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Back in the scoring habit

Norwegian international Stig Bjornebye marked his debut in European club competition tonight by getting back in the scoring habit for Liverpool in Finland.

Bjornebye got his first ever goal for the club on the opening day of the season in the 3-3 draw with Middlesbrough.
Tonight his strike in the 61st minute divided the two sides and Liverpool go into the second leg of this first round of Cup Winners' Cup match which should prove to be a vital advantage.

Yet Liverpool found it hard going in the first half against the Finnish side, made up of students and workers from the local paper mill.
But in the second half Liverpool stepped up the pace and the home crowd saw the visitors' fitness pay off in the end.
It was a welcome return to Scandinavia for Bjornebye, whose form and fitness has been a bonus for manager Roy Evans.
Bjornebye played only two matches all last season after breaking his leg against Southampton in April 1995.
He has been ever present this season and his goal was struck with all the authority of a man whose confidence is sky-high.
A cross from Jason McAteer was only half-cleared and Bjornebye smashed the ball home with his left foot from just inside the area after 61 minutes.

It was Liverpool's first goal in four matches of European competition as they failed to score against Brondby and Vladikavkaz last season.

Liverpool dominated in the last half-hour and could have had two more goals with Robbie Fowler seeing an exquisite chip clip the top of the bar, then Michael Thomas saw a wickedly curving shot hit the outside of the post.
My-Pa, who knocked Motherwell out of the UEFA Cup last season, included former Aston Villa defender David Moore and Chester-born striker John Allen, a Liverpool fan, in their line-up.

The Merseyside team found it hard to carve out many decent opportunities in this soccer outpost -- only 60 miles from the Russian border -- in the first half.

McAteer thumped a shot into the arms of goalkeeper Petri Jakonen who then spilt a dangerous corner from Bjornebye, and although Phil Babb's shot was on target, Mika Viljanen was able to scramble the ball off the line.

The Finnish keeper then made a fine save after Stan Collymore had flicked on another dangerous cross from Bjornebye.
My-Pa began to wilt under the pressure and Liverpool were able to deal with any breakaways from the home side with a fair degree of comfort.

My-Pa have never won a home match in European competition but they made Liverpool work hard for their victory.
It will be a major shock now if they do not progress to the second round.

Liverpool manager Roy Evans tonight saluted goal-scoring hero Stig Bjornebye.
The Norwegian international gave Liverpool a 1-0 victory against My-Pa 47 in the first round first leg Cup Winners' Cup tie in Finland.
He scored only his second goal for the club in the 61st minute and Evans said: "It was fitting he should score. He was one of our best players along with Dominic Matteo and John Barnes. It was a good strike but we had to be patient for our opponents worked very hard. Stig has been doing a good job for us down the left-hand side and his confidence is high."

Bjornebye played only two matches all last season after breaking a leg in April 1995. His return to fitness and form has been a bonus for Evans.

The Finnish side have never won at home in European competition but Evans added: "They made it very difficult for us. They were very fit and very honest."

Evans kept £22 million worth of talent on the substitutes' bench and he said: "It is going to be difficult to keep them all happy but competition for places is fierce."

My-Pa coach Harry Kampman said: "We knew Liverpool are one of the top clubs in the world and I hope we can learn from this match. They didn't give us a chance to play the way we would have liked. We couldn't get the ball off them."

Liverpool now have a distinct advantage for the second leg in two weeks. My-Pa lost 7-1 to PSV Eindhoven in Holland last year.
Evans said: "It is pleasing to go back home with a victory but we know that we still have some work to do."

And he paid tribute to the Liverpool fans who made the trip to this little village which is only 60 miles from the Russian border.
"Its fantastic that people should take the trouble to travel so far and watch us," added Evans.

Copyright - Press Association

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