Liberec

    Liberec

    SOCCER

    Liberec

    SOCCER

      Viergever leaves it late for AZ

      Nick Viergever's 89th-minute goal gave AZ Alkmaar a 1-0 first-leg advantage in their Europa League last-32 tie with Slovan Liberec at the Stadion U Nisy.AZ dominated but struggled to break down their opponents before Viergever took advantage of a goalkeeping error to give the away side the lead going into the second leg.If Dick Advocaat's side can avoid defeat at home next week they could set up a chance of revenge against Anzhi Makhachkala, who beat them 6-0 on aggregate in last year's competition.A subdued first half produced few chances, with only AZ's Celso Ortiz and Roy Beerens testing goalkeeper Premysl Kovar with shots from range, while Johann Berg Gudmundsson had an effort from the edge of the area blocked by Jan Rajnoch.Nemanja Gudelj and Jeffrey Gouweleeuw both had efforts caught by Kovar in the second half but in truth the Czech keeper was not troubled.Liberec had the game's best chance so far with 16 minutes left to play as AZ keeper Esteban was forced to tip away Yevhen Budink's right-footed shot for a corner.But with time running out Gudelj's free-kick from deep was parried by Kovar, allowing centre-back Viergever to pounce on his mistake and prod into the unguarded goal from six yards out to finally break the deadlock.Liberec rallied in search of an equaliser but Sergiy Rybalka's shot flew wastefully over the bar, leaving AZ and their supporters to celebrate a narrow victory and a great chance of advancing to the next round.
      • 9Y
      • PA Sport

      Liberec

      SOCCER

        Liberec bound into last 32

        Liberec advanced to the Europa League knockout stages as they took advantage of Freiburg's defeat to Sevilla by beating Estoril 2-1.Josef Sural gave Liberec a first-half lead which was added to by Michael Rabusic.Junior Seba pulled a goal back but Liberec nonetheless leapfrogged Freiburg to claim second place in Group H.The opening quarter-hour was lacklustre, with Estoril's Fernandes Gerso unable to direct Javier Balboa's cross goalwards and Joao Pedro smashing a free-kick into the wall.Liberec burst into life in the 17th minute when Martin Frydek's excellent drive was blocked by Elvis Babanco and from the resulting corner, the Czech side took the lead.Sergiy Ribalka delivered from the right, Jirri Fleisman headed back across goal and Sural arrived at the right time to find the top corner.Another Balboa cross was again headed powerfully but waywardly by Gerso before Estoril lost goalkeeper Vagner to injury, with Ricardo Ribeiro taking his place.Balboa's next pinpoint delivery found a more adept target in Joao Pedro, but his excellent headed effort was saved by Lukas Hroso and Liberec retained their lead going into half-time.Hroso saved Diogo Amado's ambitious effort early in the second half while Ribeiro had his first test when he gathered Frydek's 25-yard blast.Joao Pedro sent a superb 30-yard shot dipping just over the bar for Estoril, but it was Liberec who struck again with 20 minutes left.David Pavelka slipped the ball into the box and Rabusic poked the ball high past Ribeiro.With Freiburg losing at home to Sevilla, the 2-0 scoreline made Liberec's qualification look certain - even when Estoril pulled a goal back with eight minutes remaining.Babanco crossed from the left and Junior Seba stroked the ball past Hroso from 12 yards.Seba was denied an equaliser when Hroso repelled his header and Balboa and Babanco saw shots blocked, though even a draw would have been enough for Liberec.
        • 9Y
        • PA Sport

        Liberec

        SOCCER

          Freiburg hold on for Liberec win

          Freiburg survived a late scare at Slovan Liberec to secure an overdue first Group H victory with a 2-1 win that rekindled their fading dream of reaching the Europa League knockout stages.The Bundesliga outfit were three points behind Thursday night's hosts having struggled to draw three of their four opening games and needed to win in Slovenia to stay in contention for a place in the last 32.Matthias Ginter gave them hope in the 23rd minute and Francis Coquelin settled their nerves with a second goal in the final 20 minutes.There was, however, still time for Liberec, who had pushed the visitors hard all game long, to tee up a nervous finale through Sergiy Rybalka's strike.It was an uninspiring start at the Stadio u Nisy, but the first real scoring chance yielded a goal for the visitors in the 23rd minute.Sebastian Kerk found space down the right wing to tee up Ginter, who lobbed Premysl Kovar from 12 yards.Liberec could have equalised immediately but Oliver Baumann was equal to Rybalka's driven effort.Rybalka came close again in the 37th minute, this time with a volley on Jirri Fleisman's free-kick, and the Slovenians turned the screw in stoppage time.David Pavelka saw his close-range snapshot blocked by Fallou Diagne before Pavel Krmas put his body on the line to deny the Liberec midfielder from the middle of the box.The hosts continued to probe following the restart and Michael Rabusic soon rattled a post.Then, moments after Mike Hanke missed from six yards at the other end, Isaac Sackey steered his audacious effort wide.Liberec had missed their opportunity and, in the 73rd minute, Coquelin gave Freiburg a 2-0 lead.Once again the assist arrived from the wing as Christian Gunter stole down the left to find the Arsenal loanee in a great position to nod home.The Slovenians still had plenty of time to respond, though, and halved the deficit nine minutes from time.Jiri Pimpara supplied the header across the box that fell to Rybalka, who slammed it beyond Baumann as hush descended among the travelling faithful.Liberec might even have stolen a point in stoppage time, but what had seemed like an easy conversion for Rabisic ended up clattering the advertising hoardings.
          • 9Y

          Liberec

          SOCCER

            Spoils shared in Seville

            #INSERT type:image caption:Liberec celebrate David Pavelka's equaliser against Sevilla. END# Sevilla spurned the chance to secure their place in the last 32 of the Europa League after being held 1-1 at home by Slovan Liberec in a game they dominated.A victory would have guaranteed the Spanish outfit a top-two finish in Group H and they looked likely to achieve that after taking a 29th-minute lead through Diego Perotti's free-kick, as well as doing almost all of the attacking.However, they were hit by a sucker-punch in the 71st minute when Liberec midfielder David Pavelka was given free reign to run almost from box to box before beating Javi Varas and equalise.The Andalusian side tried to respond and they almost snatched a last-gasp winner when Juan Cala hit the post, but the Czech side held out for a draw which sees them remain two points behind the group leaders.Despite Thursday's disappointment though, Sevillla should still qualify as they are five points clear of third-placed Freiburg with two rounds to go.Unai Emery's men came into the match on the back of two demoralising league defeats, going down 7-3 at Real Madrid before losing 1-0 at home to struggling Celta Vigo, but they did not look short of confidence as they started in determined fashion.Jose Antonio Reyes, Sebastian Cristoforo and Coke all tried their luck early on before Bryan Rabello saw his 23rd-minute effort tipped around the post by visiting goalkeeper Lukas Hroso.Sevilla then won a free-kick in a dangerous position on the edge of the area after Raul Rusescu saw his darting run unceremoniously ended by Radoslav Kovac - and Perotti made the most of the opportunity as he curled his shot into the near top corner to make it 1-0.The home side's attacking threat diminished for a while after that, but it was back in force at the start of the second half with Hroso being called on to deny Perotti, Rabello and Rusescu, who also saw another effort deflected wide.Perotti then fired a good chance wide with only Hroso to beat as Sevilla sought to finish the game off.However, from another Sevilla attack that broke down on the edge of the visiting side's area, Liberec suddenly broke away and drew level.Pavelka picked up the ball around 30 yards out from his own goal and was allowed to progress, virtually unchallenged, all the way to the edge of the Sevilla area where he drilled a shot past the diving Varas.Sevilla, UEFA Cup winners in 2006 and 2007, sought a winner in the closing stages and they almost got it deep into stoppage time only to see Cala's brave header come back off the post.ends
            • 9Y

            Liberec

            SOCCER

              Vitolo snatches point for Sevilla

              #INSERT type:image caption:Vitolo scores a late equaliser for Sevilla against Liberec. END# Machin Vitolo's late equaliser ensured Sevilla remained top of Europa League Group H as they earned a 1-1 draw at Slovan Liberec. • Highlights: Liberec 1-1 Sevilla FC (US and Caribbean only) Until substitute Vitolo's 88th-minute contribution, the Czech side were heading to pole position themselves thanks to Michael Rabusic's first-half opener.They protected it well and rarely looked like conceding after it, but when goalkeeper Premysl Kovar was sent off it changed the game and gave Sevilla a route back in.They made sure they took it too and they now have a five-point cushion on third-placed Freiburg, meaning they could secure progression in the next round of fixtures.Starting the night with a 100 per cent record, Sevilla began in a manner befitting of a side in control of the group with Andujar Coke whipping an effort just wide, but Liberec slowly settled and started to make chances of their own.Sergiy Rybalka's free-kick was mopped up by Javi Varas and then, with 20 minutes gone, they took the lead.David Pavelka made it, passing from the left on the counter, with Rabusic on the spot to finish from close to the penalty spot.Sevilla responded with Coke's volley which was dealt with by Kovar, but Liberec remained the more dangerous and Rybalka was unfortunate to see a shot saved by Varas.Whatever was said by Unai Emery at half-time had little immediate impact on his players as Liberec continued to impress after the restart.Rabusic hit just over and then Varas had to use his fingertips to deny Josef Sural, before the Spaniards stirred and Juan Cala headed over.Carlos Bacca then dragged a strike just away from goal and Diego Perotti also chipped in with a shot, but goalkeeper Kovar was barely having to work for his wage.Perhaps his lack of action cost him in the focus stakes as he was soon hauling down Bacca and receiving his orders (78), but off-target efforts from Perotti and Cala barely upped the ante.An equaliser would arrive, though, with Vitolo on the spot to tuck away Kevin Gameiro's late cross.
              • 9Y
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