Several of the bigger clubs involved in UEFA Cup ties were taking to the wire by their supposedly lesser opponents, and for England’s Chelseaand Italy’s Chievo, there were humiliating first round exits from the competition.
Chelsea went down 4-2 to lose 5-4 on aggregate to Viking Stavanger, for whom Erik Nevland struck twice including the late winner three minutes from time. Earlier, Chelsea had come back from 2-0 down level the scores and lead 4-3 aggregate before Nevland took over.
Meanwhile, Chievo’s first European adventure came to an abrupt end when they lost 2-0 at home to former European champions Red Star Belgrade. After the first leg in Yugoslavia ended in a scoreless draw, second half goals from Ivan Gvozdenovic and Dejan Milovanovic were ennough to send the Yugoslav teamm through to the next round.
Italy’s other representative Lazio and Parma are through to the next round although neither side shone last night. Lazio were held to a 0-0 draw by Greek side Xanthi while Parma were relieved to beat 3-2 CSKA to emerge 4-3 winners on agggregate.
Elsewhere, there were narrow wins for Leeds, Blackburn, Fulham and Ipswich although none of the English quartet produced convincing performances. Leeds were held 1-1 by Metalurg Zaporizhzhya to scrape through 2-1 on aggregate and it could have been much worse for Terry Venables’ side had Nicky Barmby not levelled the scores on 77 minutes.
Blackburn Rovers made hard work of overcoming CSKA Sofia. Graeme Souness’ side raced into a three goal lead early in the second half but the Bulgarian side fought back to level the scores on the night and on aggregate, but were unable to add a fourth and Blackburn sneaked through on the away goals rule.
Fulham were held to a 2-2 draw by Hajduk Split to secure a narrow 3-2 aggregate win, but with Jean Tigana’s menfalling behind twice on the night, the result was in doubt until the final whistle. The Croatian side even had a chance to win the tie in the final minute but Mato Neretjak’s goal-bound header was cleared off the line by substitute Junichi Inamoto.
Germany’s Werder Bremen thashed Metalurg Donetsk of the Ukraine 8-0 to complete a 10-2 aggregate victory and fellow Bundeslliga side Schalke 04 cruised through 8-1 on aggregate against Gomel of Belarus.
Spain’s Real Betis overcame Zimbru 2-1 to complete a 4-1 aggregate win while Celta Vigo were happy to hang on to a 2-1 aggregate win over OB, after going down to a 1-0 defeat to the Danish side. Spain’s other representatioves Malaga scraped past Zeljeznicar to earn a 1-0 aggregate victory.