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Football

Garcia goal breaks Alkmaar hearts


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Sporting players celebrate reaching the UEFA Cup final in dramatic fashion

ALKMAAR, Netherlands -- A goal from Miguel Garcia in injury time at the end of extra time put Sporting Lisbon into the UEFA Cup final and left AZ Alkmaar heartbroken.

The Dutch side were on the way to the final, when Kew Jaliens gave them a 3-1 lead on the night, and 4-3 on aggregate, in the ninth minute of extra time.

But in an astonishing climax, Garcia headed in a corner in the second minute of injury time to make the final score 3-2 to Alkmaar and 4-4 on aggregate, to put Sporting through on away goals.

The Portuguese side will now face CSKA Moscow, who beat Parma 3-0, in the final at their own Jose Alvalade stadium on May 18.

Alkmaar, who were runners-up to Ipswich Town in the UEFA Cup in 1981, started brightly and stunned Sporting with an opening goal after six minutes.

Moroccan international Tarik Sektioui got to the byline and his cross was met by Sebastien Perez who headed in past Ricardo in goal.

It could have been 2-0 just two minutes later but Perez was unfortunate to see his curling free-kick come back off the post.

Sporting gradually played their way into the match and leveled the scores on the night, but edged ahead on aggregate, in first half injury time.

Anderson Polga drove a dangerous cross into the box where Brazilian striker Liedson was on hand to slot the ball in past Henk Timmer in the Alkmaar goal.

But Alkmaar then took the lead on the night and leveled the tie on aggregate when substitute Stein Huysegems scored in the 78th minute after fellow substiture Ali Elkhattabi had seen his shot rebound off the goalkeeper.

Nine minutes from the final whistle, Huysegems could have won it, but his goalbound shot was cleared to safety by a fine tackle from Miguel Garcia and the tie headed for extra-time.

In the 19th minute of extra-time, full-back Jaliens buried what the Dutch hoped would be the winner hitting the ball past Ricardo on the half volley.

But just as the little Dutch side were dreaming of the final, up popped Garcia to deliver the killer blow.


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