Manchester United, one of the world’s wealthiest clubs and a two-time European champion, suffered a shocking defeat Wednesday when it lost, 1-0, in Budapest to Hungarian champion ZTE Zalaegerszeg, in the first game of a two-game qualifying series for the European Champions League.
The lone goal, scored in the first minute of injury time by substitute Bela Koplarovics after a mistake by defender Phil Neville, means that United will have to win the second game Aug. 27 to qualify for the 32-team Champions League.
Manchester was without France goalkeeper Fabian Barthez and England defender Rio Ferdinand, both injured, but should have overwhelmed Zalaegerszeg, which in May became Hungarian champion for only the first time in its 82-year history.
But the Budapest club was inspired by Coach Peter Boszik, whose father, Joseph Boszik, was one of the “Magic Magyars,” the great Hungarian national team that defeated England, 6-3, in a historic game at Wembley in 1953 and that reached the World Cup final the following year.
Making the English team even more uncomfortable, Wednesday’s game was played at sold-out Ferenc Puskas Stadium, where Boszik’s Hungary demolished England, 7-1, in 1954.
“It was a shock result,” said Manchester United Coach Alex Ferguson. “They had one attempt, one goal.”
Six other former European champions are involved in qualifying and four of the six are comfortably positioned to advance.
* Four-time champion Bayern Munich traveled to Yugoslavia, where it shut out Partizan Belgrade, 3-0, on goals by Michael Tarnat, Jens Jeremies and Claudio Pizarro.
* Five-time champion AC Milan eked out a 1-0 victory at home over Slovan Liberec of the Czech Republic on a Filippo Inzaghi goal and faces a difficult road game against the Czechs.
* Two-time champion Inter Milan, playing without the still-unhappy Ronaldo, managed a 0-0 tie against Sporting Lisbon in Portugal.
* Barcelona won, 3-0, at home against Legia Warsaw of Poland, with Argentine newcomer Juan Roman Riquleme scoring his debut goal for the Spanish club and Dutchmen Frank de Boer and Philip Cocu getting the others.
* Scotland’s Celtic stunned its 58,520 fans in Glasgow by falling behind to Switzerland’s FC Basel after only 90 seconds, but recovered to win, 3-1, as Henrik Larsson, Chris Sutton and Momo Sylla scored for the home team.
* Feyenoord of the Netherlands narrowly defeated Fenerbahce of Turkey, 1-0, in Rotterdam, where Japan World Cup striker Shinji Ono beat Turkey World Cup goalkeeper Rustu Recber. The return game in Istanbul will be a test for the Dutch winner of last season’s UEFA Cup.
The 16 teams that survive the qualifying stages join 16 automatic qualifiers in the Champions League, where the 32 teams will be divided into eight groups of four at a ceremony in Monaco on Aug. 29.
USA Ranked Ninth
The United States, which won the CONCACAF Gold Cup in February and reached the quarterfinals of the World Cup in June, on Wednesday achieved its highest placement when it was ranked ninth in the world by FIFA.
The Americans, whose previous best position in the monthly rankings was 11th, are tied with Italy for ninth place.
New Coach for Portugal
Agostinho Oliveira was named coach of Portugal’s national team on a trial basis and will be in charge for difficult road games against England on Sept. 7 and Sweden on Oct. 16.
He replaces Antonio Oliveira (no relation), who was fired after Portugal’s ouster in the first round of the World Cup.