England World Cup winger JOE COLE (10) strikes the ball from the penalty spot for FC Liverpool in the second half opposite Turkish side AS Trabzonspor at Anfield. (Reuters photo)
UEFA Europa League
Playoff round, first leg
1 – FC Liverpool (ENG) ————– Babel 45+1′
0 – AS Trabzonspor (TRK)
Holland World Cup winger RYAN BABEL scored the only goal of the game in the first minute of first half injury time as FC LIVERPOOL trimmed AS TRABZONSPOR by the miminum scoreline of 1-0 in the first leg of the UEFA Europa League playoff round.
With England World Cup winger JOE COLE leading the attack down the center, Babel ran onto to the floor pass of the ex-Chelsea player on the left and, with his right foot, simply stroked the ball past Trabzonspor goalkeeper ONUR KIVRAK.
Shortly after the halftime break, Cole had the opportunity to extend Liverpool’s lead but had his tame spot kick turned aside by the 22-year-old Kivrak, who earned his one and only cap for Turkey to date in a friendly against Northern Irleand this past May.
Kivrak, who had a sharp, flying reaction to the header of Greece World Cup defender SOTIRIS KYRGIAKOS from a corner in the first half, came up with an impressive second half save from Serbia World Cup striker MILAN JOVANOVIC, Liverpool’s summer signing from Belgian club Standard Liege.
The youngster also turned aside a pair of shots from Spain’s World Cup champion, substitute striker FERNANDO TORRES, in the second session, as well.
Liverpool’s shot-stopper PEPE REINA, a reserve for Spain at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, had a big save in the 59th minute after Trabzonspor skipper UMUT BULUT broke through.
Meanwhile, how important Cole’s penalty miss was remains to be seen…
FC LIVERPOOL : Reina ; Aurelio, Carragher, Kyrgiakos, Kelly ; Poulsen, Lucas, Rodriguez (Ngog 73′), Cole ; Jovanovic, Babel (Torres 46′)
AS TRABZONSPOR : Kivrak ; Cale, Glowacki, Gulselam, Korkmaz ; Inan, Balci, Colman (Kacar 77′), Yilmaz (Alanzinho 56′) ; Bulut (Yattara 86′), Gutierrez