Happenings around the beautiful game


By Paul Freelend

Still smarting from having its 20-match unbeaten string in the English Premiership snapped by Everton, Arsenal was shocked yet again, this time losing 2-1 home to AJ Auxerre in the UEFA Champions League.

Olivier Narcisse Kapo Obou and Khalilou Fadiga scored for the French visitors while Arsenal could only muster a Nwanko Kanu goal in reply. Fellow EPL clubs fared much better, however, as a Michael Owen hat trick carried Liverpool to a 3-1 win at Spartak Moscow. Newcastle United kept its European hopes alive with a 1-0 win against Juventus and Manchester United recovered from surrendering a two-goal lead to win 3-2 at Olympiakos.

AC Milan beat 2001 champions Bayern Munich 2-1 in Milan, but the German club still has a chance of advancing thanks to RC Lens’ 3-1 win over Deportivo la Coru¤a.

In other matches on Wednesday, Barcelona edged Lokomotiv Moscow 1-0, Bayer Leverkusen beat Maccabi Haifa 2-1, Club Brugge defeated Galatasaray 3-1 and Dynamo Kiev beat Feyenoord 2-0.

Steve McManaman scored a pair of goals for defending champion Real Madrid, but the Spanish side could only manage a 2-2 draw with AEK Athens on Tuesday. Roma was held to a 0-0 draw home to Racing Genk while Olympique Lyon came from behind to tie Inter Milan 3-3 on the strength of two goals from Sonny Anderson. Borussia Dortmund and PSV Eindhoven tied 1-1, as did Ajax and Rosenborg, while Ivan Ergic’s two goals lifted FC Basle to a 2-2 draw home to Valencia.

A pair of surprising results in the qualifying rounds for the Euro 2004 tournament helped shape the look of the top 10 in FIFA’s latest rankings.

Italy’s 2-1 loss to Wales and England’s 2-2 draw home to Macedonia caused some shifting among the upper echelon of the rankings. Brazil and France continued to hold onto the top two spots while Spain, who drew 0-0 in a friendly with Paraguay, slid down a spot.

FIFA’s top 30 as of Oct. 23:

1. Brazil, 2. France, 3. Spain, 4. Germany, 5. Argentina, 6(tie). England, 6(tie). Mexico, 8. Turkey, 9. Netherlands, 10. United States, 11(tie). Italy, 11(tie). Portugal, 13. Denmark, 14. Ireland, 15(tie). Czech Republic, 15(tie). Yugoslavia, 17. Belgium, 18. Paraguay, 19. Cameroon, 20. South Korea, 21. Romania, 22. Colombia, 23(tie). Russia, 23(tie). Sweden, 25. Uruguay, 26(tie). Costa Rica, 26(tie). Japan, 28(tie). Nigeria, 28(tie). Norway, 30. South Africa.


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