Liverpool’s Euro campaign endangered by Lille
Friday 12, Mar 2010

LONDON (AP)—Five-time European champion Liverpool is in danger of Europa League elimination after losing 1-0 at Lille on Thursday in the away leg of Round of 16 series.

Eden Hazard scored from a freekick to give Lille the advantage against Liverpool, which is also struggling to qualify for any European competition next season due to its poor form in the Premier League.

“I have confidence we can beat anyone on a good day at Anfield. The fans will play a part, they will push and will be behind the team,” Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez said. “Lille are a good side, with good players and they are dangerous. We will play a difficult game at Anfield, but have confidence we can beat them.”

It was a better night for two-time European champion Juventus, Hamburg and Standard Liege which all posted 3-1 victories.

There were three 1-1 draws—between Benfica and Marseille, Valencia and Werder Bremen, and Rubin Kazan and Wolfsburg. Atletico Madrid was held to a 0-0 draw by nine-man Sporting.

Liverpool is already struggling to get used to life in Europe’s second-tier knockout competition and nearly survived without conceding a goal in France until Hazard beat goalkeeper Pepe Reina with a curling freekick from the left.

Lille could have added a second goal in the closing stages but substitute striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hit the post from close range with Reina beaten.

Liverpool’s fellow Premier League side, Fulham, also endured a miserable night. Goals from Nicola Legrottaglie, Jonathan Zebina and David Trezeguet gave Juventus a comfortable victory over Fulham, which reduced the deficit through Dickson Etuhu.

In Greece, Milan Jovanovic scored a goal and assisted another to help Belgian side Standard defeat Panathinaikos

Alex Witsel and Igor de Camargo scored Standard’s other goals, while Loukas Vyntra was on target for Panathinaikos, which beat AS Roma in the previous round.

At Hamburg, Joris Mathijsen, Ruud van Nistelrooy and David Jarolim all scored as the German side gained a decisive lead over Anderlecht.

“We have to play the next game with the same attitude,” Hamburg striker Ruud van Nistelrooy said. “We need to score an away goal and then it should be decided.”

In Madrid, Sporting held Atletico to a goalless draw despite having Leandro Grimi and Tonel sent off.

Substitute Hatem Ben Arfa headed home in the last minute to earn a 1-1 draw for Marseille at Benfica, canceling out Maxi Pereira’s 75th-minute opener.

Wolfsburg has the upper hand in its clash with Rubin Kazan after drawing in Russia. Zvjezdan Misimovic canceled out Cristian Noboa’s opener for the German side.

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