|Thursday 14 September 2000 19:00
UEFA Cup 1st Round 1st Leg
||0 - 1
|| Barmby 29
|Team: 1. Razvan
Lucescu, 21. Dorel Mutica, 2. Nicolae Stanciu, 23. Mihai Adrian Iencsi, 4. Cornel
Frasineanu, 10. Daniel Iftodi, 25. Daniel Isaila, 17. Marius Maldarasanu, 7. Cornel Buta,
16. Nicolae Constantin, 19. Daniel Pancu..
Subs: 12. Florin Radulescu, 5. Daniel Chirita, 6. Florin Constantinovici,
18. Zeno Bundea, 13. Mihai Buga, 20. Constantin Schumacher, 11. Sergiu Marian Radu.
||Team: 1. Sander
Westerveld, 23. Jamie Carragher (c), 2. Stephane Henchoz, 6. Markus Babbel, 3. Christian
Ziege, 4. Rigobert Song, 20. Nick Barmby, 24. Bernard Diomede, 16. Dietmar Hamann, 10.
Michael Owen, 8. Emile Heskey.
Subs: 19. Pegguy Arphexad, 14. Vegard Heggem, 31. Frode Kippe, 30. Djimi
Traore, 13. Danny Murphy, 18. Erik Meijer, 9. Robbie Fowler.
| Buta (Schumacher 46), Constantin
(Radu 60), Iftodi (Buga 73)
|| Heskey (Murphy 34), Owen (Fowler 80),
Ziege (Traore 84)
|OFFICIALS & BOOKINGS
| Booked: Lucescu 74, Schumacher 82
|| Booked: Henchoz
|Stadionul Giulesti (capacity )
||Anghel Iordanescu (Rapid B)
Gerard Houllier (Liverpool)
Diomede makes his LFC debut
- Nick Barmby
scores his first goal for LFC
Rapid livewire Frasinenu shot over
the bar before the break and Iftodi saw his 25-yard free-kick blocked by the wall after
Stephane Henchoz was adjudged to have brought down Pancu, who himself blazed over from the
Rapid coach Anghel Iordanescu had to change things around if his side were to claw
their way back in the second half and he brought on Schumacher for Buta immediately after
the interval ?but it was Liverpool who came closer to making an impact.
Owen had a chance to wrap up the tie seven minutes after the break. Barmby was this
time the provider but the striker saw his weak effort easily stopped by the relieved
Rapid went in search of the equaliser but, despite moments of enterprising play,
their finishing and general showing in the last third was poor.
A fine crossfield ball from the excellent Dietmar Hamann picked out Barmby in space
on the right. He chipped into the box but Murphy's first-time shot was denied by the
keeper's outstretched right hand.
At the other end, Babbel was called on to make a desperate near-post clearance but
it was the Rapid goal living the more charmed life.
And on 68 minutes Owen fluffed the easiest of chances. Diomede fizzed in a
delightful cross to the in-form striker and he looked odds on favourite to finish from
three yards but unbelievably failed to make proper contact.
Rapid brought on Buga and Radu but it was the sight of Robbie Fowler being drafted
into the action eight minutes from time that was of most significance to the travelling
band of Reds fans.
It was Fowler's first outing since he limped off in a pre-season clash with
Glentoran in Belfast. He didn't have much opportunity to show his true form as he makes
his way back to full fitness.
Liverpool know they must be alert when Rapid visit Anfield for the second leg but,
in the final analysis, Barmby's away goal should prove too much for the Romanians to
overcome. Houllier's side could have scored more but victory away from home even with a
makeshift defence and several injuries ?is pleasing enough.
So, it's not time to think Liverpool's European glory days are back.
Not yet, but at least this is a start.
LIVERPOOL'S England stars at last decided that it was time to start getting their
own back on the Romanians.
Twice in recent years Romania have blighted English soccer by knocking them out of
international events ?the most recent being this summer's European Championships.
And two of those England players who suffered most in the Low Countries Michael
Owen and Nicky Barmby ?constructed the goal that gave Liverpool's latest European
adventure the right kick-start at the tight little Rapid Stadium.
Owen, who scored and lost in both those two England disasters, set off on a
stunning first half run to beat three men and set up Barmby who also played in that Euro
2000 defeat ?to crash home the fine first-half goal which separated the sides.
Gerard Houllier's side did not play brilliantly but didn't have to against an
average Rapid side ?and should have scored a hatful after the break in this UEFA Cup
first-round first-leg clash.
But the fact that they were so complacent and wasteful at least keeps alive the
second leg at Anfield in a fortnight.
Liverpool's heroes were Owen ?who had an outstanding game up front despite missing
two glorious chances ?Barmby, for his running and industry, and Dietmar Hamann for a
combative game in midfield.
But in the end when the game should have been a stroll Liverpool found themselves
with their backs to the wall and hanging on for a victory they deserved and should have
had wrapped up long before the end.
Liverpool's injury-ravaged side included Christian Ziege and Bernard Diomede making
their first starts for the Anfield club who were finally back in European action after
embarrassingly failing to qualify last season.
This steamy night in Bucharest wasn't quite the Champions League that they crave
but it's a start on the long haul they face before they can be considered part of Europe's
elite again on current form rather than a glittering history.
Ziege's inclusion gave Liverpool plenty of attacking options but all too frequently
his roamings left massive gaps behind him and created far too many problems for his
Admittedly, he managed a string of dangerous crosses which gave both Emile Heskey
and Barmby headed chances that flashed wide.
But at the other end Rigobert Song had to hack away after Daniele Pancu had got
clear into Ziege's left-back spot while Sander Westerveld had to be smart to clutch
another cross, this time from Marius Maldarasanu.
But in all this defensive uncertainty Liverpool still looked more dangerous on the
break with Heskey and Owen working well as a partnership.
The tide was turning in Liverpool's direction when Barmby smashed a 20-yarder
against the angle of post and bar while Romania defenders were doing their best to kick
Heskey out of the fray.
One tackle by Dorel Mutica left the big England man limping and he was to be forced
out of the match after 35 minutes to be replaced by Danny Murphy.
But while Liverpool's bench were showing concern about Heskey his striking partner
Owen was creating the goal for Barmby after 29 minutes.
Owen took a pass from Ziege on half way and set off on one of those high-speed
trademark runs that took him past three bemused defenders into the heart of the Romanian
defence before coolly laying the ball across the box for Barmby to lash into the roof of
Liverpool had the chances early in the second half to finish off the Romanians.
On 52 minutes Murphy and Barmby combined neatly to put Owen clear in the box but
the sort of chance the little striker has been scoring with his eyes shut recently crept
away from him as he allowed Razvan Lucescu to smother his shot.
Ten minutes later a fine long ball from Hamann put Barmby away on the right and his
ball back for Murphy ended with a shot that Lucescu tipped on to the bar and over at full
Then Owen missed from just three yards when he failed to get a proper connection on
a Diomede cross after 65 minutes.
At this point Liverpool were cruising through the Romanian defence finding space
down both flanks ?and they wasted a big opportunity to bag a hatful of goals.
The amount of space that Barmby was being allowed on the right along with Owen's
intelligent front play presented Liverpool with the opportunity to stamp their authority
on the game.
That they squandered so much good position and possession meant they spent the
final minutes on a knife-edge protecting a slender lead that should have been so much
RAPID BUCHAREST: Lucescu, Stanciu, Frasineanu, Buta, Iftodi (Buga 73), Constantin
(Radu 60), Maldarasanu, Pancu, Mutica, Iencsi, Isaila, Buga (Schumacher 46). Subs:
Radulescu, Chirica, Constantinovicr, Bundea.
LIVERPOOL: Westerveld, Song, Henchoz, Babbel, Ziege
(Traore 84), Barmby, Carragher, Hamann, Diomede, Owen (Fowler 80), Heskey (Murphy 35).
Subs: Arphexad, Heggem, Meijer, Kippe.
REFEREE: N Volquartz (Denmark).
© Liverpool Daily Post & Echo