7 March 2007
MILAN 1-0 CELTIC Kaka' took Seedorf's centre and aimed a shot towards Boruc's left hand post but he made a stunning, one handed save. That was inside four minutes and the pattern for the rest of the match. Celtic had half hearted penalty appeals turned down for handball against Maldini. Milan were giving Naylor a torrid time down the left, the first four chances arrived following attacks down his flank and O'Dea followed up his tackle on Inzaghi with an excellent block on Kaka'.
Seconds after Boruc saved a Maldini header Nakamura broke on a counter attack deep from his own half, he played a one-two with Gravesen before ghosting past Ambrosini as he ran into the box, he cut inside Bonera and theatrically hurled himself at the turf after Ambrosini recovered to make a challenge. Milan almost repeated their free kick routine from the weekend, Boruc making an extraordinary save to claw away Seedorf's goal-bound effort and the game headed into extra time after Kaka' hammered a shot against the underside of the crossbar.
Ironically Milan scored on the break. Ambrosini intercepted from Sno, as he tried to play the ball back into the box, and threaded a pass straight down the middle to the crown prince of football, Kaka'. Standing inside the centre circle he turned before racing upfield, evading McManus' desperate slide tackle and shooting between Boruc's legs. Boruc, rumoured to be a Milan target, made two more brilliant saves from Pirlo.
Hopefully Friday's draw will be kind to Milan and pair them with Manchester United.
Attendance : 65,000
Aggregate : Milan 1-0 Celtic
Assist : Ambrosini
ARSENAL 1-1 PSV
Arsenal's only real first half chance fell to Baptista after man mountain Alex charged down a Fabregas shot but his overhead kick cannoned off Salcido. Gomes flapped at a Denilson corner and the ball bounced in off Alex's chiselled mid-riff. Adebayor should have finished off PSV when Salcido missed a long ball out of defence leaving him one on one against Gomes but he blasted straight at the 'keeper. Fabregas wasted a half chance, blazing over from the edge of the box after Hleb threaded a pass across the box. Just past the hour mark there was an incredibly rare moment when Gallas was made to look an utter when Farfan turned him inside out before having his run checked in the penalty box by Denilson, clear penalty. Hleb conceded a free kick near the left by-line with an awesome urunage or if you prefer Rock Bottom on Sun Xiang. Mendez swung the ball into the box and Alex jumped high in the air to blast a header past Lehmann and finish off Arsenal's season.
MANCHESTER UNITED 1-0 LILLE
This was an abomination of a football match with Taggart playing an overly cautious 4-5-1 formation and Lille equally offering little threat in attack. Larsson, in what will thankfully be his last appearance for Man United, took advantage of some lax marking to head in a Ronaldo cross.
Attendance : 75,182
Aggregate : Manchester United 2-0 Lille
Assist : Ronaldo
BAYERN MUNICH 2-1 REAL MADRID
Bobby Carlos took a heavy first touch on a square pass, Salihamidzic pounced and flew past him, fired the ball into the box and Makaay slotted into the corner. Lucio doubled Bayern's lead with a bullet header from Sagnol's corner. The tiny Robinho 'fell' under a fair challenge from the giant Lucio and the ref pointed to the spot. Prize dickhead Van Bommel, having already been booked, delayed Van Nistelrooy from taking his spot kick earning himself a second yellow card. Diarra was also shown a second yellow for arguing with Van Bommel though didn't deserve it. In the last minute Raul headed down a longball from midfield to Ramos, he juggled the ball off his right thigh before rifling into the corner only to bizarrely have the ball disallowed for handball. Sucks to be Real Madrid right now.
Attendance : 69,500
Aggregate : Bayern Munich 4-4 Real Madrid. Bayern win on away goals.
Assists : Salihamidzic, Sagnol, Robinho (won pen)
6 March 2007
LYON 0-2 ROMA
Having already had a goal disallowed for no good Roma took the lead following an uneventful period of sustained pressure from their hosts. Chivu chipped a ball down the left flank to Tonetto, he whacked in a first time cross on the volley and Totti held off a feeble challenge from Cris to head wide of Coupet. Roma's second followed a stunning counter attack as they defended a free kick. Cassetti checked the run of Malouda before passing to Pizarro who was standing near the goal-line, he ran between Malouda and Cris before releasing Taddei on the left flank and with Abidal approaching, Taddei laid the ball back to Totti who hit the most glorious crossfield pass 50 yards to Mancini, Mancini DESTROYED Reveillere with six step-overs on the edge of the box, pushed the ball wide of him with the last one before hammering into the roof of the net. Brilliant. Lyon lost it late on. Fred left Chivu with a bloody nose with a deliberate elbow and Juninho raked his studs down Perrotta's left leg. The inflamed vagina that is Spanish referee Manuel Mejuto Gonzalez missed the first incident but clearly saw the second and did nothing. I hate the bastard.
Cough, cough, choke, choke, cough, cough. What's that? That's the sound of another of Houllier's teams CHOKING. Of course Lyon have flattered to deceive in recent seasons but this performance topped the lot especially as it followed poor league form since the turn of the year. On the bright side it increases the chances of Malouda, one of the two genuine World Class players in the Lyon side, leaving for Milan at the end of the season.
Attendance : 41,000
Aggregate : Lyon 0-2 Roma
Assists : Tonetto, Totti
LIVERPOOL 0-1 BARCELONA
Liverpool blitzed Barca from the start. Riise hit the woodwork twice in quick succession. Sissoko headed on a throw in and his first time shot caught the outside of a post. Minutes later the desperately average Oleguer failed to make a routine clearance and the Norwegian saw his spectacular half volley violently crash off the crossbar. Finnan intercepted a slack clearance from Puyol, hooking the ball high into the air, Kuyt whose one genuine quality is his ability in the air, flicked the ball towards Bellamy who almost knocked out Valdes with a shot of amazing velocity, Valdes made a miraculous save to deny Kuyt on the rebound and just as the luckless Riise seemed destined to put the ball in the back of the net Puyol hurtled across goal, leapt in the air and kicked off the line. Valdes, under no real pressure from a tame back-pass, kicked the ball straight to Sissoko whose first time shot bounced off the top of the crossbar.
Ronaldinho's one moment of magic came in the second half when he collected the ball with his back to goal before skipping past three Liverpool defenders only to hit the post. Xavi set-up a tense finish with a fantastic through pass to Gudjohnsen who, completely oblivious to the occasion (unlike the majority of his choking team-mates) calmly danced around Reina and tapped into an empty net. Ronaldinho blew his big chance to send Barca through when he tamely shot at Reina, wasting a great run by Giuly. As Barca poured forward gaps opened up on the break with Gerrard and Crouch failing to take advantage.
Barca were desperately poor and flattered by the scoreline given the number of chances Liverpool created and were denied by the woodwork. Rijkaard's tactics were embarrassing and I've struggled to understand why in recent months with such a desperate lack of pace in attack and central midfield he didn't make more use of Saviola and dynamic wing back Sylvinho. Irrespective of whether they recover to retain their La Liga crown I'm sure Rijkaard is done at Barca and maybe so is Ronaldinho.
Attendance : 45,000
Aggregate : Liverpool 2-2 Barcelona. Liverpool win on away goals.
Assist : Xavi
CHELSEA 2-1 PORTO
Assuncao? managed to lay off Pepe's pass out of defence just as Makelele clattered into him, Lucho poked the ball through to Quaresma and as Cole and Carvalho made half arsed appeals for offside he raced away and slotted under Cech. Porto goalkeeper Helton, who looks like Bootsy Collins without the jerry curl, gave up the equaliser when he let Robben's speculative long shot through his hands. Helton fell on his arse when controlling a 50 yard back-pass but fortunately for him no one was close enough to take advantage. Chelsea's flops combined for the equaliser, Shevchenko heading down a Drogba knock on for Ballack to crash in a left foot volley on the turn. They both look considerably more comfortable playing in Europe than in the tactically void blood and thunder football of the Premiership.
Chelsea must sign Quaresma in the summer even if only to prevent Man United for getting him when Ronaldo makes a welcome exit from the Premiership to Real Madrid.
Attendance : 39,041
Aggregate : Chelsea 3-2 Porto
Assists : Diarra, Shevchenko
VALENCIA 0-0 INTER
No Adriano, no Vieira = no chance. This was an absolute abomination of a match with neither 'keeper really tested. The action picked up at full time with the mother of all post match brawls (by European standards). Burdisso went at Marchena, Cordoba tried to hold him back and likewise Joaquin did the same with his team-mate. Marchena used Joaquin as a shield before aiming a kick at Burdisso's left thigh, Burdisso went absolute apeshit, a scrum ensued with Inter and Valencia players restraining him then he almost escaped all the while being goaded by Marchena. Valencia defender Navarro, an unused sub, suddenly ran off the bench and drilled Burdisso, who was still being restrained, with a stunning right hook, breaking his nose in the process. Cruz and Cordoba, who both saw this, chased after him but he got away. The brawling then spilled over into the tunnel and the cameras were pushed away as Toldo, Cambiasso and Figo headed for Navarro in the Valencia dressing room. Good luck sorting this one out Platini.
Inter paid the price for some comical defending in the first leg. Vieira picked a hell of a shit time to get injured and Adriano a hell of a shit time to go on a bender and the team really did themselves proud at the final whistle, arseholes.
Attendance : 53,000
Aggregate : Valencia 2-2 Inter. Valencia win on away goals.
Assist : n/a
21 February 2007
ROMA 0-0 LYON
Roma signalled their intent by trying to take out Juninho and Malouda, earning Mexes and Panucci yellow cards inside the first seven minutes. Taddei headed a Juninho free kick against his own post. The remaining 80 or so minutes sucked a cock. Mike 'old mother' Riley booked Totti for diving after Cris checked him from behind. If I was a betting man I'd put money on Totti getting another yellow in the return.
Attendance : 55,000
Assist : n/a
BARCELONA 1-2 LIVERPOOL
Ronaldinho released Zambrotta with an extravagant reverse pass, Gerrard looked odds on to clear but Zambrotta suddenly cut inside him before floating a cross over to the back post, Arbeola should have cleared but miss timed him jump and Deco beat Reina with a header into the bottom right corner. The normally dependable and at times outstanding Valdes dropped an absolute bollock to hand Liverpool the equaliser. A quickly taken free kick was played out wide to Finnan, Bellamy was standing in an offside position until the Barca defence ran back and played him ONSIDE, Finnan swung a cross to the back post, Belletti, who should have been picking up Bellamy, was nowhere and the Welshman met his cross with a spectacular diving header, Valdes caught the ball but failed to put on the breaks and his momentum carried him and the ball behind the goal-line, he quickly dropped it and Kuyt tapped in just to make sure as Bellamy ran away to celebrate by mimicking a golf swing in memory of his weekend golf club attack on team-mate Riise.
Barca's second half comeback failed to materialise and Liverpool had few problems coping with their extremely pedestrian attacks. Kuyt, who has the worst first touch of any Dutch player I have ever seen, missed a sitter at the back post and failed to control a fabulous chipped Gerrard pass, Valdes blocked at his feet, the ball looped up in the air, Marquez got a terrible connection on his attempted clearance, Bellamy bounced the ball off his chest rolled it to the penalty spot where the awaiting Riise slammed it into the roof of the net. Deco hit the woodwork with a late free kick.
Barca are f*cked unless Eto'o instantly hits top form over the next two weeks which isn't likely given he's been out for five months.
Attendance : 88,000
Assists : Zambrotta, n/a, Bellamy
PORTO 1-1 CHELSEA
Chelsea suffered a double early blow. Terry went off with an ankle injury a minute after Meireles volleyed the hosts into the lead after latching onto a poor Makelele clearance. Essien hit a long ball out of defence, Bruno Alves tried to head wide to Bosingwa but Robben intercepted, held off Assuncao and slipped a pass to Shevchenko and from a bad angle he found the bottom right corner of the net. Great finish. Both teams hit the woodwork, Quaresma with an outrageous, swerving shot.
Attendance : 49,000
Assists : n/a, Robben
INTER 2-2 VALENCIA
Ibrahimovic was proving a real handful and having forced a goal-line clearance and heading against the inside of a post he met a Stankovic free kick with a mid-air volley, Canizares tired to parry the ball out for a corner but Cambiasso was waiting at the back post with a header, 1-0. Crespo blew a great chance to make it 2-0 at the end of the first half. Villa equalised with a magnificent 30 yard free kick. Maicon played a one-two with Ibrahimovic, Ayala made a half arsed challenge, the ball broke to Cruz, he played it back to Maicon and Canizares, covering his angles at his near post, tried to bait the defender to shoot into the opposite corner but he still went for the near post and to Canizares' dismay scored. Figo (!) scrambled off the line as Villa caused havoc with a corner. Another Villa corner lead to the equaliser, Cordoba got a bad connection to a header, the ball ballooned up in the air, Silva ran forward and caught it on the volley, slamming into the bottom corner.
Although things look bleak for Inter as long as Vieira and Adriano are back for the return they've got every chance of progressing. There's no way Villa will be at Valencia next season and whatever he costs he's probably worth it.
Attendance : 65,000
Assists : n/a, Morientes (won fk), Cruz, n/a
20 February 2007
CELTIC 0-0 MILAN
Gilardino missed several chances and capped off a pathetic performance by getting booked for diving AFTER he went past Boruc in the Celtic goal. IDIOT.
Attendance : 58,785
Assist : n/a
PSV 1-0 ARSENAL
Fortunately for PSV Gomes was on today and Henry had one of those games in which he simply couldn't be arsed. Gomes took the sting out of a Rosicky effort before Salcido hacked the ball off the line. Henry only had one notable attempt, volleying straight at Gomes after Rosicky found him with a great disguised pass. Kone traded one-twos with Culina before laying the ball into the path of Mendez and he let rip with a brilliant right foot shot which even Lehmann couldn't save.
The next fortnight is make or break for Arsenal. They already look out on their feet and that's ahead of two cups ties (Chelsea and Blackburn) and a league match against Reading before they entertain PSV in the return leg.
Attendance : 35,000
Assist : Kone
LILLE 0-1 MAN UNITED
After an uneventful first half the game exploded to life after Dutch referee Eric Braamhaar chalked off Odemwingie's 62 minute 'goal' for a supposed push on Vidic. Larsson blew United's best chance, lobbing over the bar after Lille goalkeeper Sylva dropped a Rooney cross. As Lille were lining up a wall getting ready to defend a free kick, Giggs curled the ball into the net. Lille were furious, feeling they were shafted by the ref, and appeared to be contemplating doing a Milan i.e. walking off the pitch in protest. After a couple of minutes play resumed without further incident.
Attendance : 41,000
Assist : Saha (won fk)
REAL MADRID 3-2 BAYERN
Unquestionably the glamour tie of the round but unlike in previous years this was a clash between two teams in turmoil, not two teams likely to contest the final. The big question was who sucked more, Real Madrid or Bayern? We didn't get a definitive answer.
The Bayern defence stood watching Raul make a diagonal run across their defence onto a Van Nistelrooy (!) through pass, Van Buyten laughably appealed for offside as Raul scored at the second attempt after Kahn blocked his initial effort. Lucio towered above Cannavaro to head in the equaliser from a fabulous Sagnol free kick. Beckham had a hand in the next two goals. Helguera attacked his corner by vaulting off Lucio's back and Raul got the faintest of touches to head the ball over the line. Van Nistelrooy stabbed in Real's third after Demichelis deflected a Beckham free kick to the back post. Real paid the price for sitting back in the second half, Pizarro, who still has a f*cking ridiculous haircut, went close twice before Van Bommel latched onto a Bobby Carlos clearance and blasted a volley past Casillas. Great match and some players swapped shirts at the end which was nice given the supposed hostility.
Attendance : 80,300
Assists : n/a, Sagnol (fk), Helguera, n/a, n/a