Standard keep semi-final hopes alive

Standard de Liège have lost their Europa League quarter-final first leg 2-1 at Hamburg SV. The result keeps their hopes to reach the last four alive, with the return match in Standard to come next week.

It was yet again Congolese striker Dieumerci Mbokani who scored an important goal for Standard. Mbokani headed home a Sebastian Pocognoli corner kick after 31 minutes after some poor defending by Hamburg (photo on top: Mbokani celebrating with midfielders Mehdi Carcela (left) and Axel Witsel (right)). 

It was Standard's reward after putting up the pressure in the German penalty area. However, the Hamburg answer was strong and came fast.

First, Standard escaped when Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy hit the post with a thundering shot for Hamburg. Only minutes later, Hamburg were given a penalty and Croatia forward Mladen Petric levelled the score (photo).

Before the break, the turnaround was complete. Just three minutes later, Van Nistelrooy was quick to deflect the ball past Standard goalkeeper Sinan Bolat. In the second half, both teams had excellent chances to score, but neither did.

Van Nistelrooy had a compliment for Standard after the match: "We thought they would stay back in defence but they played good football. I think we also played well and got a good result which leaves everything open."