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 Tuesday, October 29, 2002 18:16 EST

Leverkusen clinches berth in second group stage

[Reuters]

LONDON -- Bayern Munich, European champions just 17 months ago, crashed out of the Champions League on Tuesday when the club lost 2-1 at Deportivo Coruna, its fourth defeat in five first-phase matches.

The Germans, who have taken just one point from a possible 15, cannot even qualify for the UEFA Cup as the third placed team in Group G.

With just one match to play the team cannot catch third-placed Lens (7 points) or Deportivo (9) who are both looking to join group leaders AC Milan (12 points) in the second phase.

Victor put Deportivo ahead early in the second half resulting from a free-kick, and, although substitute Roque Santa Cruz headed an equalizer 13 minutes from time, one goal was never going to be enough for Bayern who had to win to keep its faint hopes alive.

The bitter end came a minute from time when Dutch striker Roy Makaay, who scored a hat trick when Deportivo won 3-2 in Munich in September, grabbed the winner with a stunning volley.

Milan lost its 100 percent record when it went down 2-1 at Lens, but had already assured its place in the last 16 after four straight wins last week.

Manchester United also lost its perfect record when a weakened side lost 3-0 to Maccabi Haifa in neutral Nicosia.

Despite its win, Haifa cannot finish higher than third in Group F because it has an inferior head-to-head record with Bayer Leverkusen who sealed second place with a 2-0 revenge win over Olympiakos Piraeus. The Greek side had beaten them 6-2 in the opening match.

Goals from Juan (14) and Bernd Schneider (90pen) gave the Germans victory. United have 12 points, Leverkusen 9, Haifa 6 and Olympiakos 3.

Haifa, for whom Yaniv Katan (40) and Raimondas Zutautas (56) scored blistering long-range goals, will at least go into the UEFA Cup if they avoid a four-goal defeat at Olympiakos in two weeks time.

Yakubu Ayegbeni (77pen) completed the rout as United lost in the Champions League proper for the first time in 17 matches.

Juventus ensured its place in the last 16 with a 2-0 home win over Feyenoord with two goals from Marco Di Vaio lifting the club on to 10 points in Group E. But the battle to join them is wide open following Newcastle United's 2-1 home win over Dynamo Kiev.

Juve will win the group if it avoids defeat by Dynamo in Kiev in two weeks time.

But Newcastle, looking dead and buried after three straight defeats, is alive again after a second successive win.

Goals from Gary Speed (58) and a 69th-minute Alan Shearer penalty gave the club a victory over a Kiev side who had gone ahead through Maksim Shatskin in the 47th minute.

Everything now hangs on its match against Feyenoord in Rotterdam while Kiev will qualify no matter what happens in the Netherlands if it beats Juve.

Barcelona, who qualified last week, was left with the only 100 percent record in the competition after a largely reserve side beat Club Bruges 1-0 with a second-half winner from Juan Riquelme.

But while Barca is out of sight on 15 points, Bruges (5 points), Galatsaray (4) and Lokomotiv Moscow (4) are all still chasing the second qualifying spot.

Lokomotiv scored a shock 2-1 win over Galatsaray in Istanbul where a prematch silence was held as a mark of respect to those who died in the Moscow Theater siege.

Late goals from Dmitry Loskov (71) and Vadim Yevseyev (76) edged it Lokomotiv's way with Hasan Sas (73) scoring for the home side.


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