news: UEFA CUP

First Round, First Leg

Middlesbrough’s first ever European adventure got off to a perfect start against Banik Ostrava at the Riverside, with Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink opening the scoring after 57 minutes. Mark Viduka added a further two to provide a safe cushion for the return leg in the Czech Republic.

Fellow debutantes Millwall face a more difficult task after only drawing 1-1 with Ferencvaros at the New Den, despite dominating the Hungarian double winners.

Newcastle were frustrated almost single-handedly by Zimbabwean keeper Murambadoro between the posts for Israeli minnows Bnei Sakhnin, but Patrick Kluivert still managed to score twice to give Graeme Souness’ side the clear advantage.

Irish side Shelbourne battled bravely to pull back a two-goal deficit against Lille. Fitzpatrick scoring twice in the closing minutes, but Glasgow Rangers failed to find a way back against Madeira side Maritimo after falling behind to a Manduca strike.

Fellow Scots, Hearts, fared better against their Portuguese opponents Braga, taking a 3-1 advantage into their second leg. Sporting beat Rapid Vienna 2-0 and Benfica eased past Slovak side Bystrica, winning 3-0 away from home. Nacional, who lost 2-0 in Seville, complete the Portuguese presence.

Elsewhere, St. Petersburg impressed, beating Red Star Belgrade 4-0, German side Schalke 04 thrashed Metalurgs 5-1 and Stuttgart won 3-1 away. French and Spanish teams did well, but the Italians struggled, Lazio apart. Udinese lost 3-1 in Greece against unheralded Panionios and Parma just held on 3-2 at home against no-hopers Maribor.

Some high-profile second-leg casualties look likely!