11 March 2009

BARCELONA 5 (Henry 25, Henry 27, Messi 40, Eto'o 43, Keita 95)
LYON 2 (Makoun 44, Juninho 48)

After some indifferent recent form Barca were back to their sparkling best. Having wasted several early chances they took the lead via route one, a longball out of defence sent Henry racing clear. Barca regained possession from kick-off and eight passes later it was 2-0. Xavi threaded a ball inside three defenders and Henry took it out of his feet before firing past the advancing Lloris. Messi scored a magnificent third. He controlled Pique's raking crossfield pass on his chest and INSTANTLY trapped the ball, cutting in from the left he rode one tackle, dribbled past two players and played a short one-two with Eto'o before angling the ball into the bottom corner. Eto'o, who contrived to miss chance after chance finally took one at the end of the half. Cris got too tight as he tried to intercept Henry's pass and Eto'o took a couple of steps before blasting into the top corner. Makoun headed in a Juninho corner to bring the curtain down on a brilliant first half.

Delgado muscled his way past Iniesta before rolling a centre into the box, Benzema nonchalantly dummied the ball and Juninho shot first time into the corner. Juninho was shown a second yellow for dissent. By now there were two Keita's on the field, one on either side and it was the Barcelona Keita who scored, collecting a Xavi before rounding Lloris and tapped into an empty net.

Barcelona win 6-3 on aggregate.
Attendance : 93,062
Assists : Marquez, Xavi, Eto'o, Henry, Juninho (ck), Delgado, Xavi

ROMA 1 (Juan 9)

Juan levelled the aggregate scores with a rare goal from open play. The Arsenal defence switched off as Totti played in a centre from the left and the Brazilian even had time to take a touch before beating Almunia. Roma should have been awarded a penalty late in the first half after Clichy pushed over Motta but then crooked Spanish referee Manuel Enrique has never liked Italian sides. Julio Baptista missed an absolute sitter from ten yards, Toure did the same from six.

There's no doubt which of these teams are the biggest bottlers so the result of the shoot-out should have came as no surprise.

Penalty Shoot-Out
Eduardo - left of centre. SAVED
Pizzaro - Powerfully struck into the bottom left corner
RVP - Same corner, Doni goes the wrong way
Vucinic - A penalty of absolute cowardice, a pass back into Almunia's grateful arms. SAVED
Walcott - Again to the left. The limp wristed Doni gets two hands to the ball but it's not enough
Baptista - Hard into the top left corner. Too little, too late
Nasri - Whipped inside the left post
Montella - He skips on approach and sends Almunia the wrong way
Denilson - Straight down the middle. Doni is shit
Totti - High into the roof of the net
Toure - Low and hard, just wide of centre
Aquilani - Into the bottom right corner with ease
Sagna - Goes the same way as Aquilani
Riise - With extreme violence, low into the bottom right corner
Diaby - Doni doesn't even move, just wide of centre. Doni you are shit
Tonetto - Into outer space. MISS

There are four Italians through to the last 8 - Rossi, Toni, Dossena and Oddo but in all seriousness Serie A is dead.

Match is drawn 1-1 on aggregate. Arsenal win 7-6 on penalties.

Attendance : 81,000
Assist : Totti

MANCHESTER UNITED 2 (Vidic 4, Ronaldo 49)

Vidic returned from suspension to head United into a fourth minute lead from a Giggs corner. Ibrahimovic should have levelled from a Maicon free kick but headed the ball into the turf and it bounced against the crossbar before spinning to safety. Julio Cesar made a brilliant save to deny O'Shea from close range, a feat he repeated in the second half. The only moment of quality provided by Ibrahimovic was a cross to the back post but Stankovic shanked his volley. Balotelli intercepted following poor control from Vidic and sent Ibrahimovic clear but he dragged his shot wide of Van der Sar's left post.

Giggs tackled Cambiasso to win possession back in midfield, the ball was eventually worked back to him, he dribbled past three players before passing to Scholes who laid off to Rooney, Rooney teased Maicon and didn't get any change out of him so floated a cross towards the back post and Ronaldo pulled away from his marker Samuel to head past Julio Cesar. Fantastic goal. The remainder of the second half mimicked the first with Inter failing to take their chances. Adriano hit the inside of a post with a spectacular scissor kick and Ibrahimovic bottled out of a header at the back post.

Manchester United win 2-0 on aggregate.

Attendance : 74,769
Assists : Giggs (ck), Rooney


Match is drawn 2-2 on aggregate. Porto win on away goals.

Attendance : 49,500
Assists : n/a

10 March 2009

LIVERPOOL 4 (Torres 16, Gerrard 28 Pen, Gerrard 47, Dossena 88)

But for Casillas Liverpool would have been two goals up inside the opening five minutes. The ref decided to give them a helping hand with the special rules reserved for Liverpool in Europe. Torres pulled down Pepe as he challenged for a longball that Cannavaro made a hash of and Kuyt centred for the unmarked Spaniard to open his Champions League account for the season. Arbeloa chested a cross against Heinze's shoulder and the ref pointed to the spot. Even by Liverpool's usual standards this was a ridiculous penalty. Gerrard converted and scored a second goal minutes into the restart when he met Babel's left wing cross with a great half volley. Dossena scored within five minutes of replacing Torres, finishing off a counter attack following good work by Babel and Mascherano.

Liverpool win 5-0 on aggregate.

Attendance : 42,550
Assists : Kuyt, n/a, Babel, Mascherano

JUVENTUS 2 (Iaquinta 19, Del Piero 74 Pen)
CHELSEA 2 (Essien 46, Drogba 83)

Juve lost past-it Nedved to an early injury but levelled the aggregate scores with a wondrous goal. With his back to play, Iaquinta backheeled volleyed a pass forward to Trezeguet, he controlled the ball on his chest and volleyed a return pass between Terry and Cole, Iaquinta left them for dead before slotting into the corner. Chelsea were cheated out an equaliser when Buffon 'saved' a Drogba free kick after it had crossed the line. Minutes later they were level. Lampard fired off a shot from distance, the ball ricocheted off Tiago and against the underside of the crossbar, Essien followed up to score his first goal of the season. Drogba got Chiellini sent off with a theatrical dive after the defender was first to the ball in a 50-50 challenge. Del Piero put Juve within a goal of the last 8 with a penalty awarded when Belletti spiked a Del Piero free kick. Drogba made a miraculous recovery from Chiellini's 70th minute challenge to end Juve's hopes of a comeback, sliding to meet Belletti's centre.

Chelsea win 3-2 on aggregate

Attendance : 28,500
Red Card : Chiellini 70 (Juventus)
Assists : Trezeguet, n/a, n/a, Belletti

PANATHINAIKOS 1 (Mantzios 55)
VILLARREAL 2 (Ibagaza 49, Llorente 70)

Llorente flicked on a longball out of defence, Rossi held possession until Capdevilla made a run on the overlap, Capdevilla pulled back his centre to the edge of the D and Ibagaza struck a marvellous first time shot into the top left corner. Mantzios headed Pana level from a Karagounis corner. The Spaniards hit the home side with another quick counter attack, Ibagaza broke from his own half, Rossi took three defenders with him, Llorente pulled out wide, called for the ball and duly received it, he took one touch to control before crashing a half volley past Galinovic.

Villarreal were considerably more impressive in this match than in the previous leg.

Villarreal win 3-2 on aggregate.

Attendance : 28,500
Assists : Capdevilla, Karagounis (ck), Ibagaza

BAYERN MUNICH 7 (Podolski 7, Podolski 34, Polga 39 og, Schweinsteiger 43, Van Bommel 74, Klose 82 Pen, Muller 90)
SPORTING 1 (Moutinho 42)

With Toni injured Podolski was given a rare start and began another rout with a fantastic shot from the edge of the box. Bayern went route one for the second. Butt launched the ball deep into the Sporting half, a defence misjudged the bounce forcing Sporting 'keeper Rui Patricio off his line, he clattered into a defender and Podolski turned and sent an overhead kick into an empty net. Polga volleyed a Schweinsteiger corner past his own goalkeeper. Moutinho matched Podolski's strike but it was only a brief respite. Ze Roberto played in Lell who broke from fullback and Schweinsteiger swept his centre past Patricio. Klose rescued an overhit cross, Van Bommel leapt in the air to vault over a defender and bring down the ball before lashing in Bayern's 10th goal on aggregate. Polga should have been sent off for a red card foul on Klose. He stepped up to convert the penalty himself. Bayern's teenage midfielder Thomas Muller got in on the act after Sporting failed to clear a corner.

Seven goals and this without Ribery and Toni. 10 years on from that infamous last minute defeat against United, what price a repeat final?

Bayern Munich win 12-1 on aggregate.

Attendance : 66,000
Assists : Ze Roberto, n/a, n/a, Yannick, Lell, Klose, Klose (won pen), n/a

25 February 2009

CHELSEA 1 (Drogba 12)

As Juve sprung their offside trap Drogba turned onto Kalou's through pass and dragged a shot wide of Buffon into the bottom left corner. Chelsea flop Tiago headed a longball down to Del Piero forcing a great save from Cech.

Attendance : 38,079
Assist : Kalou

VILLARREAL 1 (Rossi 67 Pen)
PANATHINAIKOS 1 (Karagounis 59)

Panathinaikos goalkeeper Mario Galinovic kept Villarreal at bay with two World Class saves in the first half. His opposite number, Diego Lopez, appeared to step over his own goal-line when claiming a free kick but the linesman missed it. Karagounis gave the Greeks a shock lead with a typically brilliant goal, he doesn't score many but when he does they are usually memorable. He controlled a through ball on his left foot then with his right hammered a half volley into the top corner. Villarreal were lucky to not go two goals down following a mistake by the fat Senna (how the mighty have fallen) but despite excellent footwork Mantzios couldn't find the finish to match. Master diver Pires tricked the ref into awarding a penalty, throwing himself over Wawrzyniak after the defender had been pushed over by Rossi. The Italian stuttered on his run up, committing Galinovic, then knocked the ball into a corner. There was almost a bench clearing brawl after Senna chopped down Simao with an ugly studs up foul.

Due to the fact that Villarreal failed to win, despite Konrad Putz's pathetic officiating, Pana will fancy their chances in the return leg.

Attendance : 25,500
Assists : Simao, Pires (won pen)

BAYERN MUNICH 5 (Ribery 42, Klose 57, Ribery 63 Pen, Toni 84, Toni 91)

Ribery intercepted Derlei's loose ball across midfield, ran straight down the middle, through two defenders and shot under Tiago's legs. Toni flicked on a superb Oddo cross and the ball hit Klose before bouncing into the net. Rochemback conceded a penalty with a disgraceful studs up foul at Lahm's left knee. A yellow card and Ribery's subsequent penalty were not punishment enough. Ze Roberto won a ball in midfield and Ribery did the rest, teasing a defender in the box before floating a cross to the back post for Toni to head in Bayern's fourth. He tapped in a fifth at the second time of asking after shooting a Ribery cross straight at Tiago.

Attendance : 35,163
Assists : n/a, Toni, Lahm (won pen), Ribery, n/a

LIVERPOOL 1 (Benayoun 82)

For a player that has scored so many Champions League goals Raul should have made better use of an excellent Robben through ball. As chances go that's all Real had, Robben was their only creative threat and easily muzzled by the Liverpool midfield and defence. Heinz sacked Kuyt to win a free kick. Benayoun met Aurelio's superb left foot cross with a bullet header to send Liverpool through to the last eight and all this without Gerrard.

Attendance : 85,000
Assists : Fabio Aurelio (fk)

24 February 2009

ATLETICO MADRID 2 (Maxi Rodriguez 3, Forlan 47)
PORTO 2 (Lisandro 22, Lisandro 72)

Both teams had chances before Maxi took advantage of appalling marking to despatch a pass from the otherwise disappointing Aguero at the back post. Ibanez ran forward to clear a header but undershot completely missing the ball and Lisandro took advantage to equalise. Hulk went close on two occasions before a dreadful mistake by Porto's Helton literally handed the lead back to Atletico on half time when he let Forlan's speculative effort slip between his fingers. Lisandro missed an absolute sitter before converting an identical chance minutes later. Hulk played a ball out wide to Cristian Rodriguez, he released Cissoko on the overlap and this time the Argentinean made no mistake.

Attendance : 54,000
Assists : Aguero, Meireles, Maxi Rodriguez, Cissoko

LYON 1 (Juninho 7 fk)
BARCELONA 1 (Henry 67)

The suddenly fragile Barca fell behind to a Juninho free kick that even by his standards was extraordinary. He struck a free kick from a few yards inside the left wing, the ball appeared to be sailing over the crossbar but defied the laws of physics by dipping inside the top right corner. Both sides hit the woodwork before Henry scored a rare headed goal when he dived low to meet a corner that had been flicked on by Marquez.

Attendance : 40,000
Assists : Ederson (won fk), Marquez

ARSENAL 1 (Van Persie 37 Pen)

There was bad news for Roma before kick-off. Juan failed to recover from an injury so the dreadful Loria started alongside Mexes at centre back. Van Persie made the most of a stupid challenge by Mexes to win a penalty which he converted himself. Arsenal should have ran away with the game in the second half. Bendtner and Nasri missed absolute sitters and the dirt worst players on their respective teams combined for another highlight. Loria underhit a backpass, cheating bastard Eboue ran into the box, working an angle only to miss the target completely.

Attendance : 60,003
Assist : Van Persie (won pen)


Attendance : 84,000
Assists : n/a