11 March 2008

LIVERPOOL 1 (Torres 64)

Liverpool win 3-0 on aggregate

Attendance : 80,000
Red Card : Burdisso 50 (Inter)
Assist : Aurelio

5 March 2008

REAL MADRID 1 (Raul 75)
ROMA 2 (Taddei 73, Vucinic 92)

Pepe was shown a second yellow for helping Vucinic to the turf after the striker had already ran the ball out of play. A ridiculous decision though the ref was shocking throughout. Two minutes later the inexperienced Torres (on for experienced but extremely poor Salgado) misjudged the bounce on an overhit De Rossi cross, Vucinic rolled the ball back to Tonetto and he whipped a cross into the box, Taddei leapt in the air above a static Heinze to send a brilliant flick header past Casillas. Raul was clearly offside when he collected a Robinho pass and equalised. Roma still need to learn to play to the whistle. In any case it didn't matter because they held their nerve and scored a second. Panucci, a late sub for Cicinho, swung a free kick into the box, a dejected Casillas made a half arsed attempt to clear but missed and Vucinic headed into an empty net.

Roma actually had more shots. Real were toothless without Van Nistelrooy. Spending close to 80 million on Dutch midfielders (Robben, Drenthe and Sneijder) was overkill. A Dutch striker, namely Huntelaar, would have been a much better investment. Anyone fancy Roma vs Barca?

Roma win 4-2 on aggregate

Attendance : 80,000
Red Card : Pepe 71 (Real Madrid)
Assists : Tonetto, Robinho, Panucci

CHELSEA 3 (Ballack 5, Lampard 25, Kalou 48)

Ballack headed Chelsea into the lead from a deep Lampard cross. The extravagantly paid duo were involved in the second. Makelele and Terry headed on after the Olympiakos defence failed to clear their lines, Ballack floored Nikopolidis with a punishing drive and Lampard tapped in the rebound. Lampard's corner took a deflection off the impotent Drogba, Carvalho miss-hit and Kalou scrambled over the line.

Suddenly Chelsea have found their scoring touch and look like contenders again, at least they will do until they draw Liverpool. Imagine that for a final.

Chelsea win 3-0 on aggregate.

Attendance : 37,721
Assists : Lampard, n/a, Carvalho

PORTO 1 (Lisandro 86)

Fucile was sent off for going in on Kobiashvili with a studs up foul after he lost possession. Lisandro Lopes received a pass with his back to play and shielded by two defenders, as he turned he swung a right foot shot in off a post to give Porto a long overdue lead following some truly horrific misses.

Rafinha - bottom left, Helton gets a touch but not enough to keep the ball out
Lucho - Poor, straight down the middle but Neuer dived the wrong way
Rakitic - Confidently driven into the bottom right corner
Bruno Alves - Straight down the middle but Neuer jumps off his line to punch clear
Altintop - Bottom right again, Helton dances as the German takes a run up but only succeeds in confusing himself
Lopes - A rising shot towards the right corner, Neuer makes an incredible back breaking, one handed save
Jones - Slammed in off the underside of the bar

Schalke didn't even give the pretence of attempting to score a goal on the break. Their tactics were uber-negative but it's hard to feel sympathy for a team who dive as much Porto. Farias 80th minute trip and roll was the pick of the bunch. Never beat against Germans in a shoot-out.

1-1 on aggregate, Schalke win 4-1 on penalties.

Attendance : 45,316
Assist : Lucho

4 March 2008

ARSENAL 2 (Fabregas 84, Adebayor 92)

Milan made an excellent start. Fabregas was forced to make a goal-line clearance from a corner and Inzaghi weakly volleyed at Almunia. Kaka', who has struggled with a knee injury since the Club World Cup, made one of his trademark counter attacking runs and found Pato unmarked at the back post, despite having most of the goal to aim at the youngster shot straight at Almunia. Kaka' combined with Oddo down the right and once again as the Arsenal defence backed off but he dragged his shot wide. Hleb turned onto a pass and Nesta, expecting the ball to be played to Adebayor, got drawn out of position, he recovered just in time to bring down the Byelorussian right on the edge of the penalty box. Instead of awarding a penalty or free kick the ref, who had a poor match, gave Hleb a yellow card for diving. Adebayor muscled his way past Nesta and Oddo on the left hand side of the box before rolling the ball to Fabregas who even had the time to take a touch before hitting the crossbar.

Senderos was left unmarked at the back post from a corner but weakly shot at Kalac. Eboue failed to capitalise on a dreadful mistake by Pirlo in his own box, shooting horribly wide. Almunia was finally tested by a Pirlo free kick that took a cruel bounce in front of him and Pato flashed a shot wide of Almunia's left hand post. Just as Milan were finally building some pressure Fabregas struck. A poor touch allowed Hleb to steal the ball off Pirlo in midfield, he played in Fabregas and as the Milan defence backed off his low drive bounced inside a post. Flamini hit a longball down the right flank towards substitute Walcott, Kaladze fouled him but the youngster quickly got to his feet, ran into the box and centred for Adebayor to tap in his first Champions League goal and seal a thoroughly deserved victory for Arsenal.

Arsenal became the first English side to beat Milan in the San Siro.

Arsenal win 2-0 on aggregate.

Attendance : 81,879
Assists : Hleb, Walcott

SEVILLA 3 (Alves 5 fk, Keita 9, Kanoute 41)
FENERBAHCE 2 (Deivid 20, Deivid 79)

Inside five minutes Fenerbahce's goalkeeper Volkan Demirel handed Sevilla the lead and I'm sure many of us thought a place in the last 8. Alves hammered a free kick straight at him and he punched the ball into the net. The outstanding Seydou Keita made it 4-3 on aggregate four minutes later. Collecting a pass for Kanoute on the centre circle he drove forward before unleashing an extraordinary left foot shot which beat Volkan Demirel all ends up. Deivid levelled the tie on aggregate (though Sevilla lead on away goals) from a corner, rifling the ball through a ruck of players. Kanoute chested down an Alves cross, turned and volleyed in off Gokhan Gonul, 5-4. 10 minutes from time Deivid broke from the wall onto an Alex free kick and volleyed against a post, the ball bounced back to him off Palop and he emphatically put away the rebound to send the tie into extra time. With penalties looming Zico made what seemed a suicidal decision to take off Alex mid way through the second period of extra time.

Penalty Shoot-Out

Kanoute - Bottom left, 'keeper goes the wrong way
Gokcek Vederson - whipped inside the left post, terrible height but Palop dived low
Escude - Too central, an easy save for Volkan Demirel
Edu - Figures he would miss. He was shocking in the first leg. It was actually a good penalty, low and hard but once again to the left, sooner or later one of the 'keepers would go the right way
Dragutinovic - Hammered into the roof of the net, un-saveable
Aurelio - Left of centre, Palop goes the wrong way
Maresca - Struck with power but straight down the middle, Volkan Demirel saves
Kezman - Another shot struck with venom, Palop didn't get close
Alves - Driven low to the bottom left, Volkan Demirel scrambles to save and send the heavy favourites out

5-5 on aggregate. Fenerbahce win 3-2 on penalties.

Fenerbahce will take some beating at home but their defence is shocking. If they get the winner of Schalke vs Porto they've got a great chance of reaching the semi's.

Attendance : 38,626
Assists : Kanoute (won fk), Kanoute, Aurelio, n/a, n/a

BARCELONA 1 (Xavi 3)

A sensational goal brought Celtic's slim hopes of quarter-final qualification to a screeching end. Standing on the left hand edge of the box Ronaldinho played in Sylvinho with a delightful disguised pass, the former Arsenal fullback hung a cross into the box which Xavi met with a magnificent mid air volley. The avalanche of goals failed to surface, thanks largely to Boruc, and to make matters worse for Baca injury prone midget Messi went off with a pulled hamstring on 38 minutes. A brilliant save denied Nakamura a late, late consolation goal.

According to http://worldsoccer.about.com/od/soccerprofiles/p/lionelmessi.htm at 11 Messi was diagnosed with growth hormone deficiency. He joined Barca at 13 after they agreed to pay for his treatment. I think it's safe to assume if someone has a growth hormone deficiency they are given a wrestlers favourite drug human growth hormone (HGH) as treatment and that probably explains why Messi is susceptible to muscle injuries so early into his career.

Barcelona win 4-2 on aggregate

Attendance : 75,002
Assist : Sylvinho


It was fitting that such a poor match was decided by a poor goal. From the edge of the box Anderson hit a weak Grosso clearance against Ronaldo, Clerc got the ball caught in his feet when trying to clear and Ronaldo worked an opening before firing past Coupet.

Manchester United win 2-1 on aggregate

Attendance : 75,521
Assist : n/a

20 February 2008

CELTIC 2 (Vennegoor 16, Robson 38)
BARCELONA 3 (Messi 18, Henry 52, Messi 79)

Vennegoor gave Celtic the lead against the run of play. McGeady disposed Puyol with an excellent sliding tackle in the box but hit the ball against Xavi, as he rose to his feet Iniesta gave him the ball straight back, McGeady teed-up Naylor and Vennegoor got between Milito and Toure to meet his first time cross with a fantastic diving header. Less then two minutes later Celtic were punished for continually giving the ball away on the edge of their box. Puyol chested a clearance down to Iniesta who passed out wide to Messi. He played a one-two with Deco, burst past two defenders onto the Brazilian's through pass and hit a sensational first time lob over Boruc. Celtic restored their lead on the break. Messi gave away possession and a pass out of defence found McDonald, with his back to play he turned away from Marquez and Puyol before spraying out wide to McGeady, he hugged the left touchline and ran 50 yards before brushed aside Iniesta and floating a cross into the box for Robson to head over Valdes. Brilliant.

Under pressure from Henry Caldwell presented the ball to Ronaldinho and he released Henry, who had now moved towards the left flank, Henry slowly carried the ball into the box and just as two defenders converged he struck an exquisite right foot shoot over Boruc into the bottom right corner. Eto'o came on for his best friend Ronaldinho and wasted a fantastic Xavi through pass with an awful centre however the ball took a double deflection and fell kindly to Messi. With a defender bearing down on him he switched the ball onto his left foot and fired past Boruc.

Ronaldinho had his best game in a Barca shirt for some time. Messi and Henry were of course brilliant but there are still plenty of glaring weaknesses in this team. Iniesta is a lightweight. Puyol is an absolute shadow of his former self and Milito doesn't even look like a €5 million player, let alone the €20 million Barca paid for him. Still although Celtic made the most of the little possession they had but they’re going to get absolutely canned in the Nou Camp.

Attendance : 58,345
Assists : Naylor, Deco, McGeady, Ronaldinho, n/a

LYON 1 (Benzema 54)

Benzema had his back to three defenders as he collected a pass from Toulalan, as he turned he brought the ball onto his left foot and fired off an instant shot between two defenders inside Van der Sar's left hand post. That lazy, injury prone, whore Fred cost Lyon victory as the French champions caved under intense second half pressure. He sliced a Nani cross to the back post and Tevez volleyed the ball into the roof of the net.

Whoever wants Benzema should do a deal before the Euro's because his value is only going to increase during that tournament. He's going to be World Class.

Attendance : 39,230
Assists : Toulalan, n/a


Arsenal's best chance fell to Adebayor in the 93rd minute. Walcott stole a yard on Jankulovski before dropping a cross straight onto Adebayor's head but the giant striker headed against the crossbar.

Both teams cancelled out other out in midfield. Milan offered little in attack while Arsenal were restricted to half chances every one of which was aimed straight at Kalac.

Attendance : 60,082
Assists : n/a

FENERBAHCE 3 (Kezman 17, Lugano 57, Senturk 87)
SEVILLA 2 (Edu 23 og, Escude 66)

Kezman headed Fenerbahce into the lead from Boral's magnificent, laser guided cross. Edu sliced an Alves cross into his own net to put the Spaniards on level terms. Fenerbahce's hulking centre back, Diego Lugano, made it 2-1 with a bullet header. Poulsen flicked on a corner and Escude volleyed in at the near post. Three minutes from time Alex ran onto a longball, through a tackle and passed out wide to Senturk whose shot took a deflection off Dragutinovic wrong footing Palop in the Sevilla goal.

For what it's worth Fenerbahce covered 100.80km in this match and Sevilla 99.56km.

Attendance : 49,000
Assists : Boral, n/a, Alex (ck), Poulsen, n/a

19 February 2008

SCHALKE 1 (Kuranyi 4)

A fantastic move opened up Porto on four minutes. Kobiashvili carried the ball out of defence and stepped inside Assuncao before passing out wide to Rafinha, he played a double one-two with Jones before trying to catch out Helton at his near post, he couldn't hold the shot and Kuranyi lobbed into the opposite corner.

Attendance : 53,951
Assists : n/a

LIVERPOOL 2 (Kuyt 85, Gerrard 90)

The Belgian referee had it in for Inter from the start, booking Chivu and Materazzi in the opening 12 minutes following dives by that lowlife Gerrard and Torres. A delayed stumbled by Torres, after Materazzi pulled him back, earned the Italian a second yellow. Great defender, not very bright. For all of Liverpool's possession they failed to work Julio Cesar until the 85th minute when second half substitute Pennant swung a cross into the box, the ball fell to Kuyt and his shot took a deflection off Maicon, wrong footing Cesar in the Inter goal. Five minutes later Burdisso's poor header was intercepted by Pennant and he rolled the ball to Gerrard who took two steps forward before ripping a low drive in off a post.

Ironic for all the recent talk about the referees favouring Inter in Serie A once again Liverpool get the calls in Europe. Inter have been playing in second gear most of this season whether they can raise their game against what will almost certainly be an extremely negative Liverpool side in the San Siro next month is another matter.

Attendance : 41,999
Red Card : Materazzi 30 (Inter)
Assists : n/a, Pennant

ROMA 2 (Pizarro 24, Mancini 58)
REAL MADRID 1 (Raul 8)

Robben played a one-two with Torres and flew past Panucci down Roma's right flank before pulling the ball back to the edge of the box for Guti to shoot first time, the ball hit Raul who instantly flicked past Doni. Roma's equaliser was similar. Mancini centred from the left, Gago tackled Totti before he could make contact, the ball broke to Pizarro who smashed in off the Argentinean.

Mexes intercepted a lazy pass out of defence from Heinze and hit a high ball straight back into the Real Madrid half, Heinze fell as he tried to prevent Totti from gaining possession, Totti angled a ball around Cannavaro to Mancini who, having timed his run from midfield to perfection, rounded Casillas and tapped into an empty net.

Excellent result for Real Madrid. Roma always seem to give up penalties in the Bernebeu.

Attendance : 52,000
Assists : Guti, n/a, Totti


Judging by the live highlights this was quite possibly one of the worst games of all time.

Attendance : 29,500
Assists : n/a