French blame Beckham


Bordeaux captain and goal-scorer Michel Pavon last night accused David Beckham of deliberately getting striker Lilian Laslandes sent off.

Beckham tumbled theatrically to the turf after Laslandes' 23rd minute challenge and Pavon said: "When a guy tackles 20 cm from the leg, that's not a foul. I say `well done' to Beckham. The referee fell into his trap."

Pavon also slammed Dutch referee Jan Wegereef, who gave Laslandes his second yellow card of the match. "Eleven against 11 that's hard. Ten against 11, that's even harder. But 10 against 12 is unplayable," he said.

Bordeaux coach Elie Baup was also unhappy with Wegereef. "For sure, the refereeing wasn't favourable for us tonight," Baup said. "Manchester didn't need to play with 12 men."

Not surprisingly, Alex Ferguson saw the incident differently: "To be honest I thought Laslandes didn't give himself a chance. He didn't give the referee a choice when he fouled Beckham and I felt there was only one decision," he said.

Meanwhile, Barcelona beat Porto 2-0 in Group A to book their place in the last eight. Barcelona once again rammed home their superiority over the Portuguese champions after their 4-2 victory in last week's clash at the Nou Camp.

Leading Group A on 10 points, four clear of Porto, it is now impossible for Barcelona to finish any worse than second with two games in this round remaining.

Abelardo put the Catalans ahead in the 37th minute from a corner taken by Luis Figo, with Rivaldo doubling up after the interval.

Valencia avenged a 1-0 defeat to Fiorentina last week by beating the Italians 2-0 in their return Group B match in Spain. Romanian striker Adrian Ilie scored in the 35th minute and Gaizka Mendieta converted an injury-time penalty.

It was a crushing defeat for Fiorentina, who thought they'd levelled the match in the closing minutes when they had a goal ruled offside with the score still at 1-0.

Hertha Berlin went out of the competition when Sparta Prague's Milan Fukal scored in the last minute to ensure a 1-0 win.