1st Leg Round Up Of The 2010 UEFA Europe League Semi Final

April 23rd, 2010

The 2010 UEFA Europa Cup hit the semi final stages over in Europe last night, with the first legs kicking off and leading one step closer to the thrilling final match.

There was controversy surrounding the European games this week due to the volcanic ash which swept parts of the continent, restricting travel plans and resulted in both English sides left in the tournament travelling to their respective matches via land – not a good start.

Kicking off the first leg, Atlético Madrid saw Liverpool FC travel to the Vicente Calderón Stadium for the semi final clash.

It was always going to be a close game between the two quality sides, although it did not take long for the Spanish side to strike the back of the net through Diego Forlán in the ninth minute.

The 2010 UEFA Europa Cup hit the semi final stages over in Europe last night, with the first legs kicking off and leading one step closer to the thrilling final match.

It was the single goal which separates the side as they head into the second leg next week – which was a scramble over the line to say the least, and reflected the lack of form for Liverpool who certainly did not impress.

Liverpool had every excuse to be sluggish on the pitch, suffering through a 24-hour trip to the Spanish capital, although seemed fresh faced at times with Yossi Benayoun imposing on Atlético’s defence and Steven Gerrard driving the ball into the net on the 19th minute.

Travelling to the Calderón is daunting for any side, with what is considered to be the most hostile home crowd in Europe, so the 1-0 score is not too tough an ask for the English side.

Over in Germany the first leg of the semi final between Hamburg SV and Fulham FC at the Hamburg Arena.

The London side travelled to Germany via a 17-hour coach trip combined with bad traffic conditions as long outsiders; however as has happened so many times for the Cottagers in Europe this year, came away upsetting the odds.

The home side could not find the key to unlock Fulham’s defence, with Australian ‘keeper Mark Schwarzer once again a rock in goal for the visiting side, securing a goalless draw.

The first half saw a dominant performance from the German’s, who could not execute on the opportunities they created – and head into next week’s second leg with no real advantage.

Ruud van Nistelrooy almost gave the home side an early advantage clear in the box but scuffed the chance, with Piotr Trochowski going close from long-range.

Fulham’s defence was rock solid, with Brede Hangeland impressive in the centre of the defence; however the English side will be worried with the news Bobby Zamora left the pitch with an Achilles injury in the second half.

The goalless draw leaves Fulham in the more advantageous position of the two as they head into the second leg at Craven Cottage on the 29th of April.