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Owen rescues Liverpool at Olimpija


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LJUBLJANA, Slovenia -- Michael Owen saved a lethargic Liverpool from UEFA Cup embarrassment at the hands of Slovenia's Olimpija Ljubljana with a late equalizer in their first round, first leg tie.

Anton Zlogar had given the home side the lead on 66 minutes but Owen salvaged a 1-1 draw 12 minutes from time when he met Jon Arne Riise's cross with a glancing header into the net.

Owen's goal was his 21st in European competition for Liverpool, surpassing Ian Rush's record 20-goal tally for the club.

Olimpija defended stubbornly against the English giants, despite losing three defenders to injury before the break.

Zlogar's came against the run of play, the striker following up after Nedim Jusufbegovic's shot from outside the area cannoned back off the post.

A few minutes later Olimpija coach Suad Besirevic was sent off after protesting about a tackle by Steven Gerrard on Jusufbegovic.

"I am not completely satisfied. It would have been better if it had stayed 1-0, so we could have hoped to have a chance in Liverpool," Besirevic said.

"I told my players they have nothing to lose. The pressure was all on the other side and I must say they left their hearts on the pitch."

Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier said: "We didn't take our chances but Olimpija took the only one they had so they deserve this result. The pitch did not allow us to play a fluent game."


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