Football: Roux's hell in Troyes

European round-up

Auxerre go into Wednesday's European Cup quarter-final against Borussia Dortmund in bad form and a bad mood after being knocked out of the French Cup by second division Troyes on Friday night.

David Merdy sent the home crowd wild when he headed the winner in injury time against the side who won the French Cup and league championship double last season. Already out of the League Cup and 13 points adrift of the leaders, Monaco, in the first division, Auxerre have only one realistic remaining hope of a trophy this season in the European Cup, having surprisingly finished top of their Champions' League group.

Their coach, Guy Roux, was critical of his players, saying: "Some big names had a small game. The attitude of the club in the French Cup deserved an upset like that. Sure we're going through a bad phase, but it didn't start today."

Bernard Diomede and Lilian Laslandes and Christian Henna all missed good chances to con- tinue a worrying trend for Auxerre, who have now not scored in their last four matches.

"The European Cup? That's another problem," Roux said. Auxerre play the first leg in Dortmund and host the return two weeks later.

Monaco, who play Newcastle at St James' Park in the Uefa Cup quarter- final first leg on Tuesday, also have their problems as their coach, Jean Tigana, has been banned from the bench and the referee's dressing room for four games for insulting a match official.

The French football federation said in a statement that the ban was for insulting the referee Laurent Duhamel after Monaco's French Cup first round match at second division Laval in January, which they lost 1-0.

A greater loss to the club will be their Belgian international Enzo Scifo who looks like returning to Anderlecht on a three-year contract.

One country who will not be seeing any football action in the foreseeable future is Albania, where all matches have been postponed indefinitely until the country's interior ministry can guarantee security after a wave of unrest over a pyramid savings scheme scandal.

The Albanian football federation secretary-general, Eduard Dervishi, said first division club officials had decided to postpone further matches until peace had returned to the Balkan state. "The championship is indefinitely postponed until the situation all around the country calms down," Dervishi said.

There is growing pressure from Germany and Ukraine to hold next month's World Cup Group Nine qualifying matches against Albania in another country.

Sports events were halted a month ago when violent protests sparked by the collapse of pyramid savings schemes swept the country. Some protesters have lost their life savings in the investment swindle.

The unrest caused the cancellation of a friendly against Macedonia last week as Skopje authorities refused to allow players to travel to Tirana.

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