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FOOTBALL

Liverpool survive scare to beat Young Boys

Liverpool nearly paid the price for fielding a near second-string side for their Europa League Group A opener with Swiss side Young Boys in Bern on Thursday, but held on to win a thrilling match 5-3.

Captain Steven Gerrard, goalkeeper Jose Reina, striker Luis Suarez, first-choice defenders Glen Johnson, Martin Skrtel, Daniel Agger and Welsh international midfield playmaker Joe Allen all remained behind on Merseyside.

And Brendan Rodgers' decision seemed it might backfire against a doughty Swiss side in a match with goal-scoring opportunities galore.

Liverpool, in their 100th UEFA Cup and Europa League match, went 1-0 up after just four minutes thanks to a most bizzare Juhani Ojala own goal.

A defensive header by Christoph Spycher rebounded off Ojala's own head into the net past hapless 'keeper Marco Wolfli.

But Raphael Nuzzolo pulled one back for Young Boys before Andre Wisdom made it 2-1 for Liverpool at the break.

The home side shot into the lead with goals from Ojala and, thanks to an excellent finish, Gonzalo Zarate in the 63rd minute.

But Sebastian Coates got one back to draw the Reds level, and impressive 20-year-old replacement Jonjo Shelvey bagged a brace to give the scoreline a slightly more healthy hue than it deserved.

Rodgers, whose team tackle Manchester United in the Premier League on Sunday, said he always had faith in his young players.

"I don't see it as courageous or brave, I just trust in my players," he said.

"They are still coming to grips with how I want to play, we've got a long way to go. The most important characteristic is our fight.

"So perfect result, good performance, we'll reflect and learn from that also, which is important. It's great to get three points from the first game."

In Group G, FC Basel left Portugal with a point after a scoreless draw with Sporting Lisbon.

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FOOTBALL

‘Overwhelmed’: Unaware Swiss super fan stunned about viral fame

A Swiss super fan who has shot to fame after images of him watching Switzerland’s win over France went viral told the media he was unaware of his viral fame - but that he was overwhelmed with the world’s attention.

‘Overwhelmed’: Unaware Swiss super fan stunned about viral fame
Image: Twitter.

Like most Swiss football fans, Luca Loutenbach’s Monday evening – highlighted by a surprise upset win over the current World Champions and tournament favourite France – went about as well as you could have expected. 

But while his side were putting on the pressure through late goals to push the game into extra time, Loutenbach’s image was being shared across the world. 

Two pictures of Loutenbach, juxtaposed from before and after Switzerland scored an equaliser in the 90th minute to send the game to extra time, were widely shared. 

The images were even shared by Sadiq Kahn, the mayor of London, who congratulated Switzerland and said the images summed up the beauty of football. 

On Tuesday, Loutenbach spoke with Swiss tabloid Blick to tell the story. He said he had no idea about the images as his phone had no reception in Romania – and only found out after the game. 

“I didn’t have a network during the game. But some fans around me were connected to the internet and quickly realized what was happening. What an incredible buzz!” said the man from the canton of Jura. 

While Switzerland have made it further than they have in their history in the tournament, Loutenbach is far from a bandwagon fan. He told Blick he’s seen around 50 national team games before. 

“It’s the most beautiful day in the history of Swiss football, let’s not be afraid of saying it. It is the accomplishment of the immense work of the ASF (Federation), of (coach) Petkovic and of the whole team” he said. 

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