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By Chris Bevan
2222: And that is a wrap from me folks. Thanks for your company, and thanks to Steve The Angry Gooner for his suitably inflammatory (not to mention totally incorrect) prediction at 1905 GMT. Ms Caroline Cheese is back in the chair on Saturday but I hope to see you all very soon. Nighty night.
2216: Time for a bit of injury news before I go. Liverpool think centre-back Martin Skrtel sustained a broken foot in Romania, while Fulham's man-of-the-moment Bobby Zamora is a doubt for Sunday's trip to Sunderland after limping off against Shakhtar with an Achilles problem.
2215: Right then. Liverpool will face Lille in the next round and, as discussed, Fulham will face Italian minnows Juventus. Here's Europa League Macca with the rest of the last-16 draw:
Hamburg v Anderlecht Rubin Kazan v Wolfsburg Atletico Madrid v Sporting Benfica v Marseille Panathinaikos v Standard Liege Lille v LIVERPOOL Juventus v FULHAM Club Brugge/Valencia v Werder Bremen
2210: Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez on his side's 3-1 win in Bucharest, that completed their 4-1 aggregate win over Unirea Urziceni: "We showed character. It was a difficult game because of the pitch. We needed to be calm and do the job properly. To play better we needed to score our goal as they were dangerous at set-pieces. I think once we scored a goal everything was easier and the second and third goals made things better."
From Farslayer on 606:
"Biggest shock of the night has to be Roma being knocked out. The facts don't lie: no English side has a very good record on Portuguese soil. Fulham have one of the most experienced European football managers around and he showed his chops tonight!"
2206: Eight. That's the the number of goals that Everton have conceded in two games in Portugal in the Europa League this season (they were thumped 5-0 by Benfica in October). I'm guessing David Moyes won't be going there on holiday in the summer...
From Few But Ripe on 606:
"Losing 3-0 against this Sporting side (which has been terrible domestically) is awful stuff. I'm a Benfica supporter but even I was mildly rooting for Sporting since I considered them the underdogs."
2202: So, Fulham and Liverpool are into the last 16 of the Europa League but Everton are out after conceding three goals in the last 25 minutes against Sporting in Lisbon. Up until they conceded the first goal, it had been a decent defensive display by the Toffees but, once they had to chase the game, it quickly ran away from them.
2159: A couple of Sporting substitutions eat up some more time at the Estadio Jose Alvalade before Leighton Baines whacks a long free-kick into the area. The ball bounces around inside the Sporting box but the home side eventually clear.
2155: Here's Europa League Macca again too: "More late drama in Turkey. Following Galatasaray's agonising exit earlier, it looks like Fenerbahce, who looked set to go through on away goals, could follow suit after Adil Rami grabs an 86th-minute goal for Lille. It's 1-1 on the night, the French side lead 3-2 on aggregate."
2154: Three minutes of injury time to be played in Lisbon. Everton need something special to save them now.
2153: At last, a decent spell of pressure by Everton. Although they are initially undone by poor control by Louis Saha, Mikel Arteta dribbles his way past a couple of Sporting players before teeing up Leon Osman, who sees his 25-yard shot deflected wide. To be honest, Osman would have been better off spreading the ball out to Leighton Baines because the Toffees had a man over on the left.
2152: Here's Europa League Macca again, and he seems quite excited: "I bring you news of a hat-trick for Claudio Pizarro for Werder Bremen against FC Twente. It's 4-1 to the Germans on the night, 4-2 overall. Stevie McC's side in danger of exiting. As are Villarreal, who also trail 4-1 on the night at Wolfsburg (6-3 on agg) through Grafite."
2151: Another Sporting goal would kill Everton off and they almost get it. It takes a sprawling save by Tim Howard to deny Yannick Djalo, who has been hugely impressive tonight.
2149: Around the same amount of time left in Lisbon and it is not looking good for Everton. Joseph Yobo sends a ball out to Leighton Baines on the left but it bounces over the left-back and out of play.
2146: Five minutes to go in the tie between Juventus and Ajax, which remains goalless. The Italian side lead 2-1 on aggregate and look set to set up an intriguing tie with Fulham in the next round.
2145: Hmmm. If Everton ARE going to get a goal they need to get the ball down the other end of the pitch, and sharpish. At the moment they are still defending, and still struggling to clear their lines.
After Tim Howard saves from Liedson, the ball is not cleared and is fed to Pedro Mendes, who lashes in a low shot from the edge of the box that takes a deflection on its way past Howard and into the net. Sporting extend their lead but the good news for Everton is that they still only need one goal to take this game to extra-time. This one is not over yet.
2139: A great chance for Everton to save this tie but they are denied by a spreadeagle save by Rui Patricio. A dangerous cross from the left finds Louis Saha at the back post and he takes the ball down beautifully but his shot is brilliantly stopped by the Sporting keeper.
2138: A final throw of the dice for David Moyes? With less than 20 minutes to go, he makes his third and final substitution of the night and brings on Yakubu for Landon Donovan.
2135: Louis Saha goes down in the area as he runs in for a Steven Pienaar cross - and the Frenchman wants a penalty. Referee Alon Yefet thinks otherwise and replays show he is correct - Saha tripped over his own feet at the near post.
2133: Everton have got a bit more defending to do for the time-being. Liedson rises unmarked at the near post to meet a free-kick from the right but his header flies straight at Tim Howard.
2132: This is a tricky situation for Everton now. They have spent the last hour-and-a-bit soaking up the pressure and doing little attacking themselves. Now they have to completely change their approach, take the game to their hosts and find a goal from somewhere, otherwise they are out.
Uh-oh. Straight after Steve Pienaar goes within an inch of putting Everton ahead with a curling shot that drops wide, Sporting's next attack sees Miguel Veloso beat the offside trap on the left-hand side of the area and beat Tim Howard with a low shot into the opposite corner of the net. Sporting are ahead on the night, and will go through on away goals if the score stays the same when the 90 minutes are up.
2126: Time for another Everton change - Jack Rodwell is on for Diniyar Bilyaletdinov. Sporting are making a change too, striker Carlos Saleiro is on for left-back Leandro Grimi - he has got 25 minutes to get a goal.
2124: Sporting's best effort of the second half. A looping cross from the right finds Joao Moutinho and his volley is heading for the bottom corner until Tim Howard sticks out a leg to turn it around the post. Howard is called into action again seconds later, tipping over an Abel Ferreira cross that swerves goalwards.
2122: Everton are still defending well, clearing a Joao Moutinho corner and then charging towards Miguel Veloso when the ball drops to him 35 yards out, forcing him to rather hurriedly shoot high and wide.
From JacquiOatley on Twitter:
"I'm in Shakhtar coach Mircea Lucescu's press conference. He's having major rant at Uefa for the Norwegian ref, who he says "was hugging three Fulham players on the pitch!" Lucescu was angry that there was a Norwegian ref with Fulham having three Norwegian players in their squad."
From Few But Ripe on 606:
"I know it's become the fashion to jump on your favourite left-back's bandwagon but for me, Leighton Baines has been Everton's best, most underrated player (in Europe, at least) this season. Such composure on the ball, great crossing and can pick a pass. But, if he doesn't play some internationals, he's got no chance of SA"
2116: Yannick Djalo has a pop for Sporting from 25 yards out and sees the ball fly over the bar. That's the cue for Senderos to limp off to be replaced by Jagielka, who receives a loud cheer from the travelling Everton fans - this is his first appearance after 10 months out with a serious knee injury.
2114: Philippe Senderos has just had some lengthy treatment on a leg injury but is back on the pitch. Everton have not got an abundance of centre-backs but Phil Jagielka is fit and on the bench.
2112: It's quite unsettling to glance at my TV screen and catch a glimpse of Joao Moutinho, who is wearing an unfortunate flesh-coloured bandage around his head after being clattered in the first-half. With a clump of hair sticking out of the top, he appears to be sporting a belated tribute to Jason Lee's 'pineapple do' from the mid 90s. Fortunately, he is not.
2109: Sporting get the second half under way in Lisbon.
2106: Fulham boss Roy Hodgson after his side beat holders (last year's Uefa Cup winners) Shakhtar Donetsk to reach the last 16 of the Europa League: "It was a marvellous display and we've eliminated one of the best teams in Europe. It was one of those nights that all Fulham fans and everyone connected with Fulham can be very proud of."
2103: Wondering how the rest of the last 16 of the Europa League is shaping up? Here's Europa League Macca (again) to tell us.
Hamburg v Anderlecht Rubin Kazan/Hapoel Tel Aviv v Villarreal/Wolfsburg Atletico Madrid v EVERTON/Sporting Benfica v Marseille Panathinaikos v Standard Liege/Salzburg Lille/Fenerbahce v LIVERPOOL Ajax/Juventus v FULHAM Club Bruges/Valencia v FC Twente/Werder Bremen
From princejimmycass on 606:
"Why do Everton always play low tempo stuff in Europe... we need to come out and hit them at Premier League pace - they wont be able to deal with it."
2057: Europa League Macca is having a busy old night tonight, and he's a long way from finished yet. Here he is again with some news of an old friend, the 'Wally with the Brolly': "So it's been a good night for the English interest in the competition so far. Not so good news for ex-England manager Steve McClaren, however, as his FC Twente side, who led 1-0 after the first leg, found themselves 3-0 down after 27 minutes of their visit to Werder Bremen. They've just pulled a goal back to give them hope and now trail 3-2 on aggregate. Valencia have levelled up their tie with Club Brugge at 1-1, Wolfsburg have taken a 5-3 overall lead against Villarreal and Fenerbahce are 1-0 (2-2 on agg) at home to Lille."
2055: Erm, not the greatest 45 minutes ever in the history of Everton Football Club but the saying 'so far, so good' springs to mind. The Toffees are still on course to join Liverpool and Fulham in the last 16 of the Europa League.
2050: Everton have the ball in the net, but they are not celebrating because Philippe Senderos was flagged offside before he met Leighton Baines' free-kick. Baines has been under a bit of pressure at the other end but has coped pretty well so far - he's certainly not hanging around when it comes to putting tackles in.
2047: By the way, Everton or Sporting will meet Atletico Madrid next after their last-gasp win over Galatasaray. The Toffees are still ahead 2-1 on aggregate but, guess what, they have been second-best so far... making them the third English team to be described as such by me tonight. I should add that on the previous two occasions, Liverpool and Fulham scored shortly afterwards.
2045: It's still 0-0 in Turin, where Juventus hold a 2-1 lead from the first leg against Ajax and look on course to be making a trip to Craven Cottage for the next round, which takes place on 11 and 18 March.
From Duncan in Kent, via text on 81111: "Nervy start by Everton, the boys need to chilax."
I can almost guarantee that Toffees boss David Moyes will not use the term 'chilax' in his half-time team-talk. His loss.
2040: Everton almost have a corner, which wouldn't be worth mentioning normally but is this time because of how little we have seen of them going forward. I say 'almost' because referee Alon Yefet over-rules his linesman and the official behind the goal in order to award a goal-kick to Sporting. That's just being cruel.
2033: That new-look Everton defence is still looking very shaky, though, and Marat Izmailov is handed two bites of the cherry when the Toffees fail to clear. His first shot is blocked but he picks up the loose ball before firing his next effort wastefully wide.
2030: Better by Everton, if 'better' means not conceding a succession of free-kicks in shooting distance. They are still to seriously threaten a goal but are at least having some decent possession in the middle of the park.
2026: Another free-kick for Sporting, but the end result is not half as dangerous this time. Miguel Veloso curls the ball goalwards from about 30 yards out but it is easily caught by Tim Howard. Still, probably not a good idea to give the Portuguese another go at a set-piece...
2024: Here's a chance for Sporting, after Yannick Djalo cons referee Alon Yefet by taking a dive on the edge of the area. Joao Moutinho bends the resulting free-kick against the bar with Tim Howard beaten and Tonel smashes the rebound wildly high and wide. A bit of a let-off for the Toffees.
2020: Everton have not managed an attack of note yet but the tackles have been flying in, from both sides, in the opening minutes. Liedson has just dragged a shot wide from distance for Sporting but they have not forced Tim Howard into another save... not yet anyway.
2018: Ha, I've just realised that I sent Fulham into the last eight of the Europa League at 1955 GMT (now changed, I don't think any of you noticed). To be honest, they deserve it after that performance but no, they are actually just in the last 16, the same as Liverpool.
2015: Most of the Sporting attacks have come down Everton's right flank so far but, yes, worth keeping an eye on Leighton Baines - who is an excellent player and deserves his chance for England.
From Imps Promotion 2012 on 606:
"A lot of attention on Everton's Leighton Baines tonight. Just wondering, who are the other left-back options for England in the summer, if Cole and Gibbs are still injured and Bridge still retired by the time we go to South Africa?"
2011: A first chance of the match, and it goes to Sporting. Marat Izmailov works space for a shot on the left and his low angled effort is pushed away by Tim Howard and cleared by the Toffees defence.
2009: A bit of a scrappy start at the Estadio Jose Alvalade, which is far from full by the way. A reminder that Everton, who are very much in form, lead 2-1 from the first leg against a Sporting side that are very much out of form.
2007: Here's Europa League Macca again, just to bring you bang up to date with a bit of drama in Turkey: "Late heartache for Galatasaray as Diego Forlan grabbed a late winner for Atletico Madrid to send them through. Despite a late goal from PSV to take a 3-2 lead at home to Hamburg, it was not enough to prevent them going out on away goals."
From Tom in Bristol, via text on 81111: "Liverpool will take the headlines, but Fulham just pulled off the best result in their history, YES!"
1958: It's not as cut and dry with all the 1800 GMT kick-offs, mind. Here's Europa League Macca to explain why: "Marseille can start thinking about the last 16 as they extend their lead to 3-0 (6-1 on agg) against FC Copenhagen. PSV's night is going rapidly downhill as Hamburg pull it back to 2-2 and lead 3-2 on aggregate, with an away goal advantage in their favour. Galatasaray will play the last few minutes of their game - and ET if the scoreline stays the same - at home to Atletico Madrid with 10 men as Caner Erkin has received a second yellow."
1956: Liverpool are through too of course, rather more comfortably, and will meet Lille or Fenerbahce in the last 16. Can Everton join them? We will find out soon enough - kick-off in Lisbon is less than five minutes away.
1955: The Fulham players celebrate wildly on the pitch at the Donbass Arena, and so they should. Roy Hodgson's men are into the last 16 after knocking out the holders (well, the last winners of the Uefa Cup) and will face Ajax or Juventus next.
The four minutes of added time are up but Fulham must finish the game with 10 men. Danny Murphy is trying to waste time in the corner and inadvertently trips a defender. He is shown a straight red, which looks a bit harsh.
1951: RED CARD Fulham (Danny Murphy)
1950: FULL-TIME Unirea Urziceni 1-3 Liverpool (agg 1-4)
1949: We're into injury-time in Donetsk, and Zoltan Gera has wasted a golden opportunity to wrap things up for Fulham. The Hungarian runs clear but places his shot a foot wide of the post... and Shakhtar come forward again.
1946: A rare attack by Fulham sees Chris Baird fire wide with a free-kick from 30 yards out. And here's a stat for you, if you like that sort of thing. Steven Gerrard's goal for Liverpool earlier means he has now scored 33 European goals, breaking Alan Shearer's record of 32 and becoming the highest English goalscorer in European competions.
1945: A decent chance for Unirea, and a decent save by Pepe Reina too. He keeps out Marius Bilasco's header with his feet and Emiliano Insua is on hand to clear for Liverpool.
1944: TEAM NEWS Sporting Lisbon v Everton Joseph Yobo and Philippe Senderos start in defence for Everton in Lisbon with John Heitinga cup-tied and Sylvain Distin suspended, while Phil Jagielka is in the matchday squad for the first time this season after suffering a serious knee injury last April. Dan Gosling and Jack Rodwell, who scored against Manchester United last weekend, have to settle for a place on the bench.
1942: Shakhtar want a penalty after Rodrigues Jadson's shot hits a Fulham defender and ricochets wide but Norwegian referee Svein Oddvar Moen is having none of it. The holders have to settle for another corner.
1941: Make that 17 shots by Shakhtar. Yaroslav Rakitskiy sends a rasping shot swerving just wide of Mark Schwarzer's right-hand post. Fulham are hanging on now.
1940: The goals are still flying in across Europe and here's Europa League Macca to tell us more: "So, renewed hope for reigning holders Shakhtar Donetsk but former winners PSV are in trouble all of a sudden. Hamburg have pulled a goal back in Eindhoven through Mladen Petric and it's 2-1 to the hosts now, with the Germans to go through on away goals if the scoreline stays the same. Both sides down to 10 men now. Anderlecht and Marseille hold 5-1 agg leads against Athletic Bilbao and Copenhagen respectively, Roma have pulled it back to 2-3 (4-6) against Panathinaikos and Galatasaray have traded goals with Atletico Madrid so it is all square at 2-2 on aggregate now. Phew."
1938: Statistics don't always tell the story of the game but they do a pretty good job of summing up Shakhtar v Fulham so far. The Ukrainian side have had 16 shots on goal to Fulham's three, and 15 corners to the Cottagers 0. Still it's the score that counts and if that stays at 1-1, it will sent Roy Hodgson's men through.
1936: TEAMS Sporting Lisbon v Everton Sporting: Rui Patricio, Abel, Daniel Carrico, Tonel, Grimi, Izmailov, Joao Moutinho, Mendes, Veloso, Djalo, Liedson. Subs: Tiago, Anderson Polga, Adrien Silva, Carlos Saleiro, Vukcevic, Fernandez, Bruno Pereirinha. Everton: Howard, Neville, Yobo, Senderos, Baines, Osman, Arteta, Pienaar, Bilyaletdinov, Saha, Donovan. Subs: Nash, Jagielka, Gosling, Yakubu, Rodwell, Anichebe, Coleman. Referee: Alon Yefet (Israel)
1935: Unirea are trying to reduce the deficit in Bucharest but they are playing for pride now, and little else. Liverpool remain very comfortable indeed and if they can avoid any more injuries then the Reds will be happy.
1931: Fulham replace Bobby Zamora, who had a quiet night by his standards, with Swedish forward David Elm. I must admit I don't know much about Elm, other than that he is one of the few footballers who share their name with a tree. Shakhtar are still attacking in numbers and they have got 15 minutes left to score again.
From Bill on 606:
"Shakhtar have totally dominated both games, if there is any justice they will score again soon."
Shakhtar goal: Douglas Costa gets past Stephen Kelly with a neat step-over and crosses for Rodrigues Jadson to slot home with a cool first-time finish from six yards out. The Ukrainian side are level on the night but need another goal to take Fulham to extra-time.
1925: The only cloud on a decent night for Liverpool so far is an injury to Martin Skrtel, who has just limped off after hurting his foot in a 50-50 challenge. Sotirios Kyrgiakos is on instead.
From peeeeete on Twitter:
"That's the first time Liverpool have scored 3 goals in a game since we beat Hull 6-1 in September!"
1920: Far from being on the end of an onslaught (see 1900 GMT) Fulham are doing a brilliant job of keeping Shaktar very quiet so far. If the Cottagers go through, they face Ajax or Juventus in the next round. Either way, that is one to look forward to. Still 25 minutes or so left at the Donbass Arena though.
1918: So, barring what would be a massive turnaround in Bucharest with half-an-hour left to play (Unirea need to score four goals), Liverpool are through to the last 16, where Lille or Fenerbahce lie in wait. Lille lead 2-1 after the first leg, with the return in Turkey kicking off at 2005 GMT.
Liverpool goal: This tie is done and dusted now. Yossi Benayoun dribbles into the area before teeing up Steven Gerrard, who drills home a low shot past the unsighted keeper for the perfect finish.
1912: GOALFLASH Unirea Urziceni 1-3 (agg 1-4) Liverpool (Gerrard)
1910: Fulham are holding out comfortably enough so far, although Mark Schwarzer has had to keep out a Luiz Adriano header. Liverpool? They are on the attack, and Steven Gerrard has just seen a low free-kick pushed around the post by Giedrius Arlauskis.
1908: Just to let you know, commentary of Unirea v Liverpool is now on BBC Radio 5 live, and, if you give this page a refresh, you can listen right here, if you're in the UK anyway (just click on the icon in the top right corner).
1907: Unirea pump a high ball into the Liverpool box and they have a man over at the back post... but it matters not because Stefan Johannesson has already stopped play because of offside.
1905: I'm hearing that Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech is out for a month with a torn calf muscle sustained against Inter on Wednesday. It is probably better news than Carlo Ancelotti was probably expecting too.
From Steve the Angry Gooner via text on 81111: "I'm still predicting Everton are going to be the only English team left in the Europa League after tonight!"
1903: ... and in Ukraine.
1902: The second half has just started in Bucharest...
From BP, in Runcorn, on 81111: "Will Fulham players emerge in tin hats for the second half?"
1900: It's fair to say that we can expect Europa League (well, Uefa Cup anyway) holders Shakhtar Donetsk to pour forward once play resumes in the Ukraine. They need to score two goals in the next 45 minutes to take Fulham to extra-time, and three to go through. will the Cottagers hold out?
From mrtim111 on Twitter:
"Good score for Liverpool at the end of the first half. However, I would like it if they defend corners/concede less corners in the second half."
1855: Here's Europa League Macca again with his latest missive from around Europe... and he brings news of goals. Lots of them: "It looks like the Greeks could be putting the Romans to the sword at the Stadio Olimpico. A Djibril Cisse penalty, a Sotiris Ninis effort and another from Cisse on the stroke of HT have seen Panathinaikos go 3-1 ahead on the night and 6-3 up on aggregate against Claudio Ranieri's Roma side. Marseille also look a good bet for the quarters as they lead Copenhagen 4-1 now, while Balazs Dzsudzsak has edged PSV into a 2-1 aggregate lead against Hamburg."
1853: Er, as about 1,000 of you have just pointed out via text, that Javier Mascherano goal against Everton was actually given as an own goal by Joseph Yobo because of the massive deflection it took on its way into the net. So I was right first time, then?
1850: Hmmm, having just seen that Ryan Babel goal again I must admit I was bit harsh in my initial description. Here's my second take: The Dutch winger, playing back-to-back matches for the first time in over a year, took the ball down beautifully at the back post before placing his shot inside the post.
1847: Half-time at the Donbass Arena and in Bucharest. It's looking good for Fulham and Liverpool so far.
1845: Ah, turns out I was given duff information and Mascherano has already netted once this season, in the Merseyside derby against Everton no less. Sorry about that.
1842: There is lots else going on around the rest of Europe too of course, and I will try to keep you (vaguely) up to date with some of it. Well, Europa League Macca will anyway: "PSV's Ola Toivonen has got them back on level terms after just two minutes of their second leg against Hamburg, while Romelu Lukaku and a Mikel San Jose own goal has seen Anderlecht take a 3-1 aggregate lead against Athletic Bilbao. In Rome, John Arne Riise's goal has put the hosts ahead on the night, making it 3-3 on aggregate against Panathinaikos. Some heavyweight battles there. No doubt."
Liverpool goal: A Steven Gerrard free-kick is not dealt with and, when the ball drops for Ryan Babel at the back post, he is able to prod the ball home. A strange old game this. Liverpool have been second-best so far but they are ahead on the night and in total command of the tie.
1840: GOALFLASH Unirea Urziceni 1-2 (agg 1-3) Liverpool (Babel)
1839: Unirea midfielder Razvan Paduretu, who has been causing chaos with his corners, brings a decent low save from Pepe Reina after letting fly from 20 yards. Reina does well to keep it out, but is less impressive from the resulting corner and is glad to see it fly out after flapping unconvincingly at the ball.
1836: Another Unirea corner, and more trouble for Liverpool. The ball travels right across the face of goal and goes behind off Emiliano Insua, who knew nothing about it.
Blimey, describing this goal as being scored against the run of play just doesn't do it justice. With Fulham's first attack, 33 minutes in, Damien Duff curls over an inswinging free-kick from the right and Brede Hangeland rises to nod into the bottom corner of the net. Shakhtar have dominated so far but they are behind on the night, and in real trouble in the tie.
Pick that one out! Unirea hack the ball clear after a period of Liverpool pressure but only as far as Javier Mascherano, who absolutely leathers his shot from 25 yards out and sees it fly into the back of the net. A real scorcher from the Argentine for his first goal of the season... and Liverpool are back ahead on aggregate. That away goal means Unirea have to score two more goals to go through.
1829: GOALFLASH Unirea Urziceni 1-1 (agg 1-2) Liverpool (Mascherano)
1828: By the way, Fulham are still under the cosh at the Donbass Arena but are holding out, so far anyway. Willian has just fired wide from a good position at the back post and it is all hands to the pump for Mark Schwarzer and his defenders.
1826: It's not all good news for Unirea, mind. They've just lost their captain and key defender George Galamaz to injury, with Ersin Mehmedovic on instead.
1825: Steven Gerrard fires in a couple of dangerous free-kicks as Liverpool attempt to seize back the initiative in Romania. The first is punched clear by Giedrius Arlauskis, and the second is too high for David Ngog at the back post. Liverpool are still in second gear.
1822: Following that Unirea goal, it seems a good time to tell you that away goals come into play after 90 minutes in the Europa League... so we are on for extra-time in Bucharest although, in fairness, there are still 70 minutes of normal time to go.
Oh dear. A corner is floated in from the left and Joao Bruno Fernandes rises, completely unmarked, to power a header past Pepe Reina. Where was the Liverpool defence? Nowhere to be seen, that's where. The Romanians level the tie on aggregate - all to play for then.
1818: GOALFLASH Unirea Urziceni 1-0 (agg 1-1) Liverpool (Fernandes)
From Roger, via text on 81111: "Chris you are incorrect re Unirea's lack of attack. A player did enter the other half at kick-off."
1815: Yep, you guessed it. Shakhtar attack again. This time Luis Fernandinho lets fly from distance and forces Mark Schwarzer into a flying save. All the (goalmouth) action is in that one at the moment - It's pretty dull between Unirea and Liverpool right now.
1813: Another chance for Shakhtar, and a clear sight of goal this time. Darijo Srna crosses for Rodrigues Jadson, but he scuffs his shot wide. Fulham having to do a lot of defending right now and Bobby (or Bobatov) Zamora is not seeing much of the ball at the other end.
From VillaFour on 606:
"Surely it's got to be between Leighton Baines and Stephen Warnock to be England's number two left-back? There's a reason Nicky Shorey's been loaned out twice this year."
1808: Er, well, it WAS a lively start. Fulham are, wisely, playing a bit of keep-ball to take the sting out of Shakhtar while Liverpool are doing pretty much the same against Unirea.
From Jonny, supporting Fulham from Chile, via text on 81111: "With Bobatov Zamora on form, anything is possible for Fulham!"
1804: Fulham are under pressure too, with Mark Schwarzer having to tip over a fierce drive from Willian. Back in Bucharest (where Unirea are playing because their home ground is so small), Steven Gerrard's low shot is pushed away by Giedrius Arlauskis. A lively start so far then...
1801: I take it all back about Unirea being so negative. Inside the first two minutes, Liverpool fail to clear when a free-kick is pumped into their box and Sorin Frunza's pot-shot from the edge of the area fizzes just over the bar. That was close...
1800: We are under way in Romania... and in Ukraine.
1759: It's a year to the day that Liverpool beat Real Madrid 1-0 at the Bernabeu in the last-16 of the Champions League. Not quite the same glamour surrounding their tie tonight, but the same result would do nicely.
1758: Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez on his side's hopes of reaching the last 16 of the Europa League and a tie with Lille or Fenerbahce: "Although Urziceni are a good team we are a good team, we don't think about defeat. We have to be confident we can score and that we can win the game."
1750: TEAM NEWS Shakhtar Donetsk v Fulham Fulham name the same side that beat Shakhtar 2-1 in the first leg. Stephen Kelly plays at left-back in place of the cup-tied Nicky Shorey and in-form Bobby Zamora is given a lone striker role. The Ukrainian side, who haven't played since the Craven Cottage tie, also name an unchanged line-up, featuring five Brazilians.
1747: TEAM NEWS Unirea Urziceni v Liverpool Fernando Torres is on the bench again for Liverpool after returning from a five-week lay-off with a knee injury by coming on for the last 15 minutes against Manchester City on Sunday. Reds boss Rafael Benitez does make two changes from the side that played out a dire 0-0 draw at Eastlands with Yossi Benayoun making his first start since returning from a rib injury in place of the cup-tied Maxi Rodriguez and David Ngog starting up front on his own in place of Dirk Kuyt who drops to the bench.
From LFCDarlo on 606:
"I'm a Liverpool fan with a Romanian girlfriend who is going to her first game tonight to 'represent' me even though she has zero interest in football. So I'm hoping the Reds turn on the style and dazzle her - it could help me win a lot of arguments about what to do on a Saturday afternoon for a long time to come."
1742: Fulham manager Roy Hodgson on his side's slender 2-1 lead ahead of their trip to Ukraine for the second leg of their tie with Shakhtar Donetsk: "Playing for a draw is a difficult thing to do, you automatically give the initiative to the other team. I don't think it's in our nature or in our style of play to do that, surrender the initiative and try to shut up shop for 90 minutes. I think we want to play them, match them at least in their play and that means attacking well and defending well.
1741: By all accounts, poor old Rafael Benitez had a tricky time in his press conference ahead of today's game, with the Liverpool boss facing questions about chants from rival fans about getting sacked, which Romanian players he rates, what his wages would be if he were to manage in Romania and this pearler: "Mr Benitez, the last time I saw you was in Istanbul in 2005 and you had a different silhouette - what has happened to your silhouette?" Benitez answered, diplomatically: "It is the stress of answering questions from the press."
1739: So, it's a busy night in the Europa League but it won't be a good one unless you get involved. You can use
text me via 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide) and
and also Tweet me on Twitter.
Be nice though.
1733: Yep the Europa League is back tonight, and all three English teams left in the competion face tricky away ties as they look to protect their first leg leads. Coming up at 1800 GMT, Liverpool (who are 1-0 up) are in action at the aforementioned Unirea and Fulham (who won 2-1 at the Cottage) take on crack Ukrainian outfit Shakhtar Donetsk. Then, if that's not enough for you, Everton (leading 2-1) are up against Sporting Lisbon in Portgual from 2000 GMT. Some tough cookies in there - how many of our lot do you think will be left standing after tonight then?
1730: No matter how bad things are for your the team you support, just be glad of one thing: that you don't have a season ticket at Unirea Urziceni. Watching the Romanian champions is not exactly thrill-a-minute stuff, is it?
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