UDINE, Italy, AP
Two players down, league champion Lazio was trashed 4-1 by Udinese in their second-leg of the Italian Cup quarterfinals Tuesday and was kicked out from the competition. The home victory at Friuli stadium qualified the Serie A team of Udine for the semifinals on a 5-3 aggregate. Lazio, which kept at rest such key players as Hernan Crespo, Juan Sebastian Veron and Alessandro Nesta in view of Sunday’s crucial league match against crosstown rival and standings leader AS Roma, trailed throughout the match after allowing two goals in the first eight minutes. Defender Andrea Sottil and striker Massimo Margiotta gave Udinese an early 2-0 lead to make up for a 1-2 first-leg loss in Rome. Lazio revived its qualifying chances when Sinisa Mihajlovic converted a penalty kick in the 21st. The Yugoslav defender was ejected in the initial minutes of the second half for overreacting a referee decision, leaving Lazio one player down. Although 10 against 11, the Roman team coached by Sven-Goran Eriksson pressed on the attack and hit the bar and the post of Udinese’s net on short-range shots by Pavel Nedved and Paolo Negro. Then Margiotta, a Venezuela-born Italian striker, headed in his second goal on a fast counter-attack, to make it 3-1 in the 82nd. As Nedved fouled an opponent and protested the referee decisions to get a red card and leave Lazio with nine players, Belgian midfielder Johan Walem kicked in the fourth goal in injury time (95th) the definitely sink the visitors. Elimination from the Italian Cup was expected to renew fans protests for Lazio’s mixed results so far this season, which some critics attributed in part to Eriksson’s decision to leave the team at the end of the current season to become England’s coach. Lazio trails leader AS Roma by seven points in the Serie A standings and suffered straight defeats in Champions League second round matches against Anderlecht and Leeds. League Cup Birmingham City defeats Sheffield Wednesday
Birmingham City advanced to the semifinals of the League Cup Tuesday with a 2-0 home victory against Sheffield Wednesday in the only quarterfinal to weather driving rain sweeping across England. Birmingham City skipper Martin O’Connor fired a cross from the right flank and found Danny Sonner, who powered a header past Wednesday’s keeper Kevin Pressman in the 27th minute. Nigerian forward Dele Adebola doubled the lead in the 56th minute with his eight goal of the campaign. Manchester City’s game against Ipswich was abandoned after 27 minutes at Maine Road because of a waterlogged field with the score level at 1-1. Marcus Stewart fired Ipswich ahead in the fourth minute but Paul Dickov leveled in the 21st. A third quarterfinal between Crystal Palace and Sunderland was simply postponed. The fourth quarterfinal is on Wednesday when runaway division leader Fulham visits Liverpool. Jean Tigana’s Fulham is bidding to complete a remarkable double because it hosts Premier League leader Manchester United in the third round of the FA Cup January 7. Bundesliga Schalke takes lead in Bundesliga — at least overnight Ebbe Sand scored his Bundesliga leading 13th goal of the season and Marco van Hoogdalem added another as Schalke beat Unterhaching 2-0 Tuesday to jump to the top of the standings at least for 24 hours. In Unterhaching, Schalke scored its fifth victory in the last six games and opened a two-point lead over Bayer Leverkusen, which plays at Bochum in one of Wednesday’s six matches. Unterhaching wasted several good opportunities early in the match but Schalke used its chances to snatch the victory. In Stuttgart, Frankfurt slumped to its fourth straight defeat despite fielding a defensive-minded lineup. An own goal by Frankfurt’s Vladimir Miljkovic gave Stuttgart the lead in the 34th minute, but Marco Gebhardt stunned the home team by scoring the equalizer only four minutes later. Eintracht conceded three more goals in the second half, Zvonimir Soldo, Ioan Viorel Ganea and Sean Dundee securing Stuttgart’s victory and extending the tenure of embattled coach Ralf Rangnick. Defender Sebastian Kehl shot Freiburg into the lead in the 31st and Oumar Konde made it 2-0, before Poland’s Andrzej Juskowiak pulled one back for Wolfsburg, which fell to an unexpected home defeat.