Home Success in the UEFA Cup

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Six of the eight home teams won their matches in the first leg of the UEFA Cup’s Round of 16 yesterday. The other two drew.

Galatasaray probably have the most to be proud of as they survived playing a man down for most of the second half to earn a 1-1 draw against Hamburg at the AOL Arena. Ayhan Akman scored for the Turks in the 32nd minute but was answered by Marcell Jansen just after halftime. With the away goal in hand, Galatasaray will be favored to emerge when they return to Turkey for the second leg.

At the NSK Olimpiyskiy in Kiev, Dynamo‘s Ognjen Vukojevic powered the home side to a 1-0 victory over Metalist with his 54th minute strike.

Manchester City did well in a 2-0 victory over Aalborg at Eastlands. Felipe Caicedo and Shaun Wright-Phillips both tallied goals in the first half-hour to send City to a nice lead against the Danes, down from the Champions League. Without having given up an away goal, City will certainly be the favorite in the return leg. Though they are one of the worst away clubs in England. We’ll see if that translates into Europe as well.

Vagner Love scored yet another goal for CSKA Moscow on a penalty in the 50th minute against Shakhtar Donetsk at the Luzhniki Stadion. It was just enough to see the Muscovites through in a hard-fought 1-0 win.

Braga also gave a good account of themselves in a nil-nil draw at the Parc des Princes in Paris. But PSG, having earned a clean sheet of their own, will be able to advance via away goals if it comes to that in the return leg in Portugal.

Naldo scored in the 20th minute to keep Werder Bremen‘s European momentum after their amazing upset of AC Milan in the last round. 1-0 was enough to fend off St. Etienne at the Weserstadion and give the Germans a nice advantage going to France for the second leg.

A scoreless game through 85 minutes ended with Udinese a surprise winner over holders Zenit, 2-0. Fabio Quagliarella and Antonio Di Natale (on penalty) each scored in the final five minutes of play to give the Italian side an important victory at the Friuli in Udine. Zenit will have a lot to overcome when they return to St. Petersburg.

Finally, Olympique Marseille did enough to earn a 2-1 victory at the Stade Velodrome against ten-man Ajax. Benoit Cheyrou and Mamadou Niang scored early for the home side before Suarez pulled one back on penalty for the Dutch giants. But Gregory Van der Wiel’s second yellow card in four minutes reduced the Joden to ten men for the remainder of the match. The away goal will be helpful upon returning to Amsterdam though.

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