Liverpool score five in Young Boys win, but Spurs draw blank
Controversy at White Hart Lane after reports of racist chants by Lazio fans at 0-0 draw
LIVERPOOL scored five goals in Europe for only the fourth time in their history as the Reds kicked off their Europa League campaign with a 5-3 win over Young Boys.
The Swiss side led Liverpool 3-2 at one stage, but three goals in the final 23 minutes saw Brendan Rodgers's side pull off a famous away win. "All round it was very pleasing," he said later. "It was a chance for the young players to seize that opportunity to play and I think they did that for sure."
Rodgers gave youth a chance in Switzerland and his faith was repaid with goals from 19-year-old Andre Wisdom, making his senior debut, and a brace from England Under-21 striker Jonjo Shelvey after his arrival as a substitute in the final quarter. "He has been outstanding," Rodgers said of the youngster. "He is still only 20 years of age and is developing and growing all the time and you saw his confidence when he came."
There were no such thrills at White Hart Lane where Tottenham were held to a goalless draw by Lazio in their Europa League clash. The Romanian referee did the game no favours with his pedantry, and he was particularly harsh on Tottenham, disallowing three goals for various reasons. At least two of the ‘goals' looked good - Clint Dempsey's header, which was deemed offside, and a Steve Caulker effort that was disallowed because of an apparent push in the build-up.
Despite the lack of goals, there was no shortage of controversy following the match, with allegations of racism levelled at Lazio's 3,000 travelling fans. Several papers report that Spurs striker Jermain Defoe and winger Aaron Lennon were "subjected to monkey chants" from Italian suppporters, although Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas later refused to be drawn on whether the club will make a formal complaint.
"UEFA is normally very good in this kind of situation," he said. "The objective of all of us is to kick racism out of football." Claiming he didn't hear anything untoward, Villas-Boas added: "It's for the authorities to follow up in any kind of investigation."
Meanwhile Newcastle selected a second-string team for their trip to Maritimo on the island of Madeira, and it showed as the Magpies were held to a 0-0 draw. Newcastle boss Alan Pardew fielded just four of his regular starting XI with Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse and Yohan Cabaye all rested ahead of Sunday's clash with Norwich.
The upshot was that Newcastle laboured to make any headway against Maritimo in what was their first European appearance since appearing in the 2006-07 Uefa Cup.
Though Newcastle hit the woodwork three times, Maritimo finished the stronger of the two and the Portuguese side almost scored at the death when Valentin Roberge's header was cleared off the line by Davide Santon.