14 March 2006
INTER 1-0 AJAX
This was an unbelievably poor match. Juanfran handled a cross, the ref pointed to the spot and Adriano missed the resulting penalty. Samuel launched a counter-counter attack after intercepting a pass and hitting the ball upto Stankovic who was free of Trabelsi as the defender had run upfield. Stankovic cut inside Maduro then curled the ball inside the right hand post. Excellent strike. Adriano missed an absolute sitter in injury time.
Adriano has been poor most of this year but this was probably one of his worst performances. He continually runs into traffic and despite all his power and pace his movement is downright appalling. Someone needs to make this guy sit down and watch tapes of Shevchenko because he just doesn't get it. Martins has also stagnated. On the bright side Figo was, once again, excellent. Despite this I still think Inter will have too much for Villarreal.
Inter win 3-2 on aggregate
Attendance : 70,000
Assist : Samuel
8 March 2006
LYON 4-0 PSV
Having earlier missed Lyon's best chance Malouda ran onto a Juninho through ball, skipped a tackle then rolled the ball across the face of goal for Tiago to slam into the roof of the net. Gomes tipped a Juninho drive against a post. PSV were doomed once Cocu got a second yellow for a nasty foul on Clerc. I wonder if Hiddink will claim PSV only lost because they were down to 10 men? In the fourth minute of first time injury time (how does that work?) Carew managed to head a Juninho free kick BACKWARDS when facing goal, Tiago, who was standing on the edge of the box, burst forward and thumped the ball into the bottom corner.
Wiltord poked in rebound after Fred drew a save from Gomes. Fred took out Aissati with a lollipop then crashed a left foot shot inside the post. Fantastic goal equalled by the celebration - he pulled a dummy (pacifier) out of his shorts and sucked on it! Excellent stuff.
With Juninho suspended for the first leg now would be as good a time as any for the big guns to draw Lyon.
Lyon win 5-0 on aggregate
Attendance : 39,000
Assists : Malouda, Carew, n/a, n/a
MILAN 4-1 BAYERN MUNICH
Bayern were trying to pass their way out of defence and Demichelis, under pressure from Pirlo, slipped. Serginho flicked up the ball as he ran onto it (he does this often) then whipped a brilliant cross to the back post and Inzaghi beat Shevchenko to head Milan into the lead. Vogel sent a volley flashing over the bar. Inzaghi won a penalty by hooking his arm around Ismael then falling after the defender tried to push him off. Shevchenko stepped up and sent the ball wide of a post prompting Kahn to hurl a volley of abuse at him. He should have kept his ginger mouth shut because two minutes later Shevchenko met Stam's cross perfectly, sending the ball wide of Kahn into the bottom corner. Dida's sloppy handling got Bayern back in the match. He spilled Schweinsteiger's fiercely struck free kick (it was more or less straight at him) and Ismael smashed in the rebound. Only a brilliant, point blank save from Dida prevented Bayern from equalising just before half time.
Ismael and Lizarazu helped Milan re-establish their two goal lead. Serginho controlled a Nesta long ball before firing a teasing low cross into the box, Ismael tired to clear but kicked the ball against Lizarazu and Inzaghi scored at the second attempt. Seedorf failed to take advantage of another mix-up in the Bayern defence. Kaka' finished off Bayern on the break. Shevchenko sent him through as the Bayern defence were caught playing a high offside trap. Inzaghi made a beeline for the back post for his hat-trick goal but Kaka' headed straight for Kahn and blasted the ball into the roof of the net. Milan stopped attacking and defended (they need the practice) and both Shevchenko and Kaka' were rested for Juve at the weekend. It's during this point that Bayern created most of their 21 shots, well I think they did because I can't remember that many before. Pizarro forced Dida into a save. Ze Roberto, on for Lizarazu (FFS retire), missed another chance. Ballack got a terrible connection on a cross and when he headed the ball at the second attempt he took a two handed punch to the face from Dida and Demichelis lashed the rebound over the bar. At the other end Seedorf should have done better after dribbling through the Bayern defence and gave Ambrosini a free header which he wasted. 5-1 would have been very harsh.
Ballack's representative ruled out a move to Inter because "Michael will only continue his career with a club who can win the Champions League." you'd figure that would rule out a move to Chelsea as well given central midfield would be awfully bogged down with Lampard, Essien and Makelele already there. He could do a lot worse than Milan. Bayern aren't going to challenge anytime soon, not until they get over this obsession with geriatrics and I realise that's a bit like the pot calling the kettle black but it's been five years since they reached the semi's.
Milan win 5-2 on aggregate
Attendance : 78,577
Assists : Serginho, Stam, n/a, n/a, Shevchenko
LIVERPOOL 0-2 BENFICA
Liverpool could have scored twice inside the first 10 minutes. Crouch's deflected effort bounced off the outside of a post and Carragher missed an open goal after Moretto flapped at a corner. Luis Garcia brought an outstanding 70 yard Xabi Alonso pass under control only to shoot about 100ft over. Crouch spurned another chance. Benfica's first notable effort came from a throw in. Nuno Gomes headed on the ball, Geovanni controlled on his chest then volleyed against the crossbar and Simao headed the rebound straight at Reina. Geovanni hustled Carragher into giving away the ball on the edge of his own penalty area, Warnock floored Robert as he tried to gather but it broke to Nuno Gomes. He played a great disguised pass to Simao who initially miss controlled, forcing Finnan to turn back, then feigned to shoot, taking him past Traore and Carragher, before unleashing a stunning shot which flew over Reina. Beto almost equalised for Liverpool, lashing a deflected cross just over. Carragher headed against a post, SHAME. Moretto made a spectacular save from Xabi Alonso and Luis Garcia had a goal disallowed by an Italian linesman after the ball apparently went out of play before swinging back in. On a rare counter attack Beto fired the ball into the box but Miccoli didn't get a proper connection however the ball spun in the air and the jumped up and sent a scissor kick into the bottom corner.
I though Benfica were screwed when the superb Petit was ruled out with a thigh injury. My personal, deep felt thanks to everyone associated with Benfica football club from the players, coaching staff, grounds-staff, tea lady, cleaners, ball boys and of course all the fans for ending the reign of the most unworthy champions in the entire history of this great competition.
Benfica win 3-0 on aggregate
Attendance : 44,121
Assists : Nuno Gomes, Beto
ARSENAL 0-0 REAL MADRID
A fatter than usual Ronaldo should have got Real level inside five minutes but headed straight at Lehmann. Reyes had a goal bound shot charged down by Salgado and Senderos should have down better from a Henry free kick. More Henry trickery (he was responsible for the previous two chances) left Reyes unmarked in front of goal but with only Casillas to beat he shot against the crossbar. Real broke immediately but a terrible first touch from, surprisingly, Zidane allowed Toure to clear.
Henry wasted a cross with a weak header. The games best chances fell to Raul. After Beckham headed back a longball he volleyed against the post and he seemed certain to score on the rebound only for Lehmann to make an unbelievable save. Poor finishing from Hleb and Henry could have sparred the Gunners a tense finish. Pires almost snatched a late winner on the break when Casillas came forward for a corner but Bobby Carlos used his pace to stop the ball from creeping over the line.
I was watching the news and one of the idiots at the BBC claimed Arsenal had taken the most prized scalp in Europe or some such bollocks and should fear no one. HORSESHIT. I don't want to take away anything from a fine victory and Wenger's tactics but, as I keep saying, it's 2006 not 2002. Real Madrid are a team of ageing stars and I'm convinced Arsenal will struggle against a side that can actually tackle.
Arsenal win 1-0 on aggregate
Attendance : 38,000
Assist : n/a
7 March 2006
BARCELONA 1-1 CHELSEA
Good God this was shit. I fell asleep in the second half and woke up just in time to see Crespo, on as a substitute for the awful Drogba, flash a volley wide of the post. After about an hour that was the best chance. The only other thing of significance was Messi leaving (for Larsson) with a hamstring injury on 25 minutes and Mourinho giving Bam Bam Puyol a friendly slap in the tunnel. The goal came from nowhere and was another Ronaldinho masterpiece. Barca were passing the ball up and down the right flank before Larsson found to Eto'o who was 30 or so yards from goal. He laid the ball back to Ronaldinho before darting into the box. With a sudden turn of pace Ronaldinho went right at the Chelsea defence, going past two players and most impressively sending Chelsea captain John Terry crashing to the ground as he ran through a tackle before firing under Cech, who probably should have done better. Eto'o pounced on a mistake by Ferreira and made the defender look extraordinarily slow and he flew past and cut in from the left only to see his shot bounce off the inside of a post. Merck gave Chelsea an absolute gift of a penalty after Terry slipped when challenging GVB for the ball. Lampard converted and as soon as both teams returned to the centre circle Merck blew for full time.
Mourinho refused to admit Barcelona were the better team over two legs and once again focused on Del Horno's dismissal. His lack of humility will be his downfall. The English media have turned against him after blatant double standards and poor sportsmanship in recent weeks. This them against us policy is like pissing in the wind i.e. it's counter productive. People claimed Abramovich would quit Chelsea once he got bored. That's nonsense, if anything it's Mourinho who will quit. I give him until the end of next season, no Europe Cup and he's gone claming a Pan-European conspiracy. He used to be charming, in an anarchistic way, now he's just a moaning brat.
Barcelona win 3-2 on aggregate
Attendance : 98,000
Assists : Eto'o, Terry (won pen)
VILLARREAL 1-1 RANGERS
Viera was forced into making a seventh minute save from Buffel after the midfielder played a one-two with Lovenkrands on the edge of the box before blasting a shot at goal. Villarreal were caught playing the ball around in defence. Ferguson forced Josico into making a hospital pass to Lovenkrands, he sprayed the ball wide to Buffel, Viera made a mess of his through ball as Ferguson bore down on goal and Lovenkrands tapped into the bottom corner. Forlan wasted a great chance on the break.
Rangers were caught napping on a throw in. Riquelme did his usual slow motion dribbling to shake off two players before finding Forlan with a marvellous disguised pass, Forlan fired the ball across the face of goal, Franco tried a back heel but made a complete mess of it fortunately Arruabarrena arrived to score at the back post. Krygiakos and Boyd missed great chances to restore Rangers lead while France failed to score what would have been a cruel winner in the fifth minute of injury time.
Match is drawn 3-3 on aggregate, Villarreal win on away goals.
Attendance : 28,000
Assists : n/a, n/a
JUVENTUS 2-1 BREMEN
Dear oh dear oh dear oh dear. This is a match Bremen goalkeeper Wiese will not forget for the rest of his life. The basic story of this match was he saved everything, almost.
A fantastic pass from Schulz tore open the Juve defence, Micoud found himself in acres of space on the left, Zebina was distracted as Vieira fell, and calmly lobbed the ball over Buffon as he came off his line. Schulz almost scored an own goal when attempting to clear a longball. From the resulting corner Wiese made an unbelievable point blank save from Ibrahimovic. Nedved got Micoud booked with another shameful dive, he is so going to get his comeuppance for these continued theatrics. Bremen almost snatched a second through Klasnic after a mistake by Thuram but Buffon bailed him out. Right on half time Wiese made another unbelievable point blank save when Emerson snapped at a rebound after Wiese parried a drive from Nedved.
Bremen briefly rallied early in the second half, Klasnic flashed a half volley wide and Borowski missed a great chance following more bad, bad Juve defending. Speaking of bad defending Del Piero was allowed to flick on a long ball, Trezeguet chipped over Owomoyela sending Nedved in on goal, as he tried to control the still bouncing ball Trezeguet took it off his feet and slotted into the bottom corner. Wiese made another stunning save as Mutu's free kick was headed for the inside post then it went horribly wrong. Juve got a second bite at a corner and as the Bremen defence tried to clear their lines, Nedved sent the ball back into the box, straight into the arms of Wiese who, for some reason (time wasting?), decided to fall on his knees and roll over after he caught it, problem was he dropped the ball straight at Emerson's feet and the Brazilian, who got a shout from Cannavaro (he cried "Puma"), without looking hit the ball as he turned and it agonisingly tricked into the net.
Well what can you say to Wiese expect YOU COMPLETE ARSE. Actually I don't think that will help in anyway. Juve's defending is staggeringly poor, they can't afford to play like this in the next round.
Match is drawn 4-4 on aggregate, Juventus win on away goals.
Attendance : 40,226
Assists : Schulz, Nedved, n/a
22 February 2006
CHELSEA 1-2 BARCELONA
Cech made a great save to deny Ronaldinho after Oleguer beat Del Horno down Chelsea's left and pulled the ball back, via Eto'o. Del Horno should have been sent off SIX TIMES for an appalling challenge on Messi. With studs showing he slammed a boot into Messi's left thigh then dragged his foot down, tearing part of the fabric in Messi's cycling shorts. The referee, possibly realising his mistake, sent Del Horno off for a far less severe challenge on the Argentinean teenager minutes later. While Messi was rolling along the grass, Del Horno was clutching his throat looking for sympathy, pillock. Barca should have been awarded a penalty for a blatant Geremi handball.
Barca's mean weak link, Valdes, ran into the back of Motta as he was trying to hack clear a Lampard free kick and the ball bounced off his knee into the back of the net. Terry returned the favour by heading Ronaldinho's free kick past Cech. Messi curled a shot against the crossbar, Terry twice cleared off the line and shortly after the awful Drogba blew a chance on the break, Marquez whipped Larsson's lay-off to the back post and Eto'o headed past Cech to give Barca a totally deserved victory.
I can't be bothered to talk about Mourinho's whining what I will be interested in are his comments after Barca thrash Chelsea in the return. As for the red card I imagine people will be pissing and moaning over it while at the same time ignoring Del Horno's CRIMINAL foul minutes earlier. Any journalist who failed to pick up on that should have his press privileges removed and hand them over to me so I could question Mourinho on the incident and call him a hypocrite to his face. I have a lot of time for Mourinho but none for double standards.
Attendance : 39,521
Red Card : Del Horno 37 (Chelsea)
Assists : n/a, n/a, Larsson
RANGERS 2-2 VILLARREAL
Prso hung his head in shame after gifting the away side a penalty with a monumentally stupid handball. Waterrus didn't get anywhere near the penalty but made a fantastic double save from Jose Mari. Burke had his surging run stopped by a feeble challenge from Gonzalo however the ball fell kindly to Lovenkrands and he smashed it first time into the top corner, brilliant goal. Rangers tried to play offside as Riquelme headed back a clearance leaving Gonzalo, Forlan and Jose Mari alone in the box, Gonzalo took a touch before leaving Forlan to blast Villarreal back into the lead. Waterrus was getting no help from his defence, another poorly sprung offside trap let in Forlan but he saved brilliantly. Prso headed on a goalkick to Buffel and Peria spectacularly sent the Belgian's cross looping over his own 'keeper.
Villarreal appeared to slack of in the second half. Rangers may have made a real game of this but for their offside trap.
Attendance : 49,500
Assists : n/a, n/a, Gonzalo, n/a
BREMEN 3-2 JUVENTUS
The first real chance fell to Bremen. Klose, making a quicker than expected return from injury, floating a cross to the back post, Frings blasted a volley at goal forcing Buffon into making a great save and from the resulting corner and even better one from Fahrenhorst. There was a simply unforgivable miss by Ibrahimovic, who has to be one of the worst finishers of all time in relation to his ability. He almost made amends with a snapshot. Juve got into all sorts of trouble when Klasnic hit a backheel between Thuram and Blasi, Buffon was quick off his line and blocked from Schulz, Nedved and Cannavaro charged down from Klose on the follow up but as Cannavaro tried to clear he passed to Schulz leaving him with a tap-in. Bremen, who were defending far too high up the pitch, got another reprieve when Vieira went clear through on the break. The first half stats made embarrassing reading for Juve, 70-30% possession and 17-2 shots in favour of the home side.
The problem for Bremen was their insane offside trap. Del Piero, on as a sub for Ibrahimovic, surged down the left before passing to Vieira, he slipped in Nedved and he feigned to shoot before lobbing over Wiese. More bad, bad defending gave Juve an unlikely lead. Naldo back heeled Del Piero's hopeful cross upto Trezeguet and he leapt above Owomoyela to head into the net. Bremen hit back quickly, Borowski got ahead of Thuram to turn in Frings cross. Buffon was called into action again when Emerson's slip let into Frings. In injury time Borowski forced a corner then fired the ball into the box, Owomoyela headed goalwards and Micoud launched himself at the ball on the line, forcing it in via Del Piero. According to UEFA Valdes headed on the corner, you'd think they would be able to tell the difference between those two.
Juve are the masters at overturning first leg deficits. I don't expect Bremen to end that particular trend in a fortnight. Great game.
Attendance : 37,000
Assists : n/a, Vieira, n/a, Frings, Owomoyela
AJAX 2-2 INTER
Ajax won a series of headers against Samuel, Cordoba appeared to clear the danger but Rosales controlled the defenders clearance on his chest and volleyed a cross towards Huntelaar who got between Stankovic and Samuel to head Ajax into the lead. Emanuelson, who has pace to burn, forced Cordoba back into his box and into making a hurried clearance, he gathered the ball before being closed down by Cambiasso but recovered for a second time and flashed a pass across the face of goal and Rosales turned it in via a deflection off Stankovic. Inter woke up late in the half, forcing a goal-line clearance and hit the crossbar twice in quick succession.
Cruz headed on a Figo corner to Stankovic, he swapped passes with Cambiasso before scoring via a double deflection off Heitinga and Maduro. Figo forced a save from Stekelenburg before helping make the equaliser with a fantastic pass between two Ajax players, Cambiasso rolled the ball on for Cruz to tap in.
With the way Inter have been playing recently I don't think the second leg is a forgone conclusion.
Attendance : 46,663
Assists : Rosales, Emanuelson, n/a, Cambiasso
21 February 2006
PSV 0-1 LYON
Coupet made a great save from a Vennegoor header and man mountain Alex almost snapped the crossbar in half with a ferocious free kick. Lyon didn't get going until the second half introduction of Wiltord. Gomes flapped at one of his corners but was bailed out when Aissati headed off the line. A few minutes later he was left with egg on his face when Juninho sent a long range free kick over the wall and right at him but when he tried to catch the ball, he missed. It was a surprise after these blunders to see him make a good save from Fred minutes later. Govou got a second yellow for a foul on Cocu he actually should have got two reds - one for the foul and one for his awful, stupid haircut. The extremely rubbish Arouna Kone missed an open goal following a rare mistake by the normally excellent Coupet.
Attendance : 29,400
Red Card : Govou 81 (Lyon)
Assist : Fred (won fk)
BAYERN MUNICH 1-1 MILAN
Ballack intercepted a headed clearance from Gilardino, after he plucked the ball out of the air he let it bounce then hit a spectacular half volley inside the post. Two minutes later he found Makaay with a great pass over the top of the Milan defence, Makaay shot first time, forcing Dida into making a fantastic save, probably for the first time in 11 months. Ismael's mindless handball allowed Shevchenko to get Milan level from the spot. Gilardino wasted a great chance on the break. Milan reserve 'keeper Kalac got rare minutes of playing time when Dida went off injured after Lucio, literally, kicked his arse. Shevchenko spurned another chance and with Bayern seemingly reeling Milan shut-up shop and played out for a draw.
Gattuso feigned injury when Ballack pushed him on his shoulder - by going down and clutching his face. Ballack was more successful with his retribution acting, earning Gattuso a yellow card which rules him out of the return. Serves him right.
Attendance : 66,000
Assist : n/a, n/a
REAL MADRID 0-1 ARSENAL
Arsenal belied their abysmal league form with a confident start against a nervy Real Madrid. Henry created two chances, both wasted by Reyes and Ljungberg. The English Patient, Jonathan Woodgate, went off on 9 minutes with a quad muscle injury. Henry, who is notoriously bad in the air, failed to hit the target from close range. Real's once chance of note fell to Beckham following a mistake by Senderos but Lehmann was quick off his line and saved brilliantly. Lehmann looked less assured on a Roberto Carlos free kick but Robinho messed up the rebound. Mejia passed a ball out of defence to Ronaldo but a heavy first touch allowed Fabregas to gain possession and he passed to Henry who was standing with his back to play inside the centre circle with a sea of white in front of him. As he turned he brushed aside feeble challenges from Ronaldo and Mejia, ran through a desperate lunge from Guti, and one final challenge from Ramos before stroking the ball inside a post. Henry, Diaby and Pires wasted chances in brief sorties upfield. Arsenal's continual time wasting and theatrics killed any chance of momentum from a Real Madrid side that were totally devoid of ideas.
This was a surprise. Not Arsenal winning because, unlike many others, I realise it's 2006 and not 2002, and many of the so called galacticos are nothing more than ageing, former greats. What was a surprise was Wenger's approach - 4-5-1 with Henry only getting occasional support from Reyes and the ever poor Ljungberg. Real Madrid's best player was an Englishman, Arsenal's best players were Spaniards and a Frenchman. Arsenal have an excellent chance of making the quarter finals but as soon as they play a team that can actually tackle they're in big trouble.
Attendance : 80,354
Assist : Fabregas
BENFICA 1-0 LIVERPOOL
To the surprise of no one this match was monstrously dull. Petit's 50 yards shot from the half-way line that briefly troubled Reina was the lone highlight. Even the goal was rubbish, Luisao got between Hyypia and Finnan to head in Petit's free kick.
Attendance : 65,000
Assist : Petit (fk)