Football: Ikpeba goal reins back Inter

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The Independent Online
Maurizio Ganz scored twice and Chile's Ivan Zamorano added a third as Internazionale took a step towards the Uefa Cup final last night with a 3-1 home win over Monaco in the first leg of their semi-final.

The prolific Ganz struck on the counter-attack in the 17th and 30th minutes to take his tally in this season's competition to eight before setting up Zamorano for a third just before half-time. At that point, Inter looked to be coasting through, especially when Monaco's evening turned even gloomier in the 46th minute, when their defender Gilles Grimandi was sent off for elbowing Alessandro Pistone in an off-the-ball incident.

But Monaco's Nigerian substitute, Victor Ikpeba, gave the French side a vital away goal and hope for the second leg when he scored with a superb individual effort in the 71st minute.

Tenerife beat Schalke 1-0 in the first leg of their semi-final despite conceding a penalty and having two men sent off.

They went ahead with a penalty by Felipe Minambres after just five minutes but lost their way after Angel Vivar Dorado was sent off early in the second half. Their situation worsened when goalkeeper Marcelo Ojeda was also shown the red card for a foul 15 minutes from the end. But Schalke missed the subsequent penalty and, despite bringing on extra forwards, could not conjure an equaliser.

Juventus appear well placed for victory when they take on Ajax in the first leg of the European Cup semi-finals in Amsterdam tonight.

Last week the Dutch side's Finnish international, Jari Litmanen, called Juventus the best club side in the world. He said they appeared even stronger than last year, when they beat Ajax on penalties in the final. At the weekend Juve appeared to prove him right with a 6-1 demolition of the Italian champions, Milan, in Serie A.

But Ajax, the 1995 European champions, are running into some form after a stuttering start to the season. Since the winter break they are unbeaten in Europe and have a 100 per cent record in the Dutch League. Their coach, Louis van Gaal, is upbeat about his side's prospects and believes Ajax are a fresher and sharper outfit than the one that lost last year's final.

Ajax: Van de Saar; Melchiot, Blind, F de Boer, Bogarde; Scholten, Witschge, Litmanen; Babangida, R de Boer, Overmars.

Juventus: Peruzzi; Porrini, Ferrara, Montero, Iuliano, Di Livio, Deschamps, Zidane, Jugovic, Vieri, Amoruso.

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