Sports betting: European Cup can be made in Milan

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The Independent Online
MILAN, THE Italian league champions, can relieve Manchester United of the European Cup. Dominance in football is transitory and the Champions' League is bogus because it contains last season's creme de la creme and often excludes those subsequently taking centre stage in their domestic leagues.

Enter Milan. While Manchester United were dispatching Internazionale and Juventus, clubs enduring such moderate Serie A seasons that only Juventus (and that via the Intertoto Cup) made it into Europe this term, Milan were producing a storming run to cut down classy Lazio and land the scudetto. True, United were winning the Premiership at the same time but, while the English league is tougher, the Italian one has more class. Put the top six clubs in Italy against their English counterparts and there would be no contest.

Lazio, with a line-up which included Juan Sebastian Veron and Marcelo Salas, gave a warning of difficulties to come in Monaco last Friday night. And Milan, with Andriy Shevchenko, Oliver Bierhoff, and George Weah up front, promise to give Chelsea a torrid time in Group H, although they are no betting proposition at odds-on to win the section.

Lazio should outclass their Group A rivals but are also poor value, which also applies to Borussia Dortmund in Group C, Manchester United in Group D, Real Madrid in Group E, and Bordeaux in Group G.

However, Arsenal could surprise in Group B. Bayern Munich, beaten finalists last term and German champions again, look a good bet to secure Group F.

Suggested bets: pounds 1 on Milan to win the European Cup at 7-1 (Ladbrokes); pounds 1 on Arsenal to win Group B at 9-4 (Coral); pounds 1 on Bayern Munich to win Group F at evens (Ladbrokes). (pounds 3 staked).



Man Utd 9-2 9-2 7-2 9-2 9-2

Milan 11-2 13-2 7-1 13-2 7-1

Lazio 13-2 6-1 7-1 15-2 7-1

Barcelona 10-1 9-1 8-1 10-1 9-1

Bayern Munich 11-1 9-1 10-1 10-1 11-1

Real Madrid 9-1 10-1 10-1 10-1 11-1

Chelsea 14-1 16-1 14-1 14-1 12-1

Arsenal 20-1 16-1 14-1 14-1 20-1

Bor Dortmund 14-1 14-1 20-1 20-1 14-1

Fiorentina 11-1 20-1 20-1 20-1 22-1

Rangers 40-1 33-1 33-1 40-1 50-1

Each-way 1/2 odds, places 1,2, others on application