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Page last updated at 20:33 GMT, Thursday, 2 October 2008 21:33 UK

Motherwell 0-2 AS Nancy (0-3)

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Highlights: Motherwell v Nancy

By Thomas McGuigan

Defensive errors wrecked Motherwell's Uefa Cup dreams at the first hurdle against an impressive Nancy side.

With the French outfit leading 1-0 from the first-round first leg, Well failed to put Nancy on the back foot.

Marc-Antoine Fortune's close-range effort and Benjamin Gavanon's free-kick within 25 minutes killed the tie.

Motherwell toiled to create anything of note as Nancy eased to their first away win in Europe in front of a packed but dejected Fir Park crowd.

Despite watching his side start brightly, Mark McGhee's gameplan came unstuck in the 17th minute when Paul Quinn conceded a free-kick about 20 yards from goal.

Gavanon's effort was brilliantly parried by goalkeeper Graeme Smith, but Fortune was quickest to react and he fired low into the net to give the French side a crucial away goal.

Motherwell captain Stephen Craigan and Mark Reynolds
Nancy's quick-fire double left Motherwell reeling at Fir Park

David Clarkson fired a shot just past Gennaro Bracigliano's left-hand post moments later as Motherwell looked to hit back immediately.

The Motherwell fans were stunned again after 23 minutes when Gavanon's free-kick drifted into the six-yard box, and with no-one able to clear, the ball bounced once before finding the corner of the net.

The hosts had been aggrieved at the theatrical style in which Monsef Zerka tumbled to the ground under Bob Malcolm's challenge to earn the award.

Interview: Motherwell manager Mark McGhee

McGhee, who before the game had stressed the importance of not conceding an early goal, looked on helplessly from the touchline.

The quick-fire brace saw an emboldened Nancy attack in numbers as Motherwell struggled to stem the white tide pouring forward.

Malcolm made way for Jamie Murphy on the half-hour mark as McGhee looked for more creativity to breach Nancy's defence.

Chris Porter spurned a great chance on the stroke of half-time when he steered a shot past the post from Steve Hammell's wicked cross.


Despite Motherwell needing four goals to progress, it was Nancy who carved out the first chance after the break.

Zerka fired just wide of Smith's right-hand post after impressively stepping away from Stephen Craigan's challenge.

Stephen Hughes then sent a rasping drive just over to signal Motherwell's intent to press for a consolation.

Zerka, N'Diaye and Fortune were constant thorns in Motherwell's side and their movement and intelligent running unsettled the Steelmen's rearguard.

With Nancy swarming forward at every opportunity in the second half, only their profligacy in front of goal spared Motherwell a heavier defeat.

Motherwell: Graeme Smith, Quinn, Craigan (Darren Smith 75), Reynolds, Hammell, Lasley (Sutton 64), Malcolm (Murphy 32), Hughes, McGarry, Porter, Clarkson.
Subs not used: Nielsen, Fitzpatrick, O'Brien, Connolly.

AS Nancy: Bracigliano, Chretien, Andre Luiz, Sami (Ouaddou 20), Brison, Macaluso, N'Diaye, Hadji, Gavanon (N'Guemo 66), Fortune (Berenguer 75), Zerka.
Subs not used: Gregorini, Helder, Biancalani, Dia.

Booked: Chretien 80.

Goals: Fortune 18, Gavanon 23.

Aggregate score: 0-3

Att: 11,318

Referee: Espen Berntsen (Norway).

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Nancy's Benjamin Gavanon 8.00 (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.

see also
Uefa Cup as it happened
02 Oct 08 |  Europe
Motherwell Player Rater
17 Jan 07 |  Live Text

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