Wolfsburg 3 – Portsmouth 2 (UEFA Cup, December 4, 2008) Wolfsburg went ahead in third minute through Edin Dzeko, but Portsmouth hit back within three minutes with quick-fire goals from Jermain Defoe and Arnold Mvuemba. Wolfsburg’s Christian Gentner equalised in the 23rd after James made a poor error and James was then again at fault for the third, failing to control the ball and letting Zvjezdan Misimovic nip in to score. James had a mini-redemption saving Misimovic’s late penalty, but the defeat ended Pompey’s UEFA Cup dreams.
Aston Villa 1 – MSK Zilina 2 (UEFA Cup, December 4, 2008) Vladimir Leitner and Peter Styvar put the away side into a two goal lead, although Nathan Delfouneso pulled a goal back with a fine strike, Villa could not find an equaliser but still reached the last 32.
Nancy 3 – CSKA Moscow 4 (UEFA Cup, December 4, 2008) Monsef Zerka left the CSKA keeper standing statuesque when he cut inside from the left and fired a low right foot drive in off the near post inside the opening four minutes. The Russians weren’t behind for long as their star striker, Vagner Love, hit an early swerving shot to draw the visitors level. And just after the half hour mark CSKA took the lead with Ramon finding the net after a cross was only parried by the keeper. The half almost ended on a sour note as a scuffle broke out in injury time, but the ref kept the sides eleven aside, only dishing out a pair of yellow cards. After the break the ref was again reaching for his yellow card, showing lightening fingers to whip out his back-up card after the first yellow card popping out the official’s hand. The visitors extended their lead on the hour mark when Nancy failed to clear their lines and Vagner Love struck his second of the game. The hosts got a lifeline through Julien Feret’s goal in the 72th minute, before equalising six minutes later through Basile Camerling. But Vagner Love had the final say, netting his hat-trick goal two minutes from time to end a thrilling match.
Lech Poznan 1 – Deportivo La Coruna 1 (UEFA Cup, December 4, 2008) Depor’s Argentine centre-half Diego Colotto netted his first goal for his new club to give them the lead at Lech Poznan, guiding the ball home from a corner. Minutes before halftime and the Poles equalised, Manuel Arboleda orchestrated a series of brilliant one-twos with Hernan Rengifo eventually burying the leveller. (First half highlights here.)
Heerenveen 1 – Braga 2 (UEFA Cup, December 4, 2008) Gerald Sibon gave Heerenveen the early advantage over Braga, thrashing a 25-yard free-kick into the top corner giving the keeper no chance. The Portuguese outfit drew level before the break after the hosts were guilty of slack defending, allowing Wason Renteria a free header in the box. In the second half Braga stole into the lead thanks to Luis Aguiar’s wonderful free-kick that went in off the underside of the bar.
Slavia Prague 0 – Hamburg 2 (UEFA Cup, December 4, 2008) With Juventus reportedly tracking Ivica Olic, the Croatian striker steered Hamburg ahead at Slavia Prague with a perfectly timed run and finish in the 30th minute. Mladen Petric made sure of the points with a last minute penalty,
Valencia 1 – Club Brugge 1 (UEFA Cup, December 4, 2008) Brugge silenced the Mestalla with a simple goal in the first half, Antolin Alcaraz heading home a free-kick to leave Valencia chasing the game. But on the hour mark the hosts drew level as giant Nikola Zigic headed home a corner.