Reds battle past Depor
By Paul Higham. Last Updated: 03/11/04 9:35pm
Liverpool produced a gritty display in Spain to beat Deportivo La Coruna 1-0.
Rafa Benitez's men fought hard for the entire match, and Jorge Andrade's early own goal settled the match in their favour.
Liverpool could have gone into the break 3-0 up after a confident first 45 minutes, but they were on the back foot for most of the second period and had to dig in to grind out the result, although Depor did not create enough chances to warrant an equaliser.
Liverpool could have been ahead inside a minute when Luis Garcia slipped in Milan Baros who was clean through on goal.
However, the Czech Republic ace tried to round Jose Molina but the ball bobbled off his shin and enabled the keeper to pounce on the ball.
Sergio flashed a shot just wide from 25 yards after five minutes to signal Depor's intent to grab a goal in a game they thought they would have to win.
Liverpool had started brightly though and took a 14th-minute lead when Jorge Andrade was forced to stab the ball into his own net from close range under pressure from Baros.
Igor Biscan was a late starter in place of Xabi Alonso, but he was instrumental in the goal as he skilfully powered through the middle of the park before finding John Arne Riise on the left and his low cross was put in by Andrade.
The hosts were probing with long balls forward but The Reds always threatened on the break, and Riise nearly doubled the advantage four minutes before the break as his shot was initially saved by Molina, with the rebound hacked off the line by Andrade.
Javier Irureta's men came out with renewed purpose in the second half and almost drew level when substitute Pablo Amo rose at the far post but could not connect with his attempted header.
Biscan was in there desperate to reach the ball but only succeeded to elbow Chris Kirkland in the face - but the Liverpool keeper was able to continue after lengthy treatment.
Depor dominated possession and Liverpool were forced to battle hard to quell the threat, with Djimi Traore in particular coming up with some superb challenges.
Luis Garcia could have settled the tie with five minutes left to play when put through by Baros, but he was inches away from getting the ball under control.
Liverpool had a couple of other chances on the break but could not put the game to bed, ensuring a nervy last few minutes, but they held out comfortably in the end to grab a vital win.
The Reds' hard-fought victory puts them back on track for progression into the next phase, while Depor are on the verge of elimination from the tournament.
|Deportivo de La Coruña||Team Statistics||Liverpool|
|0||1st Half Goals||1|
|2||Shots on Target||3|
|7||Shots off Target||1|
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