European Football: Lalas hurts Milan

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The Independent Online
IT WAS a day of surprises in Italy's Serie A, with the biggest coming at a packed Stadio Euganeo, where Padova plundered a 2-0 victory over Milan.

The American World Cup defender, Alexi Lalas, took advantage of a goalmouth melee to shoot the home team into a 23rd-minute lead which Milan, reduced to 10 men 13 minutes later by the dismissal of Marcel Desailly, rarely looked like overturning. A long-range 61st-minute shot from Franco Gabrieli sealed Padova's first win of the season.

It completed a bad week for Milan, whose hopes of retaining the European Cup have been severely damaged by Uefa's deduction of two points from their Champions' League tally, after an opposing goalkeeper was hit by a plastic bottle during the last European game at the San Siro.

There was no joy for Milan's city rivals, Internazionale, beaten 2-1 at home by Bari, for whom Miguel Guerrero scored a first-minute goal. Sandro Tovalieri added a second before Darko Pancev pulled one back.

Juventus lost 2-0 at Foggia, Pierpaolo Bresciani netting twice for the home side. Two penalties in five minutes from Sampdoria's second-half substitute, Riccardo Maspero, wiped out Gianfranco Zola's opener for Parma, who went down 3-1 after Roberto Mancini added a late third. Last night's 2-2 draw at Torino took Roma, whose South American duo of Abel Balbo and Daniel Fonseca were on target, a point clear at the top.

In Spain, Barcelona warmed up for Wednesday's Champions' League trip to Old Trafford by securing their first away win of the season, 2-1 at Valencia.

Hristo Stoichkov beat his former team-mate, Andoni Zubizarreta, with a last- minute winner.

Valencia were down to 10 men for the final 37 minutes after their captain, Fernando Gomez, handled a goalbound shot and was sent off for the first time in his career, in his 300th game. Ronald Koeman equalised from the subsequent penalty. Valencia had gone ahead through Pedrag Mijatovic in the 12th minute.

Athletic Bilbao, who face Newcastle in the Uefa Cup tomorrow, drew 0-0 at Seville. Austria Vienna, Chelsea's opponents in the Cup-Winners' Cup on Thursday, beat Linzer ASK 1-0 to go one point clear at the top of the Austrian First Division.