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Larissa 2 Rovers 0


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Larissa: Kotsolis, Foerster, Katsiaros, Dabizas, Galitsios, Kiriakidis, Cleyton (Kalantzis 86), Sarmiento, Fotakis, Alexandrou (Gikas 77), Bakayoko (Venetis 90).

Subs Not Used: Kipouros, Boukouvalas, Bahramis, Kozlej.

Booked: Katsiaros.

Goals: Bakayoko 33, Cleyton 35.

Rovers: Friedel, Ooijer, Warnock, Nelsen (Khizanishvili 57), Emerton, Savage, Bentley, Pedersen (Derbyshire 62), Dunn, Santa Cruz, McCarthy (Tugay 79).

Subs Not Used: Brown, Mokoena, Olsson, Roberts.

Booked: Warnock, Bentley.

Att: 8,126.

Ref: Peter Sippel (Germany).


Mark Hughes post match comments

"It was not a performance we were expecting, in particular after our excellent run of 15 games unbeaten.

"Up until now we have shown quality and energy, but they were missing tonight. We have left ourselves a lot to do.

"I'm sure against Portsmouth on Sunday our performance will be a lot better, but tonight is a mystery to us."

Schoolboy defending and an all round lack lustre display by Rovers this evening, resulted in Larissa taking a 2-0 lead into the second leg, which leaves Rovers with an uphill task if they are to qualify for the group stage.

Larissa took the lead just after the half-hour mark, when Bakayoko disposed Pederson to strike a searing shot over Friedel. Things got worst within minutes when Emerton’s under powered pass gifted Fotakis with a shot at goal. However although Friedel saved Fotakis' effort, the ball ran free to Cleyton, who converted with a 12 yard left-foot shot into the corner of the net.

If this wasnt bad enough, Ryan Nelsen was substituted on the hour mark after he pulled up with what looked like a hamstring problem.

Match report from graham.Still in Thessalonika

Still in Thessalonika. The bars down by the harbour are excellent and looking forward to a banging night out tonight. Need to. Last night was poor.

I can't say from the terraces we lacked effort having a full view of the game from behind the goal. We just looked like we had a real bad day as a team and individually. The wind was as strong as I have experienced at a game in a long time and the pitch not up to UEFA standards. All the players bar Brad/Cruz were poor. It's easy to believe after 15 unbeaten we're world beaters and after this debacle, a pile of ####. We're still a good team and this was a poor performance. MGP and Benni seem to have problems with fitness/attitude, though Benni stopped a certain goal in our box the second half tracking back.

We can go through and you wonder whether they will shut up shop and play rolling over a la Arse and Notlob. Larrissa were really poor and we gave them this game away. On a better surface at Ewood I can see us winning this tie and going through. They looked 10th placed in the Greek League IMO.

I have never criticised Sparky (unlike ALL his predessors) but over the years so many English teams have come a cropper on 1)bumpy pitches 2)high tempretaures. THe latter wasn't the case. Why do we try and play a long passing game or try and dribble with it? These games/conditions cry out for a tight midfield and players who have excellent touch. It is so difficult to run with the ball or pass it a long way when the wind is howelling like it was on that ploughed field. Tugay with Dunn and Bentley should have played central. Sav had a bad game and on these picthes he'll always look like he's playing with a beach ball. Hughes needs to learn that mediteranean pitches are a graveyard for english type players who can't run and tackle like back home.

Overall a bad day but I believe Larrisa are a bad side and will concede at least two at Ewood where the ball who be moved around a lot faster and they are clearly not fit enough to compete under normal circumstances having watched the whole game from inside the stadium.

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