Thursday, August 26, 2010

Trabzonspor 1 - 2 Liverpool (agg 1 - 3)

Liverpool secured their place in the group stages of the Europa League courtesy of a win at Trabzonspor.
The Turkish side drew level 1-1 on aggregate when Teofilo Gutierrez slotted in from a Gustavo Colman shot.
David Ngog headed wide from six yards for the Reds but they got a crucial away goal when Giray Kacar put a Glen Johnson cross into his own net.
Dirk Kuyt completed the win when he slotted in after Daniel Pacheco's shot had been parried into his path.
Liverpool's goals came late on in the match as they eventually showed the character to negotiate their way past some awkward opponents.
Trabzonspor had beaten the Reds 1-0 the the first leg of a European Cup tie in the 1976/77 season before the Anfield side overturned the deficit to win the second round tie.
And Liverpool knew it would be a tough task to dispose of the Turkish side who were last beaten at home in December 2009 and had since won eight out of nine at their Huseyin Avni Aker stadium.
A banner in the crowd also read: 'You're Alone Here' as it played on Liverpool's famous You'll Never Walk Alone anthem, with the Trabzonspor crowd giving the Reds the type of hostile welcome Turkish clubs have become renowned for giving opposing teams in Europe.
However, while the Reds were a vastly different side from the one beaten by Manchester City on Monday, they started off displaying the same lethargy and lacklustre qualities.
It appeared the visitors were lacking the appetite for the Europa League with Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson having left most of his leading players in England after stating the Premier League was this season's priority.
And Liverpool quickly had their lead from the first leg cancelled out as Kuyt was dispossessed by Colman, whose attempted shot across goal was sidefooted in by Gutierrez.
Ibrahima Yattara wasted a chance to put Trabzonspor in front as the Reds failed to deal with a free-kick but the striker headed wide from close range.
Liverpool slowly started to work their way into the game and should have scored when the previously anonymous Joe Cole dinked a lovely cross to the far post where Ngog nodded the ball wide from six yards.
It was a glaring miss which the Frenchman almost atoned for as he turned and jinked his way to the edge of the box only to shoot just wide.
Liverpool were now showing a steel and determination that was missing in the first half and were duly rewarded when Johnson cut inside on the right and delivered a cross to the near post which Kacar diverted into his own net.
That left Trabzonspor needing two goals to turn the tie around and, in their efforts to perform an unlikely comeback, they left themselves in a vulnerable position.
Liverpool took advantage as Pacheco's shot was palmed into Kuyt's path by keeper Onur Kivrak and the Dutch striker gratefully applied the finishing touch to put Liverpool in the draw for the Europa League group stages on Friday.

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