Amauri double gives Juventus win at Ajax

BERNE (Reuters) - Amauri scored in each half to give Juventus a 2-1 win at Ajax as two former European champions met in the Europa League round of 32 on Thursday.

Juventus players celebrate their victory over Ajax Amsterdam after their Europa League soccer match in Amsterdam February 18, 2010. REUTERS/Michael Kooren

A stunning Bobby Zamora goal gave Fulham a 2-1 victory at home to Shakhtar Donetsk, winners of the last edition of the UEFA Cup, while five-times European champions Liverpool struggled to a 1-0 win over Romania’s Unirea Urziceni at Anfield in other first leg ties.

AS Roma missed a chance to set a club record of 21 games without defeat in all competitions when they lost 3-2 at Panathinaikos after leading with less than 10 minutes to go.

Ajax and Juventus, who met in the 1973 European Cup final and the 1996 Champions League final, this time crossed swords in less glamorous circumstances.

The Dutch side, no longer a major force in European club soccer, went ahead in the 17th minute when Miralem Sulejmani raced clear to score.

Juve, one of eight teams for whom the Europa League is a consolation after finishing third in the Champions League groups, levelled before halftime with an Amauri header.

Alessandro del Piero, in inspirational form for the Italians, provided the cross for Amauri to score the winner with another header just before the hour.

Fulham took the lead after only three minutes when Zoltan Gera squeezed a shot home under the body of goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov who watched in anguish as the ball squirmed through and trickled over his goalline.

The holders began to take control as the first half developed and were well worth their 32nd-minute equaliser, superbly executed by Brazilian Luiz Adriano who timed his angled run to perfection to beat the offside trap before firing past Mark Schwarzer.

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The initiative swung back Fulham’s way after 63 minutes when Zamora scored with an unstoppable right-foot shot from 20 metres out.

“We proved that even against the very best European teams we can get a result,” said Fulham manager Roy Hodgson.


In a meeting of two teams who dropped down from the Champions League, Liverpool took 80 minutes to break the deadlock against Unirea.

The only goal of the game was fashioned by substitutes with Daniel Pacheco heading Ryan Babel’s cross to David Ngog who headed in from close range.

“We had to be patient, they were very difficult to break down,” said Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard.

“This is a tough competition with good teams in it like Ajax, Juventus and the rest and it won’t be easy to win it.”

Austrian champions Salzburg, the only team to complete the group phase with a 100 percent record, squandered a 2-0 lead as they lost 3-2 at Champions League drop-outs Standard Liege.

Marc Janko scored twice as the visitors took control in the first half.

Axel Witsel pulled one back with a penalty, Igor de Camargo levelled in the 80th minute with a 30-metre shot and Witsel popped up to head the winner two minutes later.

Roma appeared set to extend their unbeaten run when Chile midfielder David Pizarro converted a penalty nine minutes from time against Panathinaikos.

Instead, Lazaros Hristodoulopoulos equalised in the 84th minute and Djibril Cisse snatched the winner.

Mirko Vucinic had put Roma ahead in the first half with Dimitris Salpingidis making it 1-1 midway through the second half.

Brazilian striker Grafite scored twice for VfL Wolfsburg away to Villarreal but it was not enough for the German champions to end a 12-match winless run in all competitions as Marco Ruben snatched an 85th minute equaliser for the Spaniards.

Editing by Alison Wildey