Liverpool 1 – Fiorentina 2 (Champions League, December 9, 2009) (Longer highlights here.) Liverpool broke the deadlock in their dead-rubber match with Fiorentina in the 43rd minute as Yossi Benayoun steered home a Gerrard free-kick with a glancing header. The Viola levelled with a pacey attack in the 63rd minute, Gilardino picked up possession on the edge of the box and fed Martin Jorgensen out wide on the left, giving the Dane time and space to size up a shot and slap one past Cavalieri and into the bottom corner from 16 yards. Liverpool’s disastrous Champions League campaign ended on a sour note as young Reds defender Stephen Darby was caught in possession by Juan Vargas who crossed for Alberto Gilardino to seal victory for the Italians.
OlympiakosÂ 1 – ArsenalÂ 0 (Champions League, December 9, 2009) (Longer highlights here.) After a goalless first half in Greece, Olympiakos struck minutes into the second half as Leonardo collected the ball just beyond the halfway line before setting off goalwards and, after no challenge materialised, slotted a shot past Fabianski.
Dynamo Kiev 1 – Barcelona 2 (Champions League, December 9, 2009) (Longer highlights here.) Dynamo Kiev put the cat amongst the pigeons early doors in Group F when a howler from Barca keeper Victor Valdes allowed Artem Milevskiy to send the Ukrainians to the top of the group. The Catalans hit back on the half hour when Xavi turned home Eric Abidal’s left wing cross from two yards. Barca laboured to find a second crucial goal to confirm their progression but five minutes from time Lionel Messi (who else!) curled a sweetly struck free-kick over the wall and just under the bar.
Inter Milan 2 – Rubin Kazan 0 (Champions League, December 9, 2009) Jose Mourinho breathed a sigh of relief as Inter Milan took the lead at home to Rubin Kazan thanks to Samuel Eto’o’s 31st minute opener. The Italians secured their passage to the group phase just after the hour mark when Mario Balotelli lit up the San Siro with a blistering, swerving free-kick that powered into the net.
StuttgartÂ 3 – Unirea Urziceni 1 (Champions League, December 9, 2009) Stuttgart destroyed Unirea Urziceni inside 11 minutes, scoring three goals to seemingly kill off the match. Ciprian Marica opened after five minutes, Christian Trasch doubled the lead three minutes later before Pavel Pogrebnyak made it three after 11 minutes. The Romanians got a foothold in the game a minute after the restart as Antonio Semedo punished an error from Boka at the back to pull back a goal.
Lyon 4 – Debrecen 0 (Champions League, December 9, 2009) Bafetimbi Gomis fired Lyon ahead against Debrecen after 25 minutes and Michel Bastos doubled OL’s advantage on the stroke of halftime. The Frenchman raced out of sight at the start of the second half as Miralem Pjanic added a third for the hosts while Lyon cemented their position in the next round 15 minutes from time when Aly Cissokho cracked in the fourth.
Standard Liege 1 – AZ Alkmaar 1 (Champions League, December 9, 2009) AZ took the lead at Standard Liege when Jeremain Lens turned home a left wing cross from three yards. The match had an incredible twist at the death as Liege keeper Sinan Bolat came up from the back for a final free-kick and headed home an equaliser to put Standard into the Europa League.