The AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani said last night that the club was closer to completing David Beckham's transfer from the Los Angeles Galaxy. "In the past few hours we have taken steps forward," Galliani told La Gazzetta dello Sport after arriving back in Milan following the team's 1-1 draw with Werder Bremen in the UEFA Cup on Wednesday. There have been conflicting reports in the past few days over the state of the negotiations following the expiration of last Friday's Major League Soccer-imposed deadline. It is now being suggested that next Tuesday is the most likely day for the deal to be completed. Milan's owner, Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, later said he was hopeful that the England international would remain at his club. Speaking after a meeting with British prime minister Gordon Brown, Berlusconi said: "I would like it if he stays with Milan because his passing is essential."
On the pitch, a late equaliser from Bremen's Brazilian international Diego denied AC Milan victory. The midfielder Diego rewarded a strong second-half display from the Bundesliga side six minutes from time by controlling Hugo Almeida's header with his chest before firing past Dida to secure a 1-1 draw. Filippo Inzaghi had put competition favourites Milan ahead on 36 minutes, the striker firing in a rebound after his own header from Mathieu Flamini's cross had been blocked. The holders Zenit St Petersburg began life without influential playmaker Andrei Arshavin by defeating VfB Stuttgart 2-1. Arshavin, instrumental in Zenit's first European triumph last year, completed a move to Arsenal earlier this month. The Ukraine international Anatoliy Tymoschuk blasted the Russian side 2-1 ahead in first-half stoppage time with a fierce shot after latching on to Danny's pass. New signing Szabolcs Huszti had fired Zenit ahead on his debut after two minutes, the Hungarian international pouncing on a rebound before Mario Gomez grabbed an away goal. The competition's leading scorer Vagner Love took his tally to nine this season with a first-half goal in CSKA Moscow's 1-1 draw in Birmingham with Aston Villa. Brazilian Love worked a one-two with strike partner Alan Dzagoyev before advancing to fire past keeper Brad Guzan and hand CSKA a 14th-minute lead. Norwegian striker John Carew capped a sustained spell of Villa pressure to sweep in the equaliser on 69 minutes. St Etienne secured an impressive 3-1 away win at Olympiakos Piraeus. Valencia drew 1-1 in Ukraine against Dynamo Kiev, Paris St Germain's striker Guillaume Hoarau scored twice in the final 10 minutes in a 2-0 home victory over VfL Wolfsburg and Hamburg SV all but booked their last 16 place after easing to a 3-0 win away to NEC Nijmegen. The final will be staged in Istanbul on May 20. email@example.com