UEFA Cup: Irish outsiders Derry City hold PSG

September 14, 2006

LONDON, Sept 14 (Reuters) - Former European champions Ajax Amsterdam and Olympique Marseille made winning starts to their UEFA Cup campaigns but there was an embarrassing 0-0 draw for Paris St Germain at Irish outsiders Derry City on Thursday.

Ajax, a shock casualty in the Champions League qualifiers at the hands of FC Copenhagen, had to work hard for what became an emphatic 5-2 victory over IK Start.

The Norwegians equalised twice before the Dutch took a decisive 3-2 lead with a curling free kick in the 63rd minute from midfielder Wesley Sneijder.

A goal from Roger Garcia and a second of the evening from striker Klaas Jan Huntelaar finally put the game -- and almost certainly the first round tie -- beyond Start's reach in the 87th minute.

Marseille, Champions League winners in 1993, had to settle for a 1-0 victory over Mlada Boleslav at the Stade Velodrome, leaving the Czech side very much alive for the second leg in two weeks' time.

Striker Habib Bamogo volleyed a superb match-winner after midfielder Sabri Lamouchi split the Czech defence with a 30-metre pass.

However, Marseille's Ligue 1 rivals PSG were not so fortunate at Derry City, whose Brandywell ground could only accommodate around 3,000 supporters.

Though the French club applied plenty of pressure, they were also fortunate when Derry midfielder Killian Brennan hit the crossbar after 15 minutes with keeper Mickael Landreau beaten.

PSG coach Guy Lacombe told the club's Web site: "I've got to congratulate my players who showed respect for Derry and who, like them, showed they were prepared to work hard.

"With their fans behind them, Derry didn't deserve to lose tonight -- the atmosphere was fantastic."

Holders Sevilla secured a 2-1 win over Atromitos in Greece.

Sevilla, who beat Barcelona to win the UEFA Super Cup in August, looked to have had the game wrapped up after first half goals from Blanco Kepa and Duda.

But Atromitos, making their first appearance in European competition, struck back with a second-half goal from Georgios Korakakis and went close on several other occasions.

The 1997 UEFA Cup winners Schalke 04 beat Nancy 1-0 at home with a late goal from Dane Soren Larsen, while fellow Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt trounced Brondby 4-0.

French midfielder Antoine Sibierski headed Newcastle United's goal on his debut in a 1-0 win at Levadia Tallinn in Estonia, while Premier League rivals Tottenham Hotspur edged Slavia Prague 1-0 with a 20-metre daisy-cutter from Jermaine Jenas.

West Ham United used both their Argentine World Cup signings Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano but still lost 1-0 at Upton Park to Serie A side Palermo, whose winner came from Andrea Caracciolo.

Parma, twice UEFA Cup winners, earned a 1-0 victory at Russian side Rubin Kazan after a strike by teenage midfielder Daniele Dessena but the results did not all go to form.

Along with PSG's draw, former European champions Red Star Belgrade suffered a 2-0 defeat at Czech side Slovan Liberec.

Despite a relative goal drought on the night, Ajax's win came as Basel crushed Rabotnicki of Macedonia 6-2 and Dinamo Bucharest ran out 4-3 winners at Xanthi in Greece.

Feyenoord, who won the UEFA Cup for the second time in 2002, were trailing Lokomotiv Sofia 2-0 after half an hour before fighting back for a 2-2 draw.