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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League about an hour ago
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By ESPN Staff
Aug 22, 2006

Liverpool survives scare from Haifa

AC Milan and Liverpool advanced to the first round of the European Champions League on Tuesday along with Benfica and Hamburg SV.

AC Milan, a six-time champion whose berth was in doubt because of Italy's match-fixing scandal, won 2-1 at Red Star Belgrade on goals by Filippo Inzaghi and Clarence Seedorf to win the home-and-home, total-goals qualifier on 3-1 aggregate.

Originally, AC Milan qualified for the Champions League by finishing second in Italy's Serie A last season. But it was penalized 30 points in last season's standings, moving it down to fourth and forcing it into the third round of qualifying. It will be penalized eight points in this season's Serie A standings.

Juventus was stripped of its last two Serie A titles and demoted to Serie B, and its Champions League berth was taken away.

After AC Milan built a 2-0 lead, Dusan Djokic scored for Red Star in the 80th.

Liverpool, which won its fifth title in 2005, tied Maccabi Haifa 1-1 at Kiev to advance on 3-2 aggregate. The game was moved by the Union of European Football Associations to the Ukraine capital because of the current conflict in Israel.

Peter Crouch headed in Liverpool's goal in the 54th minute, but Roberto Colautti tied it nine minutes later after Brazilian midfielder Anderson dribbled past four players and his shot was blocked by goalkeeper Pepe Reina.

Benfica, a two-time champion, won 3-0 at visiting Austria Vienna to advance on 4-1 aggregate, getting goals from Rui Costa, Nuno Gomes and Armando Petit.

Hamburg SV tied 1-1 at Spain's Osasuna following a 0-0 draw at home and advanced on away goals. The German club, which won the title in 1983, fell behind on Carlos Cuellar's goal in the sixth minute, then tied the score in the 74th on Nigel De Jong's goal off Rafael van der Vaart's cross.

Eleven more qualifiers are set for Wednesday, and eight four-team groups for the first round will be drawn Thursday.