| Wednesday, November 13, 2002 18:39 EST
Roma advances after draw with AEK Athens
LONDON -- Basel thrillingly became the
first Swiss side to reach the Champions League second phase on
Tuesday, while Inter Milan and AS Roma ensured that four Italian
teams qualified for the next stage for the first time.
Basel achieved the draw the club needed against Liverpool to
qualify from Group B but was hanging on desperately at St. Jakob
Park after the English side fought back from 3-0 down at
halftime to draw 3-3 in the game of the night.
Inter finished top of Group D after winning 2-1 at Ajax
Amsterdam, who nonetheless progressed as Olympique Lyon drew
its match against Rosenborg Trondheim 1-1.
Roma also went through in Group C after a 1-1 draw with
Greek visitors AEK Athens. Roma and Inter joined fellow Italian
clubs AC Milan and Juventus, who have already qualified.
With Valencia already assured of top spot -- a position the club
confirmed by beating Spartak Moscow 3-0 in Spain on Tuesday --
all the attention in Group B was on Basel's game against
The English side, needing a win to advance, went into the
match as favorites but within 29 minutes found themselves 3-0
down thanks to goals by Argentine duo Julio Hernan Rossi and
Christian Gimenez and a third by Timothee Atouba.
Each was crafted by the outstanding Hakan Yakin but
Christian Gross' side almost threw away qualification as
Liverpool surged back with goals by Danny Murphy, Vladimir
Smicer and Michael Owen in the second half.
The English premier league leaders had left themselves just
too much to do, though, and they finished third in the group, a
point behind Basel, and with only a place in the UEFA Cup third
round as consolation.
"Even when Liverpool fought back we did not doubt
ourselves," said Gross, formerly manager of another English
side, Tottenham Hotspur.
The only blight on a great night for the Swiss was the
arrest of several dozen supporters in scuffles both before and
after the game.
Group D was wide open going into Tuesday's game but
Argentine striker Hernan Crespo's two goals ensured Inter made
no mistake in Amsterdam.
The four-times former winners from the Netherlands still
pipped Lyon for second place on a better head-to-head record
after the French team failed to beat Rosenborg in Norway.
In Group C, holders Real Madrid, who had already qualified,
was fortunate to sneak top spot and a seeded berth in Friday's
draw ahead of Roma.
Real drew 1-1 away to Belgian side Genk, for whom Belgium
striker Wesley Sonck cancelled out Tote's opener for the
nine-time European champions.
Real finished on nine points, the same tally as Roma but
ahead of the Italians on head-to-head record.
Roma would have topped the group if it had not conceded a
last-minute equalizer at home to AEK Athens following Marco
Delvecchio's first-half opener.
AEK took the UEFA Cup spot and that was also the main issue
at stake in Group A, with Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund already
AJ Auxerre of France claimed third place when Benjani
Mwaruwari's 76th-minute goal gave the club a 1-0 victory over
Dortmund, who consequently lost the group winners' spot after
Arsenal's 0-0 draw at home to PSV.
It was a missed opportunity for PSV, who had started the
night a point ahead of Auxerre and played for 55 minutes at
Highbury against 10 men after Arsenal had midfielder Kolo Toure
The draw for the second group phase takes place at UEFA
headquarters in Switzerland on Friday.