Dudek Looks Like A Winner

Times Staff Writer

Outstanding goalkeeping by Poland's Jerzy Dudek and goals by England internationals Steven Gerrard and Michael Owen gave Liverpool a 2-0 victory over Manchester United on Sunday in the English League Cup final in front of 72,000 at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.

Liverpool has won the trophy a record seven times, to go along with the club's record 18 English league championships and English-record four European Cup titles.

Dudek was back to his best after a midseason spell that saw him replaced in the nets by backup Chris Kirkland until Kirkland suffered a season-ending injury. Dudek dealt confidently and flawlessly with shots by Paul Scholes, Juan Sebastian Veron and Ruud van Nistelrooy and with the crosses sent into his area by David Beckham and Ryan Giggs.

"It just shows how things can be in football," Liverpool Coach Gerard Houllier told Reuters. "Things can hit rock bottom and then the next day you are a hero."

Manchester United Coach Alex Ferguson agreed.

"Dudek won Liverpool the Cup," he said. "I don't know how many saves he made, but every one was fantastic."

Gerrard gave Liverpool the lead in the 39th minute with a 30-yard shot that deflected slightly off Beckham on its way into the net. Owen wrapped up the victory, which guarantees Liverpool a place in the UEFA Cup next season, when he capped a 40-yard run with a goal four minutes from the end.

Burgos Surgery

Former Argentina national team goalkeeper German Burgos, 33, the starter for Atletico Madrid in Spain's La Liga, underwent surgery in Madrid on Saturday to remove a malignant tumor in his kidney and was reported doing well after the operation.

"Everything went perfectly, despite the fact that it was a very complicated operation," surgeon Miguel Litton told reporters at the Cemtro Clinic in the Spanish capital.

"We were able to save the kidney and are very optimistic about the future."

Burgos, a former River Plate star who favors shoulder-length hair and has a rock band, played 34 times for Argentina before retiring from international competition in November.

Litton said he should be able to return to training in two months.

Red Cards for All

A match between Bangu and Olaria in Brazil's preseason Carioca tournament had to be abandoned over the weekend when the referee Jose Ezequiel red-carded the entire Olaria team.

The incident occurred after Ezequiel had awarded Bangu a penalty kick with 10 minutes left in the scoreless game. The entire Oralia bench and Coach Sergio Cosme rushed onto the field in protest.

The coach and all his players stood on the penalty spot for 20 minutes, arguing the call and preventing the kick from being taken, before Ezequiel finally ran out of patience and ejected the entire team.

Greek Threats

Dusan Bajevic, the Serbian coach of Greek power AEK Athens, lashed out Sunday at unidentified fans of the club who have mailed him death threats in an effort to get him to resign.

"I am not leaving AEK now, especially when they are sending me bullets to my house," Bajevic told reporters after a victory that lifted the team into third place in the Greek league.

"I send them a message too. If they hurt anyone from my family, I will kill the ringleader and then whoever committed the crime."

Meyer Out

Hans Meyer, 60, resigned Saturday as coach of Borussia Moenchengladbach after the latest in a series of poor results left the five-time former champion struggling in 16th place in the 18-team German Bundesliga. He was replaced by Ewald Lienen, a former Moenchengladbach player.

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