Barcelona salvages draw at Juventus

Updated: 25 February 2007 08:48 IST

Javier Saviola struck late as FC Barcelona earned a 1-1 draw with Juventus on Wednesday in the first leg of a Champions Cup quarterfinal while Christian Vieri

Barcelona salvages draw at Juventus

Rome:

Javier Saviola struck late as FC Barcelona earned a 1-1 draw with Juventus on Wednesday in the first leg of a Champions Cup quarterfinal while Christian Vieri helped Inter Milan beat Valencia 1-0. In Turin, Barcelona stretched its unbeaten streak to 16 matches in the most prestigious European club competition. The 21-year-old Saviola scored on a quick counterattack in the 78th minute with a shot slightly deflected by Uruguayan defender Paolo Montero, who had put the home team in front with a first-half goal. "We made some decisive errors on Saviola's goal," Juventus midfielder GianLuca Zambrotta said. "We should not have allowed this goal, which could turn decisive in the second leg." Montero, a tough center half usually moving on attack on free and corner kicks, scored from an angled position in the 16th minute off a save by Barcelona's Argentine goalkeeper Roberto Bonano, who parried a bicycle kick by Alessandro Del Piero. Barcelona, which is out of contention for the title in the Spanish "Liga" but is coming off 13 wins and one draw in the Champions League, played an aggressive second half at the sold-out Delle Alpi Stadium. The Spanish team will take a useful away goal into the second-leg scheduled in Barcelona on April 22. The winner will meet either Real Madrid or Manchester United in the semifinals. Inter tops ValenciaIn Milan, Vieri continued his season-long scoring tear as both sides played the last 33 minutes with 10 men after Inter's Turkish midfielder Emre Belozoglu and Valencia midfielder David Albelda were expelled for bumping chests. In the 14th minute, Emre sent a cross from the left flank that Argentine striker Hernan Crespo deflected slightly toward Vieri, who banged the ball in with an authoritative header. While it was only Vieri's second goal in this season's Champions League, it was his 26th overall, including his league-leading 24 goals in Serie A. Valencia controlled the ball well, but struggled to produce scoring chances. In the 37th, Albelda's long, low shot was stopped by Inter goalkeeper Francesco Toldo. Two minutes after Emre and Albelda were sent off, Valencia's Francisco Rufete saw his attempt sail just wide. Cuper started Vieri alongside Crespo in attack, the first time Crespo played since severely injuring his thigh in January. Uruguayan striker Alvaro Recoba never left the bench after completing a three-match suspension from the competition for a hard foul. Crespo played 84 minutes before being replaced by defender Fabio Cannavaro. "He's still missing something," Inter coach Hector Cuper said. "But he did great work at taking the ball away tonight, really helped the defense." Wednesday's game was the second of three consecutive matches in seven days against top-caliber clubs for Inter, all at San Siro. "We didn't give up any goals and we played a good first half," Vieri said. "It's a good victory, we'll go (to Valencia) hoping for a good result." On Sunday night, Inter squandered a two-goal lead and drew 3-3 with AS Roma and on Saturday, Cuper's club faces AC Milan in the city's derby match. The return leg with Valencia is scheduled for April 22 in Spain. The winner will play Ajax or AC Milan in the semifinals. On Tuesday, Real Madrid beat Manchester United 3-1 while Ajax and AC Milan played out a 0-0 draw. (AP)



Topics : Football
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