Liverpool run into Hazard, Juventus beat Fulham
Five-times European champions Liverpool suffered a 1-0 defeat at Lille after a late goal by forward Eden Hazard while Juventus beat underdogs Fulham 3-1 in Europa League last 16 first leg matches.
London: Five-times European champions Liverpool suffered a 1-0 defeat at Lille after a late goal by forward Eden Hazard while Juventus beat underdogs Fulham 3-1 in Europa League last 16 first leg matches.
Hamburg SV and Standard Liege also won 3-1 while there were 1-1 draws between Rubin Kazan and VfL Wolfsburg, Valencia versus Werder Bremen and Benfica against Olympique Marseille plus a goalless affair in the Atletico Madrid versus Sporting tie.
The pressure on Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez continued after his side were undone by a fortuitous freekick from teenage Belgium forward Hazard with just minutes left on a cold night.
The visitors, whose only chance of a trophy this season is in Europe`s second-tier competition, started with an attacking lineup of Fernando Torres, Ryan Babel, Dirk Kuyt and Steven Gerrard while Lille were without their top striker Gervinho.
After shading the first half and having a close-range Torres header superbly saved by Mickael Landreau, Liverpool almost went behind after the break when Daniel Agger`s attempted clearance narrowly missed his own goal.
Lille`s winner came in equally bizarre fashion with six minutes remaining, when Hazard`s long-range freekick evaded everyone including Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina to hand the French side a slender advantage for the second leg.
However, Benitez remains confident of securing a quarter-final berth.