Football: Hertha hold Milan to boost Chelsea hopes

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CHELSEA HAD an additional boost after beating Galatasaray at home last night when they learned that Hertha Berlin had earned a draw away to Milan, the favourites in Group H of the Champions' League.

Ali Daei, the Iranian who scored twice in their 2-1 victory over against Chelsea in the previous match, scored again last night to put Hertha ahead in the 69th minute, but Milan equalised five minutes later when Oliver Bierhoff swept in a pass from the Ukrainian Andriy Shevchenko.

Milan, who have failed to convince in any of their three games so far, enjoyed the bulk of possession against Hertha but, despite an array of attacking talent, were unable to create enough clear chances to deserve more than a point.

They fell behind when Daei outpaced Andres Guglielminpietro down Milan's right as he chased a long ball, burst into the penalty area and drove home a firm shot. After Bierhoff's equaliser, Milan pushed forward in search of a winner, and in injury time Leonardo had a goal rightly disallowed for offside.

Rangers similarly were aided in their campaign in Group F when Gerard Lopez dived in to head the 80th-minute goal that earned Valencia a 1-1 draw away to Bayern Munich, who had gone ahead after six minutes when Giovane Elber capitalised on a goalkeeping error.

"We're just not finding our game right now. We don't seem to be able to pin our opponents down," Bayern's veteran libero, Lothar Matthaus, said afterwards.

Franz Beckenbauer, Bayern's president, was more forthright. "That was one of the worst games we've played recently. There was simply no movement to our game," he said.

Elber had given the home side an early lead when he pounced behind a static defence as the goalkeeper Andres Palop, standing in for the injured Jose Canizares, failed to hold a powerful long-range drive from the Bosnian forward Hasan Salihamidzic.

Valencia secured their draw after some neat passing exposed sloppy Bayern work in defence. The Argentinian, Claudio Lopez, headed a looping through ball back across goal from the far post and Gerard Lopez dived in to score. Valencia were robbed of a winner when the referee blew for full-time as Claudio Lopez bore down on goal before finding the net in vain.

Real Madrid, seeking to win the European Cup for the eighth time, beat the Portuguese champions Porto 3-1 in a fiercely contested match to go top of Group E.

Real's victory in their 200th match in Europe's premier club competition gave them seven points from three matches - one ahead of Porto - and maintained their unbeaten start to the season in both domestic and European competition.