UEFA Cup: Middlesbrough reaches semifinals

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/f/football.jpg' class='caption'> Massimo Maccarone scored the deciding goal on Thursday to send Middlesbrough into the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup with a 4-1 victory over FC Basel.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:39 IST
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Massimo Maccarone scored the deciding goal in the 90th minute Thursday to send Middlesbrough into the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup with a 4-1 victory over FC Basel. The English team won the two-leg series 4-3 on aggregate. Maccarone, who came on for Franck Queudrue in the 67th minute, scored in the 90th. At the time, Fabio Rochemback's drive was saved by Basel goalkeeper Pascal Zuberbuehler and the Italian pounced on the rebound to score from a tight angle. Mark Viduka scored two goals and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink added the other for Middlesbrough, which will play Steaua Bucharest in the semifinals. Eduardo scored the lone goal for Basel, which finished with 10 men after defender Daniel Majstorovic was sent off in the 73rd for a second yellow card. "We said before the game it would take a monumental display to come through this,'' Middlesbrough manager Steve McClaren said. "It was a fantastic performance, full of character, grit, great football, opportunities. "This is an historic night and what a way to do it. There's no better way to win a game than how we just won that,'' added McClaren. He is reportedly a contender to take over as England coach when Sven-Goran Eriksson quits after this year's World Cup. Hitting back Middlesbrough went into the second leg of the quarterfinals needing to overcome a 2-0 deficit after Basel won the first leg at home. It didn't look promising for the hosts in the 23rd minute when Eduardo gave the visitors the lead. Mladen Petric's free kick found Boris Smiljanic, who headed the ball across goal for the Brazilian striker to score from close range. McClaren had teamed Aiyegbeni Yakubu and Viduka in attack and the move paid off when the Australian equalized for Middlesbrough in the 33rd. Yakubu won possession for Middlesbrough about 25 meters from goal and his through-ball found Viduka, who burst into the penalty area and sent a powerful shot through the hands of Basel goalkeeper Pascal Zuberbuehler. The Viduka-Yakubu combination struck again in the 57th minute. Yakubu, inside the Basel half, passed to Viduka, who beat an advancing Zuberbueler to slot the ball into the net. McClaren withdrew James Morrison after halftime and sent on Hasselbaink, who had a free kick saved by Zuberbuelher shortly after his introduction. But the Dutchman hit back in the 79th minute with a superb curling shot from the edge of the penalty area that sailed over the Basel goalkeeper and into the top corner. (AP)

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