Vargas penalty crowns a historic night for Fiorentina

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The Independent Online

If Liverpool or their supporters want to point the finger of blame at someone else rather than their own team for their exit from the Champions League, they can take their pick from Aly Cissokho or Juan Vargas.

It was Cissokho, the Lyons defender, whose foul after 28 minutes gave away the penalty that Vargas converted. It was enough for Fiorentina to beat the French side and simultaneously eliminate Rafael Benitez's side, despite their victory in Hungary. The Italians visit Anfield in a fortnight but Liverpool cannot catch Fiorentina or Lyons. The Reds are certain to finish third in their group and so will make a rather unwanted debut in the Europa League in February, at the last 32 stage.

Fiorentina, who now top Group E, deserved to win, having hit the post twice before Vargas's penalty. It meant Cesare Prandelli's side reached the last 16 of the Champions League for the first time in their history.

The hosts survived a scare in injury time when Lisandro Lopez, the Lyons substitute, almost rounded off a period of intense pressure with an equaliser, but Sebastian Frey kept his shot out at the near post. A draw would have kept Liverpool's faint hopes alive.

Instead a win at Anfield for the side from Tuscany will see them as one of the top seeds when the draw for the last 16 is made next month. A draw without Liverpool's name in the hat.

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