Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Jermaine Pennant saw red as Liverpool's Champions League Group A campaign began with a hard fought draw in Portugal.
The Reds were forced to play the majority of the second half with ten men after the winger was dismissed for a second bookable offence on 57 minutes. But Rafael Benitez's men hung on to secure what, in the circumstances, is a solid point. Liverpool had gone in at the break level after Dirk Kuyt's close range header on 17 minutes cancelled out Lucho Gonzalez's early penalty. The Reds made a shaky start and were lucky not to fall behind after just two minutes when Steve Finnan's attempted clearance was deflected into the path of Lisandro but his effort was well blocked by the advancing Pepe Reina. The dangerous Quaresma then took advantage of a weak headed clearance from Sami Hyypia to flash a volley just over the bar. The warning signs were there for Liverpool but they did not take heed and on eight minutes Sektioui exposed Hyypia for pace before falling under the challenge of Pepe Reina. Referee Luchos Michel pointed to the spot and as Reina dived to his right Lucho Gonzalez calmly clipped the ball down the middle. The Reds needed a quick reaction and they got one just after quarter of an hour. Steve Finnan's free-kick was guided back across goal by Sami Hyypia giving Dirk Kuyt the chance to nod Liverpool level and notch his third goal of the season. The remainder of the first-half saw both sides play an open style of football but neither came close to adding to the scoreline. The Reds began the second period with renewed impetus but that all changed on 57 minutes when Jermaine Pennant received the first red card of his Liverpool career. The winger had been booked for an ill-timed challenge on Quaresma on 25 minutes and was given his marching orders just before the hour mark for a needless foul on Fucile. But despite playing the best part of half an hour a man short Liverpool stood firm and although Sami Hyypia was forced to clear a Quaresma effort off the line on 60 minutes, the hosts created very few opportunities despite their possession.
Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Hyypia, Carragher, Finnan, Babel, Gerrard (captain), Mascherano, Pennant, Torres, Kuyt. Subs - Crouch, Itandje, Aurelio, Leiva, Voronin, Agger, Benayoun

FC Porto: , Fucile, Alves, Paulo, Bosingwa, Quaresma, Meireles, Assuncao, (captain), Lopez, Sektioui. Subs - Stepanov, Bolatti, Kazmierczak, , Farias, Cech, Gonzalez Referee: Lubos Michel Conditions: Mild

No comments: