable to connect Aiden McGeady's cross. Within seconds, McGeady shoots tamely at goal himself - the young man should have put his foot through that one.

2108: The second half is under way at Celtic Park and in west London.

2107: A couple of changes at half-time at Craven Cottage. John Pantsil replaces Paul Konchesky for Fulham and David Pizarro and Simone Perrotta are both on for Roma. I'll tell you who has come off as soon as I know.

2105: This is what Fulham boss Roy Hodgson had to say after being approached by Sweden and Norway: "It's very nice to be mentioned. I've made clear to the people that have contacted me that I have a contract here at Fulham and I intend to honour that contract. I am very happy here. Whether or not the job appeals to me or not, it is a non-starter as I am not free or at liberty to take that job. I've made it clear there is no point in considering me because I am not available."

2102: Just a reminder for you to get in touch tonight, although I imagine most Everton fans have decided to have an early night. If you are still awake, drop me a line on 606, text me via 81111 or tweet away to your heart's content at Twitter.

2101: Celtic had a shout for a penalty before the break by the way, when Aiden McGeady went down in the area, but you don't need me to tell you that the referee Gianluca Rocchi was having none of it.

From Big B in Bristol, via text on 81111: "Re 2047. Roma without Totti is like Christmas without a turkey, presents, tree, or Cliff Richard... Fulham for the cup!!!! Whoop!!"

2056: Celtic are working hard but have not had much luck in front of goal - that will have to change; they badly need a win tonight. Bhoys boss Tony Mowbray could probably do worse than bring on Susan Boyle, who is in the crowd at Celtic Park. We know she's got talent... In the other match in Group C, Hapoel Tel-Aviv are drawing 1-1 at home with Rapid Vienna.

2053: Well, Roma are certainly missing their injured talisman Francesco Totti, who will learn on Friday whether he needs surgery to clear up a knee problem. Fulham are well on top and lead through Brede Hangeland's header - they look quite comfortable at the break.

Half time
2052: HALF-TIME Fulham 1-0 Roma

2052: HALF-TIME Celtic 0-0 Hamburg

2051: Hamburg have just gone close too, with Dennis Aogo's left-footed free kick dipping just too late and sailing over Artur Boruc's crossbar.

2050: Shaun Maloney squanders a great chance to give Celtic the lead before half-time, slicing his volley on the turn wide from 10 yards after being found unmarked by a Landry N'Guemo header. Scott McDonald fired wide from close range from the corner that followed.

From IlCucchiaio on 606: "Roma without Francesco Totti is like watching a James Bond film without James Bond."

2047: A decent cross from the left by Stefano Guberti but it is just too long for Rodrigo Taddei at the far post. Roma seem to have woken up, well a little bit anyway.

2045: Danger for Fulham as Daniele De Rossi bends in a free-kick from the left. Sadly for Roma, it sums up their attacking play so far - lacking direction and nowhere near the goal.

2042: About 10 minutes left of the first half at Craven Cottage and Fulham are still bossing this. I've lost count of the number of balls that have been crossed into the Roma area and they have played to a high tempo throughout.

2039: Hamburg have just had the best chance of the match at Celtic Park - it fell to Jonathan Pitroipa, after a well-worked move found him free on the left, but his shot lacks conviction and is easily saved by Artur Boruc.

2037: Blimey, that's the John Arne Riise I remember from his Liverpool days, lashing in a fierce first-time shot from 25 yards with his left foot when a corner is cleared to him - he forces a terrific save from Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, who claws the ball round his post.

2035: News from the other game in Fulham's group, where Basle are 1-0 up against CSKA Sofia thanks to Alexander Frei's goal.

From Hoopy_Hoop on Twitter: "I'm a Fulham fan guiltily enjoying our big European night despite railing against the "pointless" Europa league at start of season."

2031: At Parkhead, Scott Brown is finding space on both flanks, and Celtic are beginning to make more of their possession than Hamburg, with Landry Nguemo at the heart of most of the Scottish club's moves. But, too frequently, their final ball lacks a bit of quality.

At last, Bjorn Helge Riise makes the most of a corner, swinging the ball in from the right for Brede Hangeland to rise majestically above Roma goalkeeper Doni and nod powerfully home. Not sure what Doni was doing there, actually - he made a right mess of things then had the audacity to claim he was fouled. No chance - Fulham lead.

2029: GOALFLASH Fulham 1-0 Roma (Hangeland)

2026: Daniele De Rossi lets fly from the edge of the area for Roma, but his shot is always rising and it ends up clearing Mark Schwarzer's crossbar by some distance.

From Balloon D'Or (Luis Garciaaa! 1-0) on 606: "The Europa League 2009/10 seems interesting. My money is on Liverpool."

2024: A free-kick in a promising position for Fulham, on the left-hand corner of the penalty area. Bjorn Helge Riise fires the ball in, and I think it was a shot rather than a cross. It doesn't get through a crowd of players, however, and the chance is gone.

2021: Chances at either end to report at Celtic Park. First, Scott Brown scuffs a first-time shot over the top right-hand corner after meeting a Gary Caldwell pass, before Marcus Berg misses an even better opportunity for Hamburg at the other end. That one has got quite lively.

2018: The two Riise brothers come together in the right-hand corner of the pitch as Fulham attack, and Bjorn Helge comes out on top again before feeding Stephen Kelly to fire in a curving shot that doesn't quite have enough power to trouble Doni.

2017: Bjorn Helge Riise has been the busiest of the two Riise brothers so far (apologies for my typo earlier by the way!), firing in a flurry of crosses and corners from the right. His older sibling John Arne has only managed a blocked shot and under-hit free-kick so far.

2016: Roma have settled down a bit at Craven Cottage and have had a couple of efforts on Mark Schwarzer's goal - Stefano Okaka Chuka fired high and wide before Stefano Gruberti's snap-shot fizzed wide.

2015: A final update on the Lazio-Villarreal match in Group G, where a last-minute goal from Tommaso Rocchi gave the Italian side a dramatic victory. SV Red Bull Salzburg beat Levski Sofia 1-0 in the same group to make it three wins from three for the Austrians.

From Kev3112 on Twitter: "Has anyone seen the 'fifth and sixth ref' (in Europa League matches) make a decision yet? what are they supposed to do if they spot something? wave their arms?"

2011: Hamburg are on top in the early stages at Celtic Park, where the home side are finding it difficult to get a kick.

2009: From the resulting corner, the ball breaks to Jonathan Greening and his low shot is brilliantly pushed away by Roma keeper Doni. This is a good start by Fulham.

2007: Some neat passing from Fulham in the opening minutes and a dangerous cross from Bjorn Helge Riise is cleared at a stretch by Nicolas Burdisso, who is relieved to see the ball fly just wide.

2005: Right then, we're off. Roma get us started at Craven Cottage, seconds after Hamburg kick-off at Celtic Park.

From Jack-be-nimble on 606: "Hey Everton fans don't worry, it could be a whole lot worse you know... you could be Liverpool."

2001: The players are coming out at a packed Craven Cottage.

2000: Roma coach Claudio Ranieri, who managed Chelsea from September 2000 until May 2004, is expecting jeers from Fulham fans on his return to west London: "They will see me as an ex-Chelsea man but for me it is always a pleasure to come back here."

1958: Speaking of Roy Hodgson, this is just a reminder for Fulham chairman Mohamed Al Fayed. Dear Mr Al Fayed, your manager at Fulham, one of the most respected in Europe - and the man who steered your club to seventh place in the Premier League last season, and hence into the Europa League, is out of contract at the end of the season. He has already been approached by Norway and Sweden so it might be a good idea to try to tie him down to a longer deal as soon as you can. Thanks.

1956: Fulham boss Roy Hodgson on Roma coach Claudio Ranieri: "We were very friendly when he was at Fiorentina and I was at Inter. He's one of the coaches I have had a very good rapport with. I'm pleased to see him back and working at such a club but I would have preferred not facing such a quality coach this week."

1955: Let's hope Celtic and Fulham fare a little bit better hey folks? Kick-off at Celtic Park and Craven Cottage is 10 minutes away...

1952: It's been a terrible night for Everton, who had their weakened team taken apart by an enterprising Benfica side and suffer their biggest ever European defeat. Still, they are second in Group I, level on points with the Portuguese outfit, and will get a chance for revenge at Goodison Park on November 5.

Full time
1951: FULL-TIME Benfica 5-0 Everton

1949: More trickery by Angel Di Maria down the right for Benfica, and he tries an audacious flicked cross that Sylvain Distin does well to clear - Di Maria has shown us some great skill tonight. Full time at BATE Borisov... they have beaten AEK Athens 2-1.

1947: We're into injury time at Estadio de Luz, not sure how much there will be... but Everton fans will be hoping not a lot.

1946: News from the other game in Group I and another goal for BATE Borisov, who now lead AEK Athens 2-1 after Aleksandr Alumona finds the net.

1944: Angel Di Maria tries his luck from the edge of the area, lifting his shot just over the bar. If anyone deserves a goal tonight, it's him.

Everton are caught out by a long ball forward and Angel Di Maria (who else?) nips in behind Tony Hibbert before squaring the ball past the hopelessly exposed Tim Howard for Javier Saviola to tap home into an empty net.

1941: GOALFLASH Benfica 5-0 Everton (Saviola)

1939: Just 10 minutes left now if Everton are going to salvage anything from tonight's disaster.

Someone has struck the woodwork
1937: Everton's best moment of the night as Jo crosses from the left for Louis Saha, who swivels before acrobatically firing against the outside of Julio Cesar's post. Unlucky.

1935: No hat-trick tonight for Benfica's Oscar Cardozo, who has just been replaced. He has scored 12 goals in his last 11 games - not a bad run of form that.

1932: It's not been a great week for Merseyside football has it? Although Tranmere did beat Brighton at the weekend...

From Joseph Dickson in London, via text on 81111: "I do feel for Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard tonight, his back four have been woeful and he looks like he's going to explode in anger any minute now!"

1930: Another change for Everton, who have got 20 minutes left to try to keep the score respectable or even, dare I say it, grab a consolation. Jose Baxter is on for Yakubu.

1928: Angel Di Maria is turning on the style for Benfica now, juggling the ball out wide on the left before firing in a cross with a bicycle kick. Not often you see that, is it?

1927: Not sure how many times two brothers have lined up against each other in European competition (see 1926). This is definitely a first for the Europa League though...

1926: TEAM NEWS Fulham v Roma
Fulham are without skipper Danny Murphy and make four changes from the side that beat Hull 2-0 on Monday. They include Bjorn Helge Riise, whose elder brother - and former Liverpool defender - John Arne lines up for Roma.

1925: Better news for Everton is that BATE Borisov are now level at 1-1 with AEK Athens, thanks to Alexander Pavlov's goal. If both results stay the same, the Toffees will remain in second place in Group I.

1922: Back at the Estadio de Luz, and I'm afraid things are not getting any better for Everton. They keep giving the ball away and only a brilliant save by Tim Howard stops Oscar Cardozo from completing his hat-trick after he works space for a shot in the box.

1919: Ignore that Celtic team news from 1858... Andreas Hinkel only makes the bench, with Mark Wilson continuing at right-back. Hamburg, who like Everton have injury problems, have partnered Sweden's Marcus Berg with Jonathan Pitroipa in their attack.

1918: Everton make their first change. Louis Saha is on for the injured Diniyar Bilyaletdinov.

1917: TEAMS Fulham v Roma
Fulham: Schwarzer, Kelly, Hangeland, Hughes, Konchesky, Riise, Greening, Baird, Gera, Zamora, Kamara. Subs: Stockdale, Pantsil, Nevland, Duff, Dempsey, Smalling, Anderson.
Roma: Doni, Burdisso, Mexes, Andreolli, Riise, Taddei, Brighi, De Rossi, Guberti, Okaka Chuka, Menez. Subs: Lobont, Pizarro, Vucinic, Julio Baptista, Perrotta, Greco, Cassetti.
Referee: Paul Allaerts (Belgium)

1915: Three goals in five minutes by Benfica means Everton's hard-working first-half display looks a waste now. It is definitely damage-limitation for David Moyes' side now.

Someone has struck the woodwork
1913: The only thing missing from Angel Di Maria's impressive display tonight has been a goal, and he has just come very close to putting that right... cutting in from the right before lashing a shot past Tim Howard only to see the ball cannon back off the crossbar.

It gets worse for Everton I'm afraid. A Pablo Aimar corner comes in from the right and, with Marouane Fellaini blocked off, Luisao is unmarked to send a header bouncing in off the far post. This is painful for the Toffees now, and some of their fans at Estadio de Luz are heading for the exits.

1910: GOALFLASH Benfica 4-0 Everton (Luisao)

1909: TEAMS Celtic v Hamburg
Celtic: Boruc, Naylor, McManus, Caldwell, Wilson, N'Guemo, Brown, McGeady, Robson, McDonald, Maloney. Subs: Zaluska, Hinkel, Samaras, McGinn, McCourt, Loovens, Killen.
Hamburg: Rost, Demel, Rozehnal, Mathijsen, Aogo, Ze Roberto, Elia, Jarolim, Pitroipa, Berg, Jansen. Subs: Hesl, Tesche, Trochowski, Rincon, Tavares, Schulz, Torun.
Referee: Gianluca Rocchi (Italy)

Oh dear - that was very similar to what just happened too. Angel Di Maria gets to the bye-line before hoisting over a cross for Oscar Cardozo to head home from point-blank range. It doesn't get much easier than that. Game over? It appears that way...

1905: GOALFLASH Benfica 3-0 Everton (Cardozo)

A tall order for Everton now, and that man Angel Di Maria is at the centre of things again. He wins the ball off Marouane Fellaini and crosses for Oscar Cardozo to tap home.

1904: GOALFLASH Benfica 2-0 Everton (Cardozo)

From peg_leg5125 on Twitter: "Everton are still in this game at half-time but I think Louis Saha may come on for Jo in the second half."

1903: Everton get the second half under way.

1902: Paul in Formby (see below), I think anyone who has seen Angel Di Maria tonight would agree he would be a great signing for any Premier League side. He's been behind most of Benfica's best moments so far.

From Paul in Formby, via text on 81111: "Can't watch Everton (hope they win) as I'm stuck watching Lazio being battered by Villarreal, yet somehow drawing 1-1. Heard a lot of rumours and even read in the press a few times that we (Liverpool) are monitoring Angel Di Maria. Judging by what you've seen would he be of any benefit to us?"

1859: A few of you pointing out on 606 and text that young Everton defender Seamus Coleman is actually a right-back, making his debut at left-back (and doing quite well actually).

1858: More Celtic team news ahead of their 'almost but not quite must-win' game with Hamburg: Andreas Hinkel has won his fitness battle to return at right-back in place of Mark Wilson. Gary Caldwell and Stephen McManus remain in central defence despite Glenn Loovens' return from injury and domestic suspension. Lee Naylor continues at left-back in the continued absence of the injured Danny Fox.

From anon, via text on 81111: "Re geordiescot at 1844. That's a whole load of unnecessary electricity!"

1854: A bit of early team news from Celtic v Hamburg: Scott McDonald has been given a lone striker role by Tony Mowbray and Scott Brown is expected to support the Australian from midfield as Celtic seek their first win in Group C. Landry N'Guemo is poised to return to the midfield after being rested against Motherwell on Saturday. Barry Robson will also be in central midfield, with Aiden McGeady and Shaun Maloney in the wide roles.

1850: Here's myerla on 606 with more news of the Lazio-Villarreal game - Uruguay international Sebastian Eguren has headed home a wonderful cross from Joan Capdevila to level for the Spanish side, and the score is now 1-1.

1848: Everton are down to the bare bones after a succession of injuries but they are battling against the odds to stay in touch with an enterprising Benfica side, who have been superb at times going forward and lead through Javier Saviola's goal. David Moyes's haven't created much but have done enough to show they can be a threat from set-pieces, at least, and could still sneak something here.

Half time
1846: HALF-TIME Benfica 1-0 Everton

From geordiescot1989 on 606: "One TV with the Everton game on, one TV with the Lazio game on, one laptop with BBC live text on."

1844: Everton take a short corner and Diniyar Bilyaletdinov rides a challenge to run into the box. He's at a tight angle but tries to curl his shot into the opposite corner of the net. As it is, he sees the ball fly a mile wide... he forgot to put any curl on it, you see.

1842: About five minutes to go until half-time at the Estadio de Luz and Everton will have to improve a lot if they are going to turn this one round. Still, they are only one goal down at the moment...

1840: Ramires lets fly from 30 yards for Benfica but his effort is high and wide. Seconds later, Javier Saviola works space for a cross in the Everton area but it just eludes Oscar Cardoza. The home side don't seem short of ideas coming forward do they?

1838: In the other game in Group I, Ismael Blanco has just put AEK Athens 1-0 up against BATE Borisov.

1837: Here's news from Euro John, or Jean (as he will now be known): "Police say they have arrested dozens of football hooligans in Amsterdam after fighting broke out in the city's red light district ahead of a Europa League match between Ajax and Dinamo Zagreb. Amsterdam Police spokesman Nabil Ou-Aissa says most of the hooligans arrested are Ajax supporters and they were detained for public order offenses. He could not give the exact number of people detained."

1835: Diniyar Bilyaletdinov flashes a volley over from the edge of the box for Everton. Now that would have been spectacular, if it had gone in of course...

1833: Angel Di Maria is still looking lively and crosses again from the left for Ramires to head wide. Soon afterwards, Dan Gosling goes into referee Nikolai Ivanov's book for a fierce challenge on Cesar Peixoto.

1832: A few juicy challenges are flying in now, with Everton's Marouane Fellaini particularly eager to get involved. In terms of trying to get an equaliser, the visitors' best bet seems to be from set-pieces and Tim Cahill wastes one chance when he heads wide from a corner.

1830: Thanks to myerla on 606 for an update from the Lazio-Villarreal game, where former Birmingham City striker Mauro Zárate has slotted the Italian side ahead.

From ninjanoz on 606: "Unfortunately, I can see this being a tough night for Everton."

1827: More good work by Argentina international Angel Di Maria, who gets forward down the left before sending in a low cross that is heading for Oscar Cardozo at the far post until Sylvain Distin sticks out a leg to clear. Tim Howard is relieved to see the ball fly just wide.

1825: Everton have another chance to test Julio Cesar but Diniyar Bilyaletdinov's poor free-kick is easily cleared, before about six Toffees players are caught offside when the ball is played back in to the box.

1823: Another good spell by Everton, but you know what happened last time I wrote that. The final ball is what is letting down David Moyes' side at present, with an example of that being Jo's inability to find a team-mate when he crosses from the left... although he has no trouble finding touch.

1820: Another Angel Di Maria cross, deep to the back-post, but this time Seamus Coleman is equal to it and hustles a mistake out of Javier Saviola.

1818: First bit of action of the night for Benfica goalkeeper Julio Cesar, who comes running out to beat Marouane Fellaini to a hoisted cross and punch clear.

Oh dear, what was I saying? Angel Di Maria's deep cross from the left eludes Seamus Coleman at the far post and drops for Javier Saviola, who volleys down into the ground and sends the ball bouncing past Tim Howard and into the opposite corner of the net.

1814: GOALFLASH Benfica 1-0 Everton (Saviola)

1813: Better from Everton, who link up well with some neat passing... until Jo's poor cross from the left. Still, the visitors have found their feet now and seem a lot happier.

From Kenny, via text on 81111: "Re 1755. Windows wide open: EVERTON TO WIN 2-1!"

1810: A solid start for Everton debutant Seamus Coleman. He has coped well with everything thrown at him in a frenetic first 10 minutes and looks comfortable enough on the ball too.

1808: Everton are still settling down, and can't really keep hold of the ball at the moment. They just need to take the sting out of this one, I think.

From peg_leg5125 on Twitter: "Having seen the Everton team I am a little worried. Would be pleased with a point from tonight."

1806: A great early chance for the Portuguese side. A corner is flighted over from the left and Luisao rises above the Toffees defence only to see his poweful header fly wide.

1805: A mis-hit volley from Angel di Maria falls for Javier Saviola, but he is flagged offside. His header was off-target in any case. Benfica have started well.

1803: An early free-kick in a dangerous position for Benfica, after Angel Di Maria goes down under a challenge by Sylvain Distin on the right of the area. The ball is played in low towards Pablo Aimar but the Toffees clear their lines.

1801: Benfica get us under way.

1758: A few of you are asking about Everton debutant Seamus Coleman, who has only ever played for the first team in pre-season friendlies before now. He's a Republic of Ireland Under-21 international left-back who joined the Toffees for £150,000 from Sligo Rovers in July.

1756: Benfica's eagle mascot Vitoria swoops around the Estadio de Luz... it's a real eagle by the way. We're about four minutes away from kick-off.

1755: There are four ways to get in touch tonight. You can use 606, text me via 81111 or tweet away to your heart's content at Twitter. The fourth way? Open your window and shout - but I can't guarantee I'll hear you.

From Nick, via text on 81111: "If anymore Everton players had been injured I might've made the bench myself. Win tonight with the players available and it will be their best result for a decade."

1750: Benfica beat FC BATE Borisov at the Stadium of Light (their ground, not Sunderland's) in their first Group E match, but lost at AEK Athens in their next outing. Domestically, they are in good form with six wins and a draw from their first seven SuperLiga games.

1746: Everton boss David Moyes on his injury-hit side's hopes of moving closer to qualifying for the knock-out stages tonight: "Getting the job done is part of what we do at Everton. At the moment we have done our job by winning the first two games. We will certainly have to win at least another one to make sure we qualify. We go into all games trying to win but it is fair to suggest we might be happy coming to Benfica and taking a point."

1745: TEAM NEWS Benfica v Everton
Leighton Baines joins a lengthy list of Everton absentees, with the left-back one of 11 injured players. Seamus Coleman, 21, makes his debut in place of Baines while Jo starts up front ahead of Louis Saha.

1742: The visit of Hamburg is hardly an easy game for Celtic either, especially considering Celtic Park is not the fortress of old in Europe this season - Tony Mowbray's side have lost two and drawn one of their three games. Tonight is not make or break for them, but they can't afford many more slip ups.

From gunner-zp - Rosický Returns! Believe in Bendtner on 606: "Hard games for the English teams tonight, and I think they'll both take a point."

1740: Everton are first up tonight, at 1800 BST, with Celtic and Fulham both kicking off at 2005 BST.

1738: TEAMS Benfica v Everton
Benfica: Julio Cesar, Ruben Amorim, Luisao, David Luiz, Cesar Peixoto, Ramires, Javi Garcia, Di Maria, Saviola, Aimar, Cardozo. Subs: Quim, Maxi Pereira, Carlos Martins, Fabio Coentrao, Weldon, Nuno Gomes, Sidnei.
Everton: Howard, Gosling, Hibbert, Distin, Coleman, Fellaini, Cahill, Rodwell, Bilyaletdinov, Jo, Yakubu. Subs: Nash, Saha, Duffy, Agard, Baxter, Wallace, Akpan.
Referee: Nikolai Ivanov (Russia)

1734: Everton and Celtic are also in action tonight, with the Toffees looking to continue their 100% record in Group I as they travel to Benfica, and Celtic looking to salvage their Group C campaign at home to Hamburg.

1732: Tonight's game is a chance for Claudio Ranieri to renew acquaintances with Fulham boss Roy Hodgson, who he knows well from the Englishman's time in Italy. The bad news for Fulham fans is that Hodgson has never got the better of Ranieri, and the Italian never lost to the Cottagers. when he was in charge at Chelsea. Still, there's a first time for everything Roy.

1730 BST: It's more than five years since Claudio Ranieri was sacked as Chelsea boss and the Premier League has certainly been a poorer place for his absence (especially post-match press conferences). Tonight, however, the Tinkerman is back in west London as Fulham host his Roma side in Group E of the Europa League.

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see also
Football on the BBC
11 Aug 10 |  Football
Europa League photos
22 Oct 09 |  Football

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