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Michel heroics raise Standard

Thursday, 25 November 2004

By Berend Scholten at Stade de Sclessin

[1] Michel's free-kick in injury time earned R. Standard de Liège their first points in UEFA Cup Group B with a thrilling victory over Parma FC.

Late winner

[2] The Serie A side looked on course for their second win when Andrea Pisanu scored two minutes before the interval. But Standard hit back after the break, Karel Geraerts drawing them level to set the scene for substitute Michel's late heroics.

Standard press

[3] Standard quickly adjusted to the freezing temperature and nearly caught Parma cold on five minutes when they worked room for Oguchi Onyewu whose header was punched away by Gianluca Berti.

Berti saves

[4] Parma looked to strike on the counter and on 30 minutes Massimo Maccarone was sent clear, but Vedran Runje saved with his legs. Three minutes later, Berti blocked Philippe Léonard's free-kick before brilliantly tipping Sérgio Conceiçao's volley over the bar.

Pisanu opener

[5] But despite Standard's pressure, it was Parma who took the lead two minutes before the break. Pisanu was sent through by Maccarone, and one-on-one with Runje he made no mistake with his shot.

Geraerts equaliser

[6] Parma, however, could not hold their lead for long. Nine minutes after the restart Geraerts picked up a loose ball and shot beyond Berti to set up a tense and hotly contested final half-hour during which both teams created chances. Runje saved from Francesco Ruopolo ten minutes from time then Geraerts came close again just a minute later.

Winning free-kick

[7] But the home side were not to be denied and four minutes into added time Michel, who had been introduced just after the break, brought the home fans to their feet when he rifled in the winner with a 20-metre free-kick. Standard next play Besiktas JK on 1 December, while Parma's final match is against the Turkish club a fortnight later.

Mohamed Tchite (left) vies with Paolo Cannavaro