Michael Owen scored twice as Liverpool posted an emphatic 2-0 victory Thursday at Italy’s league-leading Roma in a fourth-round, first-leg UEFA Cup match that was marred by fan violence with four Liverpool supporters reported stabbed in the hours leading up to the showdown. Owen, the talented English international, scored in the 46th and 71st as Liverpool posted a win at Olympic Stadium, where it defeated Roma in 1984 in the European Champions Cup final. With Liverpool playing great defense, Owen scored his first on a blazing 16-meter (yard) drive. His second came on a close-in header, putting Liverpool in command going into next week’s second-leg matches with the survivors making the quarterfinals of Europe’s No. 2 up. In violence before the match, AS Roma fans stabbed four Liverpool supporters in a series of clashes. Roma fans also attacked an Associated Press Television News crew outside the stadium.
None of the injuries were reported to be life-threatening. In another incident with 4,000 Liverpool fans filling the Italian capital, several Liverpool fans tossed three people into the Trevi Fountain, one of Rome’s most-visited tourist sites, Thursday afternoon. Reports said the victims were a Japanese tourist and two Bangladesh street vendors. No charges were filed. The four Spanish teams that reached the final 16 all got away without losses. Barcelona won 1-0 at AEK Athens, Alaves drew 3-3 at home against Italian giant Inter Milan, Rayo Vallecano won 4-1 in Madrid against Bordeaux, and Celta Vigo drew 0-0 at Stuttfart. In the other matches, PSV Eindhoven won 2-1 over Parma, Kaiserslautern drew 0-0 at Slavia Prague, and Porto won 3 1 at home over Nantes.
AEK Athens 0, Barcelona 1 At Athens, Greece, Luis Enrique’s first-half goal was all Barcelona needed to pick up the victory. The result gives Barcelona a strong advantage for the second leg in Spain next week. The win made up for an embarrassing 4-0 loss to Santander in the Spanish league on Sunday.
Alaves 3, Inter Milan 3 At Vitoria, Spain, modest Spanish side Alaves came from two goals behind to get a draw. Leading Spanish league scorer Javier Moreno opened with a goal two minutes before the break, but Inter forward Alvaro Recoba equalized a minute into the second half. Recoba then put the visitors ahead four minutes later and Christian Vieri made it 3-1 in the 60th minute. Alaves came back to life and between the 70th and 72nd minutes defender Oscar Tellez and Uruguayan forward Ivan Alonso knocked in a goal apiece to clinch the 3-3 draw.
PSV Eindhoven 2, Parma 1 At Eindhoven, Netherlands, Dennis Rommedahl’s spectacular winner in the 73rd gave PSV Eindhoven the win. The Dane was outstanding throughout and accelerated away from the Parma defense onto John de Jong’s through ball to hit the roof of the net from distance. PSV’s Andre Ooijer gave the home side the lead in the 24th with substitute Patrick Mbomo equalizing in the 67th.
Rayo Vallecano 4, Bordeaux 1 At Madrid, Spain, Rayo Vallecano scored three goals in 20 minutes to all but guarantee a berth in the quarterfinal. Bordeaux took the lead with a goal from Lilian Laslandes two minutes into the match. Ramon de Quintano equalized in the 20th. Bosnian striker Elvir Bolic put Rayo ahead in the 73rd. Jose Maria Quevedo slotted in the third in the 84th with Miguel Angel ‘Michel’ Sanchez hammering home No. 4.
Roma 0, Liverpool 2 At Rome, Owen’s two second-half goals lifted Liverpool to a famous win and stirred bitter memories for the Rome club 17 years after losing to the English side in the Champions Cup finals on the same home turf. Owen broke a scoreless tie 35 seconds into the second-half, firing a low shot into the left corner after intercepting a lazy back pass by French defender Vincent Candela. The fleet-footed striker sealed the win in the 71st minute, diving to knock a header past ‘keeper Francesco Antonioli off a Christian Ziege cross.
Slavia Prague 0, Kaiserslautern 0 At Prague, Czech Republic, FC Kaiserslautern survived strong pressure to escape with the draw. The Czechs outplayed the Bundesliga club but failed to convert many opportunities and now face a difficult second leg.
Stuttgart 0, Celta Vigo 0 At Stuttgart, Germany, Celta Vigo of Spain held Stuttgart to scoreless draw. In a largely uneventful match featuring two teams struggling in their domestic leagues, there were few clear opportunities. Both sides appeared happy to settle for a scoreless draw, Celta wasted a couple of late chances.
Porto 3, Nantes 1 At Oporto, Portugal, Porto came back from a goal down to beat visitor Nantes. Carlos Secretario sealed Porto’s two-goal advantage five minutes from the end after the Portuguese outfit had ceded an early goal. Hassan Ahmada scored on 15 minutes, and Brazilian Esquerdinha equalized for Porto from a penalty kick three minutes later. A 60th minute blunder by Nicolas Gillet, who scored into his own net, put the home side into the lead before Secretario scored the final.