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Liverpool   1 - 0   Unirea Urziceni

Steven Gerrard
Liverpool had a frustrating night until David Ngog's late goal

By Chris Bevan

David Ngog's 81st-minute winner spared Liverpool's blushes as they began their Europa League campaign in disappointing fashion against Unirea Urzinceni.

The Romanian side's defensive approach looked like earning them a draw in the first leg of their last-32 clash.

Liverpool dominated possession but were unable to break down the visitors and created few clear-cut chances.

But, with time running out, Daniel Pacheco knocked down Ryan Babel's cross and Ngog headed in from close range.

Steven Gerrard went close to adding a second goal seconds later with a rasping shot that flew inches wide, but a second goal would have put an undeserved gloss on what became a difficult night for Rafael Benitez's side.

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Liverpool's early exit from the Champions League had left them in Europe's second-tier competition for the first time since 2004 but Benitez backed up his promise to take the tournament seriously by fielding a strong line-up.

The Europa League is the Reds' last realistic chance of winning any silverware this season and their fans turned out in force too, with more than 40,000 at Anfield.

Sadly, they were not treated to much of a spectacle, mainly due to the ultra-defensive tactics employed by Unirea that stifled the hosts for most of the match.

Liverpool made a storming start to the game, and could have been ahead inside the first 30 seconds when Dirk Kuyt played in Steven Gerrard, who was denied by Giedrius Arlauskis.

But, from then on, chances were a lot harder to come by as the Romanian champions defended deep and in numbers.

Liverpool did have opportunities - Kuyt went close with a deflected effort that flew across the face of goal, Gerrard missed the target and Ngog turned to fire a shot inches wide - but Arlauskis was far from over-worked before half-time.

The game continued in the same pattern after the break, with Unirea rarely venturing forward but Liverpool seeming unable to find a way through their packed defence.

Martin Skrtel headed over from six yards out and Fabiano Aurelio forced Arlauskis into a fine diving save but, if anything, Unirea, who have not played for more than two months because of Romania's winter break, looked more comfortable as the game wore on.

It took two of Benitez's substitutes to combine and help make the breakthrough, with Babel's deep cross being headed back across goal by Pacheco for Ngog to turn the ball home.

The goal means Liverpool can head to Romania in confident mood for next week's second leg.

But, before then, they face another big Premier League test with a trip to Manchester City for a game that is likely to have a huge impact on their hopes of finishing in the top four and avoiding playing in this competition again next season.


Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez:
"It is not the best result but it is good - a clean sheet was important.

"Sometimes when the other team is defending well you have to be patient and keep more of the ball.

"We were waiting for the goal and were really pleased when we did at the end."

Unirea Urziceni coach Roni Levy:
"I am disappointed in the result. Of course, Liverpool had the ball for most of the game but one moment we didn't concentrate we conceded a goal.

"My players came and did the best they could do. This is the first half of two legs and I am looking forward to next week.

"It is a good result to take back to Bucharest: there is still a lot of interest in the game and still we have a chance."

Live text and stats

 

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Europa League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Liverpool 1-0 U Urziceni FT
(HT 0-0)
  • Ngog 81

    Liverpool

    Substitutes

    Unirea Urziceni

    • 01 Arlauskis
    • 06 Galamaz
    • 19 Brandan yellow card
    • 22 Bruno Fernandes yellow card
    • 24 Maftei
    • 08 Paraschiv (Vilana 86)
    • 10 Paduretu (Rusescu 90)
    • 30 Frunza
    • 32 Apostol
    • 07 Bilasco
    • 25 Onofras (Marinescu 75)

    Substitutes

    • 74 Tudor,
    • 04 Mehmedovic,
    • 16 Nicu,
    • 23 Bordeanu,
    • 18 Vilana,
    • 20 Marinescu,
    • 14 Rusescu
    Ref: BraamhaarAtt: 40,450
    LIVERPOOL
    U URZICENI

    Possession

    • Liverpool 59%
    • U Urziceni 41%

    Attempts on target

    • Liverpool 11
    • U Urziceni 1

    Attempts off target

    • Liverpool 10
    • U Urziceni 3

    Corners

    • Liverpool 14
    • U Urziceni 1

    Fouls

    • Liverpool 15
    • U Urziceni 8
    • Final Result
    • Full Time
    • 90:00+3:58 The final whistle is blown by the referee.
    • 90:00+3:05 Free kick awarded for a foul by Joao Bruno Fernandes on Dirk Kuyt. Daniel Agger restarts play with the free kick.
    • 90:00+2:11 Vasile Maftei delivers the ball, Martin Skrtel makes a clearance.
    • 89:40 Free kick crossed by Pablo Brandan, Daniel Agger makes a clearance.
    • 89:40 Substitution (Unirea Urziceni) makes a substitution, with Raul Rusescu coming on for Razvan Paduretu.
    • 89:40 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Razvan Paduretu by Steven Gerrard.
    • 88:46 Corner taken by Fabio Aurelio, save by Giedrius Arlauskis.
    • 88:46 Substitution Leiva Lucas on for David Ngog.
    • 85:43 Substitution Ion Sorin Paraschiv leaves the field to be replaced by Ricardo Vilana.
    • 85:27 Daniel Agger concedes a free kick for a foul on Marius Bilasco. Free kick taken by Laurentiu Marinescu.
    • 84:50 Effort from outside the penalty area by Steven Gerrard goes wide left of the goal.
    • 83:57 The ball is delivered by Ryan Babel, George Galamaz manages to make a clearance.
    • 82:23 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Iulian Apostol by Javier Mascherano. Pablo Brandan takes the free kick.
    • 80:38 Ryan Babel crosses the ball,
    • 80:13 Assist by Daniel Pacheco.
    • 80:13 GOAL - David NgogLiverpool 1 - 0 Unirea Urziceni David Ngog grabs a headed goal from close range. Liverpool 1-0 Unirea Urziceni.
    • 79:40 The ball is crossed by Fabio Aurelio, Pablo Brandan manages to make a clearance.
    • 79:27 Dirk Kuyt crosses the ball, save made by Giedrius Arlauskis.
    • 78:40 Effort from outside the penalty box by Iulian Apostol goes wide right of the goal.
    • 76:58 Shot from a long way out by Steven Gerrard goes wide of the left-hand upright.
    • 75:34 Ion Sorin Paraschiv gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Daniel Pacheco. Free kick taken by Jamie Carragher.
    • 74:10 Substitution (Liverpool) makes a substitution, with Daniel Pacheco coming on for Alberto Aquilani.
    • 74:10 Substitution (Unirea Urziceni) makes a substitution, with Laurentiu Marinescu coming on for Marius Onofras.
    • 73:20 Steven Gerrard takes a shot. Save by Giedrius Arlauskis. David Ngog has an effort at goal from close in which goes wide left of the target.
    • 71:23 The ball is crossed by Fabio Aurelio, Headed effort on goal by David Ngog from inside the penalty box misses to the right of the target.
    • 69:33 David Ngog takes a shot. Blocked by George Galamaz. Corner taken by Fabio Aurelio from the right by-line, Close range headed effort by Martin Skrtel clears the crossbar.
    • 68:31 Iulian Apostol sends in a cross.
    • 68:23 Centre by Pablo Brandan, Daniel Agger makes a clearance.
    • 67:46 Direct free kick taken by Pablo Brandan.
    • 67:46 Booking Javier Mascherano is cautioned.
    • 67:42 Javier Mascherano challenges Iulian Apostol unfairly and gives away a free kick.
    • 67:28 Dirk Kuyt produces a cross, clearance made by Joao Bruno Fernandes.
    • 63:21 Centre by Ryan Babel.
    • 61:19 Giedrius Arlauskis takes the direct free kick.
    • 61:19 Substitution Ryan Babel is brought on as a substitute for Albert Riera.
    • 61:19 Fabio Aurelio takes a shot. Save by Giedrius Arlauskis. Corner taken right-footed by Steven Gerrard, Martin Skrtel challenges Joao Bruno Fernandes unfairly and gives away a free kick.
    • 60:04 Razvan Paduretu produces a left-footed shot from just outside the penalty box that misses to the left of the goal.
    • 59:16 Foul by Jamie Carragher on Pablo Brandan, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Pablo Brandan.
    • 57:50 Steven Gerrard has an effort at goal from outside the area which goes wide right of the goal.
    • 57:18 Alberto Aquilani takes the direct free kick.
    • 57:18 Booking The referee shows Pablo Brandan a yellow card.
    • 57:14 Pablo Brandan challenges Steven Gerrard unfairly and gives away a free kick.
    • 53:22 Corner taken by Sorin Frunza from the right by-line to the near post, Fabio Aurelio makes a clearance.
    • 52:05 Unfair challenge on Iulian Apostol by Alberto Aquilani results in a free kick. George Galamaz restarts play with the free kick.
    • 51:09 The ball is crossed by Jamie Carragher, Headed effort on goal by Steven Gerrard from inside the penalty box misses to the right of the goal.
    • 49:12 Alberto Aquilani gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Iulian Apostol. George Galamaz takes the direct free kick.
    • 47:02 Centre by Jamie Carragher, clearance made by Marius Onofras.
    • 46:20 Steven Gerrard delivers the ball in from the corner, clearance by Marius Bilasco. Steven Gerrard delivers the ball.
    • 46:16 The ball is crossed by Fabio Aurelio, George Galamaz manages to make a clearance.
    • 45:01 The second half begins.
    • Half Time
    • 45:00+2:10 It is the end of the first-half.
    • 44:19 Albert Riera gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Razvan Paduretu. George Galamaz takes the direct free kick.
    • 43:15 Centre by Iulian Apostol, free kick awarded for a foul by George Galamaz on Jose Reina. Free kick taken by Jose Reina.
    • 42:36 Free kick awarded for a foul by Martin Skrtel on Marius Bilasco. Pablo Brandan crosses the ball from the free kick left-footed from right wing, clearance made by Jamie Carragher.
    • 41:38 Handball by Steven Gerrard. Giedrius Arlauskis takes the free kick.
    • 40:47 Daniel Agger takes a shot.
    • 40:01 Steven Gerrard restarts play with the free kick.
    • 40:01 Booking Joao Bruno Fernandes shown a yellow card.
    • 39:56 Joao Bruno Fernandes concedes a free kick for a foul on Steven Gerrard.
    • 38:27 The ball is delivered by Alberto Aquilani, Joao Bruno Fernandes makes a clearance.
    • 36:21 David Ngog takes a shot. George Galamaz gets a block in. Albert Riera decides to take a short corner. Fabio Aurelio delivers the ball.
    • 35:40 Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Fabio Aurelio from the left by-line, Joao Bruno Fernandes makes a clearance.
    • 35:07 Centre by Albert Riera, clearance made by Vasile Maftei. Corner taken right-footed by Steven Gerrard from the right by-line to the near post, save by Giedrius Arlauskis. Javier Mascherano takes a shot. Blocked by Razvan Paduretu.
    • 34:12 Albert Riera takes a shot. Blocked by Iulian Apostol. Corner taken by Albert Riera, clearance made by Ion Sorin Paraschiv.
    • 33:39 Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Albert Riera, save by Giedrius Arlauskis.
    • 33:23 Jamie Carragher takes a shot. Iulian Apostol gets a block in.
    • 32:01 Marius Onofras takes a shot. Jose Reina makes a comfortable save.
    • 30:32 A cross is delivered by Fabio Aurelio.
    • 29:46 Marius Bilasco gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Daniel Agger. Jose Reina restarts play with the free kick.
    • 28:35 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Pablo Brandan by David Ngog. Joao Bruno Fernandes takes the free kick.
    • 26:02 Albert Riera takes a shot. Blocked by George Galamaz. Corner taken by Albert Riera played to the near post, free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Marius Bilasco by David Ngog. Giedrius Arlauskis takes the direct free kick.
    • 24:28 Foul by Javier Mascherano on Iulian Apostol, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Pablo Brandan.
    • 23:33 Javier Mascherano gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Vasile Maftei. Direct strike on goal from the free kick comes in from Sorin Frunza, Jose Reina makes a comfortable save.
    • 21:17 Inswinging corner taken by Steven Gerrard from the left by-line, clearance by Pablo Brandan. Corner taken by Albert Riera from the right by-line, Joao Bruno Fernandes manages to make a clearance.
    • 19:22 David Ngog is ruled offside. Giedrius Arlauskis takes the indirect free kick.
    • 18:10 The ball is delivered by Albert Riera, Headed effort from inside the area by Steven Gerrard misses to the right of the target.
    • 13:25 Free kick awarded for a foul by Iulian Apostol on Javier Mascherano. Direct strike on goal from the free kick comes in from Fabio Aurelio.
    • 13:16 A cross is delivered by Dirk Kuyt, Joao Bruno Fernandes makes a clearance.
    • 11:30 The ball is swung over by Albert Riera.
    • 10:47 Dirk Kuyt sends in a cross, Razvan Paduretu manages to make a clearance.
    • 10:08 Dirk Kuyt takes a shot. Giedrius Arlauskis makes a save. Corner taken by Steven Gerrard from the left by-line, save by Giedrius Arlauskis.
    • 8:57 Unfair challenge on Dirk Kuyt by Iulian Apostol results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Alberto Aquilani.
    • 6:14 Marius Bilasco fouled by Martin Skrtel, the ref awards a free kick. Iulian Apostol restarts play with the free kick.
    • 0:26 Steven Gerrard takes a shot. Giedrius Arlauskis makes a save. Corner from the left by-line taken by Steven Gerrard, Giedrius Arlauskis makes a save.
    • 0:00 The referee starts the match.

    Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



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    Europa League results

    18 Feb 2010 23:59 UK

    • Ajax1-2Juventus
      R
    • Athletic Bilbao1-1Anderlecht
      R
    • Atletico Madrid1-1Galatasaray
      R
    • Club Brugge1-0Valencia
      R
    • FC Copenhagen1-3Marseille
      R
    • FC Twente1-0Werder Bremen
      R
    • Fulham2-1S. Donetsk
      R
    • Hamburg1-0PSV
      R
    • Hertha Berlin1-1Benfica
      R
    • Lille2-1Fenerbahce
      R
    • Liverpool1-0Unirea Urziceni
      R
    • Panathinaikos3-2Roma
      R
    • Rubin Kazan3-0Hapoel Tel-Aviv
      R
    • Standard Liege3-2SV Salzburg
      R
    • Villarreal2-2Wolfsburg
      R

    see also
    Thursday football as it happened
    18 Feb 10 |  Football
    Thursday's football photos
    18 Feb 10 |  Football


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