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 Thursday, December 12, 2002 18:48 EST

Inzaghi scores ninth tourney goal to lead Milan

[Reuters]

LONDON -- Victories for Manchester United, AC Milan and Barcelona put them on course for the Champions League quarterfinals on Wednesday, but trouble is brewing for holders Real Madrid after the club drew 2-2 with Lokomotiv Moscow.

Ruud van Nistelrooy scored both goals as United beat Deportivo Coruna 2-0 at Old Trafford to stay top of Group D on six points -- two more than Juventus, who hammered Basel 4-0.

AC Milan has six points in Group C after Filippo Inzaghi secured a 1-0 win at Borussia Dortmund, and Barcelona has six in Group A after equalling Milan's Champions League record of 10 consecutive wins with a 3-1 home victory over Newcastle United.

But Real Madrid, who went into this competition bidding for a 10th title, needed Raul to equalize with his second goal of the night to salvage a draw at the Bernabeu.

Though the club has lifted the game's most prestigious club trophy three times in the last five years, Real has now gone six Champions League games without a win and is rooted to the bottom of Group C with just one point -- the same as Lokomotiv.

The team's chances now depend on the outcome of its home and away clashes with Dortmund, who has three points, when the competition restarts in two months' time.

Real coach Vicente del Bosque said: "There are still plenty of points to play for ... I hope that our experience in Europe will allow us to turn things round when the competition gets underway again next February."

United manager Alex Ferguson, whose club will host the final next May, was beaming after his side's seventh victory in eight Champions League games this season.

"Our attacking play was very good," he told reporters. "It was a good performance, I'm very pleased."

As for Van Nistelrooy, who also had two goals disallowed on Wednesday, Ferguson said: "He's played fantastic and been a real threat to them all night."

Juventus is the other side likely to reach the last eight with United after goals from David Trezeguet, Paolo Montero, Alessio Tacchinardi and, from the penalty spot, Alessandro Del Piero swept aside a spirited Swiss side.

Juve's Serie A rivals Milan also looks good for a place in the quarterfinals after Inzaghi arrowed in his ninth goal of the campaign to secure its victory in Germany.

Having opened the second phase by beating Real, Milan should finish the job during its double-header with Lokomotiv.

In the postponed match from Group A, Bobby Robson's return to Barcelona ended in defeat for a Newcastle side missing their main strikers Alan Shearer and Craig Bellamy through suspension.

Dani put the Catalans ahead after seven minutes, Shola Ameobi levelled for Newcastle, but Patrick Kluivert restored their lead before the break and Thiago Motta finished the job.

Victory left Barca level on six points with Inter Milan while Newcastle, who qualified after losing their first three games in the first phase, suffered a probably fatal second defeat.

Robson, who was coach of Barcelona from 1996-97 and lifted the Spanish Cup and European Cup Winners' Cup with the Catalan club, said: "We weren't outplayed."


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