US international Oguchi Onyewu had an up and down week as his Standard Liege hosted Parma on Thursday night in a UEFA Cup match, winning 2-1, only to be trounced 4-1 by Saint Trond in a return to league action on Sunday night
Onyewu started and went the distance in center defense as Liege hosted Serie A side Parma on matchday 3 – in its second game of UEFA Cup group play (Liege had a bye on matchday 2). In a hard-fought, physical match Onyewu received a yellow card for rough play, his first of the competition.
Liege had the majority of possession and pressured Parma’s defense from the outset. Despite the onslaught Parma weathered the storm and opened the scoring in the 43rd minute via a rapid counter-attack.
After the break, Liege continued to pressure the Parma goal and with better results as they scored in the 54th minute. In the 55th minute Onyewu got his head onto a corner kick and beat the goalie only to have it saved off the line by a Parmesan defender.
With the clock ticking down, Liege’s Brazilian defender Michel Garbini was able to score a dramatic injury-time winner on a direct free-kick.
“It was a good game,” noted Onyewu by telephone. “We had to win or we would have had no chance to advance.”
“We had a bunch of chances to score. If we hadn’t won it would have been terrible. I had a couple of chances on corners. I beat the goalie on one but it was cleared off the line. It was a physical match. They were a bunch of cheap, dirty players; diving, pushing and just dirty. We were the better team.”
Returning to league play on Sunday night Liege traveled to Saint Trond and were trounced 4-1.
“I don’t want to say we were tired,” said Onyewu. “It was a bad game. Sometimes, it’s hard to play games back to back and keep up the same level of play.
The loss dropped Liege to seventh place with 23 points from 14 matches, 15 points behind leader FC Bruges.
With the win over Parma, Liege is one of the four teams in Group B with three points. Liege will travel to Turkey to meet Besitkas for matchday 4 on Wednesday in an important contest that will go far to defining if Liege will be one of three teams in the five team group who will advance to the next round of the tournament.
Original Article written by Aris Ohanessian