Tottenham Through to Champions League Last 8

Tottenham held AC Milan 0-0 at White Hart Lane to progress 1-0 on aggregate in the Champions League. In a nervy game AC looked the better team and had enough chances in the first half where they laid siege to the Spurs goal to overturn the tie.

Tottenham were a bit better in the second half but again it was Milan who remained the more threatening and the home contingent in the 34,320 crowd were mighty relieved to hear the final whistle.

Spurs will now have to wait until the 18 March to find out who they will face and what ever happens they can look back on a successful first excursion in the competition.   

Spurs manager Harry Redknapp, is the first English manager to take an English side to the quarter-finals of the Champions League, and his resume will now read victories over both Milan giants as they beat holders Inter Milan in the group stages.

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Shakhtar Donetsk into Champions League Last 8

Shakhtar Donetsk made it into the last 8 of the Champions League for the first time last night with a comfortable 3-0 win over for a 6-2 aggregate scoreline. Shakhtar lookeda little edgy early and it was not until Hubschman put them ahead after 18 minute thatb the seemed to gain their composure.

There after the result was never really in doubt and ironically it was an ex Arsenal player Eduardo who wrapped up the scoring on a night where the need to win your group was clearly evidenced. Shaktar surprisingly won their qualifying group ahead of the Gunners and so avoided Barcelona. On this performance its hard to see them priogress any further, however the Ukranians will give a good account of themselves whoever they end up playing.

Attendance 47,000

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Arsenal Crash Out OF Champions League Amid Refereeing Controversy

Arsenal’s season took another knock last night as they went out of the Champions League 4-3 on aggregate to Barcelona. An Impressive win for Barcelona was somewhat marred however thanks to poor officiating which cumulated with a ludicrous decision to send of Van Persie for kicking the ball away despite the fact it would have been impossible for him to have heard that the Ref had blown his wistle.

To be fair it is unlikely that the decision affected the ultimate outcome as Arsenal failed to muster a single shot at goal while Van Persie was on the pitch and ended the game still without managing a shot and their attacking endevours only resulted in 2 corners.

The scores were level just before half time thanks to a Messi goal in first half stoppage time, and Arsenal did manage to regain the aggregate lead when Busquets put through his own net on 53 minutes. However even though Arsenal were defending resolutely Barcelona were always threatening and once down to 10 men it was inevitable that the Gunners would cave in.

The scores were levelled on aggregate in the 69th minute when Xavi 69 struck, and when Barcelona were awarded a slightly soft penalty Messi made no mistake to sent the Spanish side through.

This is the second season in a row that Arsenal have been knocked out by Barcelona and overall any neutral fan would acknowledge that Barca gave the gunners a footballing lesson.

Final Score Barcelona 3-1 Arsenal (aggregate 4-3)

Attendance 95,000

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Didier Drogba set to be dropped for Fulham clash

Didier Drogba set to be dropped for Fulham clash.

EXCLUSIVE

Carlo Ancelotti is giving serious consideration to dropping Didier Drogba for Monday night’s Barclays Premier League clash at Fulham.

The Chelsea manager tried to accommodate new ?50million signing Fernando Torres alongside Drogba and Nicolas Anelka when his side met Liverpool at Stamford Bridge eight days ago.

Making way: Drogba (right) could be left out on Monday night to help Torres

After losing that encounter with Torres’s former club, the Italian insisted he would persist with the formation that sees Anelka deployed behind two strikers.

It had worked successfully at Sunderland when Anelka had played behind Drogba and Salomon Kalou and he insisted it could work again.

Slow start: Torres struggled on his debut for Chelsea against his former employers last weekend

But after a week examining theformation in training Ancelotti is no longer convinced it is a systemthat best suits his new British-record signing and he wants to give theSpaniard the best possible chance to succeed.

That leaves Drogba in a vulnerable position. He has not been in his finest form since recovering from malaria – certainly not in the form of Anelka, who had scored in four of the previous five games prior to the defeat by Liverpool.

Under threat: Terry could make way for new boy Luiz

Abandoning the new system isunlikely to go down well with Drogba, especially when he will alreadysee Torres as the player who has been brought in to eventually replacehim. Drogba, after all, is 32.

ButAncelotti, who will make his decision this morning, is under pressure.Not just to turn Torres into an instant success and so prove that RomanAbramovich was right to smash the British transfer record to buy himbut to make sure Chelsea do not lose touch in the race for ChampionsLeague football next season. With Tottenham winning at Sunderland onSaturday, Chelsea are three points adrift of fourth-placed Tottenham.

Ancelotti also revealed that captainJohn Terry is no longer an automatic choice due to the arrival of ?25msigning David Luiz. He insisted signing the Brazilian means he canrotate his central defenders and said his team ‘will not have a problemin the centre of defence in the future’.

Ancelotti added: ‘With Luiz we can have more rotation with our players and maintain more fresh defenders. ‘Now we have a lot of opportunities to choose players and give someone else a rest, and to maintain every defender’s fitness for the rest of the season.

‘When a good player with a lot of skill comes to improve the squad, everyone is happy. ‘Obviously in top teams there is competition. This is normal. It’s a good motivation.’

Luiz, 23, and Terry, 30, will start at Fulham tonight. But the expected return from a knee injury of Brazil defender Alex, 28, in time for the second leg of Chelsea’s Champions League clash with Copenhagen on March 16 will put extra pressure on Chelsea skipper Terry.

Right back Branislav Ivanovic, 26, who signed a five-and-a-half-year contract last week, can also play at centre half. Terry, who earns ?150,000 a week, will demand to play if he is fit, but Ancelotti knows the former England captain needs two or three days to recover from each match.

?Abramovich targets Arsenal’s chief scout after bagging Torres and LuizChelsea may live to regret snubbing new Danish sensation EriksenI’ll prove I can cut it with Chelsea, vows frizzy Brazilian defender LuizChelsea boss Ancelotti gives up on the Barclays Premier League titleChelsea FC news from across the web

?Explore more:People: Didier Drogba, Fernando Torres, Nicolas Anelka, Carlo Ancelotti Places: Copenhagen, Liverpool, United Kingdom, Brazil

Source: Daily Mail

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Germany to Gain a Berth in the Champions League

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Germany will put a fourth team into the European Champions League, at Italy’s expense, for the 2012-13 tournament.
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Italian Champions League fortunes suffer blow, United held

PARIS (AFP) – Italian football’s Champions League fortunes suffered a further blow as holders Inter Milan could not stem the tide of home defeats as they went down 1-0 at the San Siro to the team they beat in last season’s final, Bayern Munich.

Mario Gomez’ last minute goal on Wednesday saw Inter join city rivals AC Milan and AS Roma in succumbing to home reverses in their Last 16 first leg ties and in real danger of seeing not one representative from Serie A in the last eight in a competition they once dominated.

By contrast England could well have four of the last eight as Manchester United were held 0-0 away at French champions and France’s only ever winners of the tournament Marseille in an instantly forgettable encounter.

However, the result appeared to please both coaches, Marseille’s young handler Didier Deschamps – who guided Monaco to a surprise final spot in 2004 – and United’s legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who has two Champions League trophies to his credit.

Inter suffered from a lack of attacking options with Samuel Eto’o their sole specialist striker – but even so Gomez’ late winner could well have knocked the stuffing out of the Italian champions.

However, Inter coach Leonardo refused to accept that the defeat meant he had to change their tactics radically for the return leg in Munich.

“Of course it’s a bad defeat but the only thing that changes is your mood, it doesn’t change the game in Munich where we’ll go and try to win,” said Leonardo, who has engineered a revival in Inter’s form since he replaced Rafael Benitez in late December.

“Nothing is compromised. It’s hard to lose in the last minute but we played well.”

Gomez, who has been outstanding in all competitions for Bayern this season after a disappointing start to his career there, said his goal was rich reward for Bayern’s positive approach to the game.

“That was certainly my most important goal in the Champions League,” he said.

“When you score a goal just before the end, which seals an away win, that is, of course, very nice.

“We fought for everything, everything at the back, everything up front and we were rewarded at the end.”

Deschamps, who captained Marseille to the 1993 trophy, had already gone on the record to say that he wanted his team to keep a clean sheet and he admitted he was proud of the fact they had managed to do so.

“I am very happy with my players because they have done their best tonight as Manchester United showed what a good team they are,” said Deschamps, who also captained France to the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 trophies.

“Maybe we will have an opportunity to score in the second leg. It is not a bad result for us but it is a good one for United,” he added.

Ferguson conceded that the result left the outcome delicately balanced, but he took solace from the fact his side still have their fate in their own hands.

“This sort of result can be dangerous if you concede a goal at home,” said the 69-year-old Scot. “But it’s simple because if we win, we go through.

“It was a disappointing game but they (Marseille) were desperate not to concede a goal.

“But I also expected more of us offensively, as we didn’t make the most of our chances when we got into good positions.”

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Manchester United Draw 0-0 In Marseille

Manchester United dominated play in their Champions League 1st leg match in France, however they may yet rue the fact they couldn’t turn their possession into goals. Now United will have to be wary of conceding an away goal at Old Trafford in the decisive return leg on 15 March.

Clear cut chances were few and far between but both sides could and probably should have had a goal with Darren Fletcher being quite unlucky with his crisp 18 yard drive which Mandanda gathered at the second attempt, while at the other end Brandao was unlucky not to get on the end of a cross come shot by Ayew.

Still 0-0 will brobably suit both sides and the return leg looks likely to be just as tight.

Match Attendance: 58,000

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Chelsea Back On Track With Big Win In Denmark

Talk of the ultimate demise of Chelsea’s season will have to go on hold for a few more weeks at least as the reigning Premier League Champions cruised to a comfortable victory at FC Copenhagen in front of a crowd of 28,000. This was Copenhagen’s first ever home defeat in the Champions League, and was no more than Chelsea deserved as they dominated possession.

Although there is no such thing as a formality it would be a major shock if the Danes managed to overturn this deficit and Carlos Ancelotti can rest a little easier at least until their next game when they entertain Manchester United. 

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Chelsea Face Tough Task in Copenhagen As They Try To Savage Their Season

When the Champions League kicked off in earnest it looked like Chelsea were set to sweep all before them, However things have not continued in that vein and defeat tonight could effectively end their season. They face one of the Champions Leagues surprise teams in FC Copenhagen and the Danes will be well rested for the match given they are on a winter break.  Further the Danes have never lost at home in the Champions League, having beating the likes of Celtic and Manchester United in recent years and they gained an excellent draw against Barcelona in this seasons group stage.

This might just be the biggest game in Danish Club football, however Chelsea have not played that badly of late despite not getting the results they wanted and I have the feeling they will bounce back to form tonight and should at the very least avoid defeat and possibly take a couple of goal lead bat to Stamford Bridge. Whether that will be enough to save Ancelotti’s job is another matter.

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Tickets prices soar for Champions League final

LONDON (AP)—Going to the Champions League final will cost almost twice as much as two years ago for some fans.

For the May 28 final at Wembley Stadium in London, a category three ticket will cost ?175 ($ 235) compared with ?90 ($ 120) in 2009. The same ticket in Madrid last year to see Inter Milan beat Bayern Munich cost ?155.

The price of the second-most expensive ticket has risen by around 85 percent from ?140 in 2009 to ?260. Category one tickets, which will cost ?350, have risen ?50 for each of the last two finals.

On top of buying the ticket, fans will also have to pay an administration fee of ?31 ($ 40) for sales within Europe.

“This is the market price,” UEFA competitions director Giorgio Marchetti said at the ticket launch in London. “Do you think we would have trouble filling Wembley if the prices were higher? You think it would be different?

“We try to strike a balance between the interest of the supporters and the interest of the event. Why should we price the tickets lower than what we think is a fair level?”

UEFA expect income from the Champions League final to reach ?16.7 million, compared with ?11.5 million last year.

“The prices are based on the type of event and when you compare it to other events we don’t think that the Champions League final is overpriced,” Marchetti said. “We do not want to squeeze every single penny out of the market. We have to benchmark this event against other comparable events, like for example the final of the Euros and the World Cup.

“Last year there was already a significant increase compared to the previous editions but it’s nothing to do with being in London and it is still priced below comparable events.”

Each of the Champions League finalists receive 25,000 tickets after 11,000 have been on open sale from Feb. 24 to March 18.

The cheapest seats, which are sold only by the finalists, are ?95, compared with ?90 in 2010 and ?70 in Rome in 2009.

UEFA president Michel Platini has moved European club football’s biggest final from Wednesdays to Saturdays to attract more younger fans.

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