Pennant sees red in Porto
Reds escape from Estadio Dragao with draw
By Rob Parrish. Last Updated: September 18, 2007 11:02pm
Pennant: Porto red card
Liverpool survived the dismissal of Jermaine Pennant at the Estadio Dragao to secure a 1-1 draw against Porto in their UEFA Champions League Group A opener.
Pennant was cautioned in the first half for a challenge on the impressive Ricardo Quaresma and saw red 13 minutes into the second half after a needless challenge on full-back Fucile.
Rafael Benitez's side were well below their best and were on the back foot from the off as Porto attacked with purpose and intent.
And it was no surprise when the home side went in front after just eight minutes with Lucho Gonzalez stroking home from the penalty spot after Jose Reina had brought down Tarik Sektioui.
But Dirk Kuyt levelled for the Reds nine minutes later with their first attack, heading home from close range after Sami Hyypia had nodded Steve Finnan's deep free-kick back across the area.
Last season's beaten finalists looked like strangers against a slick attack. The Portuguese champions were led by inspired skipper Gonzalez, a summer target of Everton, plus the exciting skills of Quaresma who has been linked to Chelsea.
It was the 23-year-old who almost set up a second-minute Porto goal when he robbed Finnan and his cross was deflected straight to Lisandro Lopez, standing six yards out and unmarked but Reina got his shoulder in the way of the instant shot.
Liverpool were under intense early pressure and another Quaresma angled effort flew just over, with Pennant fortunate not to be booked for slashing at Quaresma's legs.
Liverpool were barely in the game and a goal was inevitable. It came on eight minutes when Sektioui escaped from Hyypia and Reina's challenge sent the striker to the ground. Gonzalez coolly slotted home the penalty.
Liverpool's game was still error-strewn, but somehow they struck back on 17 minutes through Kuyt.
Pennant was booked for another foul on Quaresma, and from the free-kick Bruno Alves headed wide from a glorious unmarked position in the box.
The unlikeliest of people, Steven Gerrard, Javier Mascherano and Jamie Carragher, kept giving the ball away or were caught in possession.
Still Porto had much of the possession, moving it quickly to the flanks, in particular the right where Quaresma was a constant threat.
Pennant then saw red as he sent Fucile crashing over the line in his eagerness to get the ball. He then claimed a corner and turned to argue with the linesman and referee but the yellow card was already out, followed by the red.
Hyypia cleared away from an open goal from Quaresma's lob after Reina failed to gather Bosingwa's cross cleanly.
Torres was booked for dissent on 73 minutes, Kuyt for a foul two minutes later. A minute later a disappointed Torres, who had worked hard but got nowhere all evening, was replaced by Andrei Voronin.
Gerrard had a rare chance in the box when he volleyed wide from an Alvaro Arbeloa angled ball into the box, but it was soon all hands to the pump at the other end as Liverpool managed to get away with a point from one of their poorest displays in a long time.
|FC Porto||Team Statistics||Liverpool|
|1||1st Half Goals||1|
|3||Shots on Target||1|
|7||Shots off Target||0|
UEFA Champions League
Tue 18th Sep - Group C
R Madrid2 - 1W Bremen
Olympiakos1 - 1Lazio
Tue 18th Sep - Group B
Schalke0 - 1Valencia
Chelsea1 - 1Rosenborg
Tue 18th Sep - Group D
Shak Donetsk2 - 0Celtic
AC Milan2 - 1Benfica
Tue 18th Sep - Group A
FC Porto1 - 1Liverpool
Marseille2 - 0Besiktas
UEFA Champions League Group A
UEFA Champions League Group B
UEFA Champions League Group C
|1||Paris St Germain||5||13|
UEFA Champions League Group D
|4||FC Viktoria Plzen||5||0|
UEFA Champions League Group E
|4||FC Steaua Bucuresti||5||3|
UEFA Champions League Group F
UEFA Champions League Group G
|2||Zenit St. Petersburg||5||6|
UEFA Champions League Group H