Home sides fared reasonably well in today’s return of UEFA Cup matches across the Continent. Below are the scores followed by details about several matches of note:
Zenit 2 – Stuttgart 1
Aston Villa 1 – CSKA Moscow 1
Dynamo Kiev 1 – Valencia 1
Olympiakos 1 – St. Etienne 3
Werder Bremen 1 – AC Milan 1
NEC Nijmegen 0 – Hamburg 3
Sampdoria 0 – Metalist Kharkiv 1
PSG 2 – Wolfsburg 0
Braga 3 – Standard Liege 0
Bordeaux 0 – Galatasaray 0
Aalborg 3 – Deportivo La Coruña 0
Holders Zenit began their defense with a nice 2-1 victory over VfB Stuttgart at the Petrovsky. This was the first European match without the services of last year’s hero and current Arsenal man Andrei Arshavin. In his stead, Szabolcs Huszti and Anatoliy Tymoschuk doubled Mario Gomez’s efforts for the Germans, giving Zenit a good start in the Round of 32.
John Alieu Carew saved Aston Villa at Villa Park with his 69th minute goal for a 1-1 draw with CSKA Moscow. UEFA Cup’s leading scorer Vagner Love opened the scoring for CSKA but it was not enough for a major win on English soil.
Diego countered Filippo Inzaghi at the Weserstadion giving Werder Bremen a strong home draw with AC Milan, 1-1. Diego’s late goal saved the shared points for the German side in a result that must be very pleasing in Bremen.
Meanwhile, Paris St.-Germain, Braga and Aalborg all but guaranteed their positions in the Round of 16 with 2- or 3-0 thrashings on their home turf. Not allowing any away goals and taking such sizable differential advantages should do the trick, especially considering their opponents are Wolfsburg, Standard Liege and Deportivo La Coruña, respectively.
Tomorrow Man City, Ajax, Marseille and Tottenham all take the pitch as well as one other match in the Round of 32.