Football: Reds may still meet in Europe

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The Independent Online
MANCHESTER UNITED and Arsenal may be destined for a Champions' League quarter-final showdown next year. Uefa rules stipulating that two teams from the same country cannot be drawn together at the league stage are scrapped in the last eight, raising the possibility of an all-England confrontation.

United and Arsenal - who had initially been drawn together in Group D - are both leading their groups and on course to reach the next stage. The prospect of an all-Premiership last-eight game is a real one with the round being drawn at random - the only rules being that winners and runners-up from the same group cannot be drawn together, nor the two runners- up. Only the six group winners and two best-placed runners-up qualify, with Olympiakos and Kaiserslautern favourites to make the quarter-finals, while some more recognised clubs are struggling to avoid embarrassing elimination at the group stage.

Ten-man Santos held on grimly for a goalless draw away to Rosario Central to win the South American Conmebol Cup on Wednesday, the first time that Pele's former club has won a major trophy in 14 years.

Santos, who were all-conquering when the man often called the Athlete of the Century played for them in the 1960s, won the final 1-0 on aggregate after Wednesday's stalemate to claim their first title since the Paulista championship in 1984.

The Brazilians survived despite having midfielder Eduardo Marques sent off early in the second half and were greatly indebted to goalkeeper Zetti, who made a string of fine saves.

Although the Conmebol Cup has never enjoyed the same success as Europe's Uefa Cup, the competition on which it is based, a hostile 45,000 crowd packed the stadium.

Santos were given a hot reception after the first leg two weeks ago which saw five players, three of them from Rosario, plus Santos coach Emerson Leao, sent off.

Santos' success was the fifth time a Brazilian side had won the competition since it began in 1992.