Football: Lombardo's fine riposte

The sour and sorry Duncan Mackenzie was left with egg on his face at Goodison Park after Attilio Lombardo capped his Crystal Palace debut by scoring one goal and making the other.

The one-time Everton and Leeds striker aimed some unkind comments at the balding Italian on local radio before the match, suggesting the former Juventus player had come to England only to enhance his pension.

But if Lombardo silenced a few would-be critics, then so too did several other big-name foreign imports among the Premiership's current roll call of 133 foreigners representing 37 countries.

Temur Ketsbaia, blessed with possibly less hair even than Lombardo, made an eye-catching impact in Newcastle United's midfield, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink had the look of an idol-in-the-making with a scoring debut for Leeds United and Gustavo Poyet may prove to be one of the season's key figures on the basis of his form for Chelsea at Coventry City.

Arguably, none made a more promising start than the German Karlheinz Riedle, another on the wrong side of 30, who followed the example of Gianluca Vialli and Fabrizio Ravanelli in leaving a European Cup-winning line-up to come to England.

Riedle believes he will be hard pressed to keep his place in a strongly- fancied Liverpool line-up once Robbie Fowler returns from injury, especially with 17-year-old Michael Owen having begun the season with high ambitions of his own.

If these are genuine sentiments then he is a modest man as well as a talented one. He has the quality and energy to make just as lasting an impression here as did his compatriot, Jurgen Klinsmann. It would be a foolish manager who fails to make the most of his presence here and Roy Evans, who may be facing his last opportunity to bring silverware to Anfield, would not wish to be thought of in those terms.

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