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Page last updated at 19:51 GMT, Thursday, 25 February 2010

Unirea Urziceni   1 - 3   Liverpool (agg 1 - 4)

Javier Mascherano celebrates his goal
Mascherano's brilliant strike was only his second goal in three years at Liverpool

By Harry Reekie

Liverpool eased into the last 16 of the Europa League and maintained hopes of silverware this season with a simple win against Unirea Urziceni in Romania.

Woeful defending allowed Joao Bruno Fernandes to head the hosts in front early on but Javier Mascherano equalised with a fine long-range drive.

Ryan Babel controlled and fired home a terrific second before Steven Gerrard's shot squirmed under Giedrius Arlauskis.

The Reds will now face Lille in the next round after they beat Fenerbahce.

It was hardly a vintage Liverpool display but manager Rafael Benitez will not care a jot, with victory the only objective in a competition representing their only realistic chance of a trophy this season.

On the same day 12 months ago, a Yossi Benayoun goal saw the Reds claim a famous away win in the Champions League against Real Madrid.

606: DEBATE
HonestLivpool

But while this triumph will not live as long in the memory, it was arguably just as important as Liverpool look to salvage something from a disappointing campaign.

In truth, Unirea looked a shadow of the side that destroyed Rangers 4-1 at Ibrox earlier in the season but did trouble their more esteemed visitors from set-pieces throughout.

The Reds' zonal marking system looked all at sea once more and it was no surprise that a failure to pick players up was directly responsible for Unirea's opening goal.

Fernandes was allowed to stroll into the box without a care in the world and, direct from a Razvan Paduretu corner, the big defender powered a header past Pepe Reina to level the tie at 1-1 on aggregate.

It was a supreme example of how not to defend a cross, and little more than the hosts deserved after a bright start.

Liverpool looked devoid of ideas early on but quickly drew level through Mascherano's excellent goal.

Confusion in the Unirea area saw a half-clearance dribble to the Argentine midfielder 25 yards out and a powerful strike flew into the back of the net.

Paduretu continued to impress for the hosts, despite the setback, and tested Reina to the full with a long-range drive shortly after.

Joao Bruno Fernandes scores
Dreadful Liverpool defending allowed Fernandes to head Unirea in front

But the visitors effectively secured their passage to the next round with Babel's fine strike just before half-time.

A free-kick from Gerrard curled in from the right and the Dutch winger demonstrated deft technique to pull the ball down in an instant, swivel and fire home.

Unirea started brightly again after the break but their already bleak hopes were dashed when Gerrard slotted in Liverpool's third.

Benayoun jinked his way into the area and dragged a scuffed pass to his captain, and the England midfielder duly took advantage with a low finish.

Liverpool reduced the match to a training ground exercise for long periods thereafter, but Benitez's hopes of an injury-free night were ended when defender Martin Skrtel was stretchered off after injuring his foot in a challenge with Antonio Semedo.

The loss hardly affected the Reds, although they were indebted to Reina for a point-blank save from Marius Bilasco late on.

Benitez will travel back to England more satisfied than inspired but if his side are to avoid playing in the same competition next season, the Spaniard will know further victories in the Premier League against Blackburn on Sunday and Wigan a week on Monday are equally essential.

Live text and stats

 

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Europa League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
U Urziceni 1-3 Liverpool FT
(HT 1-2)(agg 1-4)
  • Bruno Fernandes 18
  • Mascherano 29
  • Babel 40
  • Gerrard 57

Unirea Urziceni

  • 01 Arlauskis yellow card
  • 06 Galamaz (Mehmedovic 27)
  • 22 Bruno Fernandes yellow card
  • 23 Bordeanu
  • 24 Maftei
  • 08 Paraschiv (Vilana 56)
  • 10 Paduretu
  • 30 Frunza
  • 32 Apostol
  • 07 Bilasco
  • 25 Onofras yellow card (Semedo 62)

Substitutes

  • 74 Tudor,
  • 04 Mehmedovic,
  • 16 Nicu,
  • 18 Vilana,
  • 20 Marinescu,
  • 14 Rusescu,
  • 17 Semedo

Liverpool

Substitutes

Ref: JohannessonAtt: 25,000
U URZICENI
LIVERPOOL

Possession

  • U Urziceni 36%
  • Liverpool 64%

Attempts on target

  • U Urziceni 3
  • Liverpool 8

Attempts off target

  • U Urziceni 5
  • Liverpool 1

Corners

  • U Urziceni 8
  • Liverpool 5

Fouls

  • U Urziceni 8
  • Liverpool 17
  • Final Result
  • 90:00+2:45 Inswinging corner taken by Fabio Aurelio.
  • 90:00+2:35 Leiva Lucas takes a shot. Save by Giedrius Arlauskis.
  • Full Time
  • 90:00+1:21 The referee blows his whistle to end the game.
  • 90:00+0:09 Outswinging corner taken by Leiva Lucas from the right by-line.
  • 88:47 Steven Gerrard takes a shot. Save by Giedrius Arlauskis.
  • 85:37 The ball is delivered by Razvan Paduretu, Marius Bilasco takes a shot. Save by Jose Reina. Sorin Frunza takes a inswinging corner.
  • Correction - 80:04 Daniel Agger fouled by Marius Bilasco, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Jose Reina.
  • 80:04 Marius Bilasco concedes a free kick for a foul on Daniel Agger. Daniel Agger takes the free kick.
  • 78:59 Fabio Aurelio gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Antonio Semedo. Iulian Apostol delivers the ball from the free kick right-footed from right wing.
  • 78:04 Free kick awarded for a foul by Ryan Babel on Sorin Frunza. Valeriu Ionut Bordeanu restarts play with the free kick.
  • 77:05 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Iulian Apostol by Fabio Aurelio. The free kick is swung in right-footed by Razvan Paduretu, clearance made by Javier Mascherano.
  • 76:49 Substitution Fabio Aurelio on for Yossi Benayoun.
  • 75:28 Foul by Steven Gerrard on Joao Bruno Fernandes, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Ersin Mehmedovic.
  • 73:42 Free kick awarded for a foul by Emiliano Insua on Antonio Semedo. Sorin Frunza crosses the ball in from the free kick, save by Jose Reina.
  • 69:10 Emiliano Insua challenges Iulian Apostol unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick crossed by Iulian Apostol.
  • 67:29 Free kick awarded for a foul by Sotirios Kyrgiakos on Marius Bilasco. Free kick taken by Iulian Apostol.
  • 66:55 Vasile Maftei produces a right-footed shot from just outside the area that goes wide left of the goal.
  • 65:31 Substitution Sotirios Kyrgiakos is brought on as a substitute for Martin Skrtel.
  • 62:39 Razvan Paduretu is caught offside. Direct free kick taken by Daniel Agger.
  • 61:21 Substitution Antonio Semedo joins the action as a substitute, replacing Marius Onofras.
  • 60:43 Substitution Martin Kelly on for Jamie Carragher.
  • 60:43 Booking Javier Mascherano is cautioned by the ref for unsporting behaviour.
  • 60:02 Unfair challenge on Iulian Apostol by Javier Mascherano results in a free kick. Sorin Frunza takes the free kick.
  • 59:02 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Joao Bruno Fernandes by David Ngog. Free kick taken by Joao Bruno Fernandes.
  • 56:30 Yossi Benayoun provided the assist for the goal.
  • 56:30 GOAL - Steven GerrardUnirea Urziceni 1 - 3 Liverpool Steven Gerrard fires in a goal from inside the box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Unirea Urziceni 1 (1)-(4) 3 Liverpool.
  • 55:04 Substitution Ion Sorin Paraschiv goes off and Ricardo Vilana comes on.
  • 53:54 Corner taken right-footed by Steven Gerrard from the right by-line, Giedrius Arlauskis makes a save.
  • 53:28 Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Steven Gerrard from the right by-line.
  • 53:09 Booking Giedrius Arlauskis booked for dissent.
  • 52:46 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Yossi Benayoun from the right by-line.
  • 51:28 The referee gives a free kick against Ion Sorin Paraschiv for handball. Strike comes in from Steven Gerrard from the free kick, save made by Giedrius Arlauskis.
  • 50:07 Effort from the edge of the area by Steven Gerrard goes wide of the left-hand post.
  • 48:05 Shot from inside the six-yard box by Iulian Apostol goes wide right of the goal.
  • 45:01 The referee starts the second half.
  • Half Time
  • 45:00+2:17 The referee calls an end to the first half.
  • 45:00+2:00 Marius Onofras produces a right-footed shot from the edge of the area and misses to the left of the target.
  • 45:00+1:15 Free kick awarded for a foul by Jamie Carragher on Sorin Frunza. Free kick crossed right-footed by Razvan Paduretu from left wing.
  • 39:53 GOAL - Ryan BabelUnirea Urziceni 1 - 2 Liverpool Goal scored by Ryan Babel from close range to the bottom left corner of the goal. Unirea Urziceni 1 (1)-(3) 2 Liverpool.
  • 39:17 Foul by Joao Bruno Fernandes on David Ngog, free kick awarded. The ball is sent over by Steven Gerrard,
  • 37:32 Corner taken by Sorin Frunza played to the near post, clearance made by Yossi Benayoun.
  • 37:08 Razvan Paduretu takes the inswinging corner, save made by Jose Reina.
  • 36:52 Razvan Paduretu takes a shot. Fantastic save by Jose Reina.
  • 36:01 Corner from right by-line taken by Sorin Frunza.
  • 35:16 Corner taken by Sorin Frunza.
  • 33:54 The ball is swung over by Emiliano Insua, clearance made by Valeriu Ionut Bordeanu.
  • 30:58 Steven Gerrard takes a shot. Save by Giedrius Arlauskis.
  • 30:13 Steven Gerrard crosses the ball in from the free kick.
  • 30:13 Booking Joao Bruno Fernandes receives a caution.
  • 29:59 Unfair challenge on David Ngog by Joao Bruno Fernandes results in a free kick.
  • 29:00 GOAL - Javier MascheranoUnirea Urziceni 1 - 1 Liverpool Javier Mascherano grabs a goal from outside the penalty box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Unirea Urziceni 1 (1)-(2) 1 Liverpool.
  • 28:50 The ball is crossed by Jamie Carragher.
  • 27:41 The free kick is swung in right-footed by Steven Gerrard.
  • 27:41 Booking Marius Onofras booked.
  • 27:27 Marius Onofras challenges Ryan Babel unfairly and gives away a free kick.
  • 27:06 Unfair challenge on Leiva Lucas by Iulian Apostol results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Javier Mascherano.
  • Correction - 25:46 David Ngog concedes a free kick for a foul on Valeriu Ionut Bordeanu. Valeriu Ionut Bordeanu restarts play with the free kick.
  • 25:46 Substitution Ersin Mehmedovic comes on in place of George Galamaz.
  • 25:46 David Ngog gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Valeriu Ionut Bordeanu. Valeriu Ionut Bordeanu restarts play with the free kick.
  • 23:10 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Martin Skrtel by George Galamaz. The free kick is swung in right-footed by Steven Gerrard.
  • 22:26 Unfair challenge on David Ngog by Joao Bruno Fernandes results in a free kick. Free kick crossed right-footed by Steven Gerrard from right wing, Giedrius Arlauskis makes a save.
  • 19:53 Free kick taken by George Galamaz.
  • 19:53 Booking Ryan Babel receives a yellow card.
  • 19:37 Ryan Babel concedes a free kick for a foul on Vasile Maftei.
  • 17:58 Assist on the goal came from Sorin Frunza.
  • 17:58 GOAL - Joao Bruno FernandesUnirea Urziceni 1 - 0 Liverpool Joao Bruno Fernandes scores a headed goal from close range. Unirea Urziceni 1 (1)-(1) 0 Liverpool.
  • 17:39 Corner taken by Sorin Frunza from the left by-line,
  • 17:13 Yossi Benayoun gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Marius Bilasco. Direct free kick taken by Sorin Frunza.
  • 13:20 Marius Bilasco fouled by Martin Skrtel, the ref awards a free kick. Valeriu Ionut Bordeanu restarts play with the free kick.
  • 11:35 Unfair challenge on Steven Gerrard by Valeriu Ionut Bordeanu results in a free kick. Jamie Carragher takes the direct free kick.
  • 9:59 Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Sorin Frunza, Martin Skrtel manages to make a clearance.
  • 9:19 Foul by Ryan Babel on Joao Bruno Fernandes, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Giedrius Arlauskis.
  • 4:56 Sorin Frunza takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line to the near post, Shot from inside the six-yard box by Joao Bruno Fernandes goes wide right of the goal.
  • 4:15 Unfair challenge on Joao Bruno Fernandes by David Ngog results in a free kick. Joao Bruno Fernandes takes the direct free kick.
  • 2:57 Steven Gerrard takes a shot. Giedrius Arlauskis makes a save.
  • 1:30 Sorin Frunza produces a left-footed shot from just outside the area that goes harmlessly over the target.
  • 0:54 Foul by Martin Skrtel on Sorin Frunza, free kick awarded. Free kick crossed right-footed by Iulian Apostol from left channel, clearance by Jamie Carragher.
  • 0:00 The ref blows the whistle to start the match.

Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



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Europa League results

25 Feb 2010 23:59 UK

  • Anderlecht4-0Athletic Bilbao
    R (agg 5-1)
  • Fenerbahce1-1Lille
    R (agg 2-3)
  • Galatasaray1-2Atletico Madrid
    R (agg 2-3)
  • Hapoel Tel-Aviv0-0Rubin Kazan
    R (agg 0-3)
  • Juventus0-0Ajax
    R (agg 2-1)
  • Marseille3-1FC Copenhagen
    R (agg 6-2)
  • PSV3-2Hamburg
    R (agg 3-3)
  • Roma2-3Panathinaikos
    R (agg 4-6)
  • S. Donetsk1-1FulhamR (agg 2-3)
  • Sporting3-0EvertonR (agg 4-2)
  • SV Salzburg0-0Standard Liege
    R (agg 2-3)
  • Unirea Urziceni1-3LiverpoolR (agg 1-4)
  • Valencia3-0Club Brugge
    R (agg 3-1) After Extra Time
  • Werder Bremen4-1FC Twente
    R (agg 4-2)
  • Wolfsburg4-1Villarreal
    R (agg 6-3)

see also
Thursday's action as it happened
25 Feb 10 |  Football
Europa League review
25 Feb 10 |  Europe
Liverpool 1-0 Unirea Urziceni
18 Feb 10 |  Europe
Skrtel sidelined for eight weeks
01 Mar 10 |  Liverpool


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