In the all French Champions League Quarter Final 1st leg Lyon beat Bordeaux 3-1 to take a big step towards a semi final place. Although the score looks comprehensive Bordeaux had plenty of chances but lacked experience at this level and will struggle to overcome this deficit. This will be Lyon’s 1st Champions League Semi Final should they prevail.
Bayern Munich grabbed an injury time winner last night against Manchester United to set up a thrilling game in the second leg at Old Trafford on 7th April. In a game which saw a repeat of the 1999 Champions League Final in which Manchester United went a goal down before winning with two late goals, things looked like going United’s way again as Wayne Rooney struck in the 2nd minute scoring. This was his 34th goal of the season in all competitions. However they failed to capitalise on their good start and it was not a major surprise when French International Franck Ribery struck the equaliser mid way through the second half. Then in a dramatic twist of fate Ivica Olic took advantage of a defensive lapse by Evra to coolly score the winner two minutes into injury time. This time it was Bayern’s turn to stage a late comeback win and they now go into the second leg knowing a draw will take them through.
A major worry for United will be the ankle injury Wayne Rooney suffered late in the game, which could rule him out of the crucial title clash with Chelsea and possibly the return leg against Bayern, who themselves will be stronger if as expected Arjen Robben returns.
A major worry for United will be the ankle injury Wayne Rooney suffered late in the game,which could rule him out of the crucial title clash with Chelsea and possibly the return leg against Bayren, who themselves will be stronger if as expected Arjen Robben returns.
The 1st legs of the Champions League kick off this week and all the ties look close and the remaining English teams are by no means certain to make the semi finals.
Manchester United take on old adversaries Bayern Munich who are currently top of the German Bundesliga, thanks mainly to their formidable home record where they remain undefeated in the league. However they were a tad lucky to get past Fiorentina needing an 89th minute goal to win the home leg against 10 men and then progressing on away goals after losing 3-2 in the away leg. My view is that Manchester United will be too strong for them at Old Trafford and providing they don’t do anything stupid in the 1st leg should justify their position as favourites to progress. Given they will play the winner of the all French clash they will fancy their chances of making the Final.
Arsenal however have a much harder task against holders Barcelona who are in great form with Lionel Messi scoring for fun, and showing that Argentina will have to be taken seriously in the World Cup Finals this year. They only trail Real Madrid on goal difference in La Liga and with an extra home game to play are probably just about favourites for the title. Arsenal are also in good form, but have came out second best against the bigger teams in the Premiership this season and this just puts a question mark against their ability to rise to the occasion. Much as I would like to see them advance I expect Barcelona to progress.
The all French clash between Bordeaux and Lyon should ensure good crowds and plenty of interest in their native country and I expect Lyon to hand the baton over to Bordeaux as the French challenge for Champions league honours this year, although it should be close.
The final tie sees Jose Mourinho fresh from his success over old club Chelsea take on CSKA Moscow who are the 1st Russian side to reach the Champions League quarter-finals since Spartak Moscow in 1995-96. Providing Inter don’t underestimate the Russians they should progress so setting up a mouthwatering semi final prospect against Barcelona.
Overall it is looking increasingly like there could be a repeat of last years final with Manchester United taking on Barcelona again.
Jose Mourinho‘s Inter Milan won 1-0 on his return to Stamford Bridge last night to send Chelsea out of the Champions League and give their manager a happy return to his old club. The self proclaimed “special one” will have thoroughly enjoyed his return having left the club under less than ideal circumstances after guiding them to their most successful period in the clubs history.
In a far from flowing game it was Samuel Eto’s clinical strike 11 minutes from time that settled the encounter giving Inter Milan a 3-1 aggregate victory and a place in the last 16.
Although disappointing for Chelsea fans they are still in with a chance of the League and Cup double and with their track record with managers Carlo Ancelotti may need to win them both to stay in a job.
For the Sixth season in a row Real Madrid have failed to qualify for the quarter final stage of the European Champions League after crashing out 2-1 on aggregate to French club Lyon.
Despite spending £200 on new players success still eludes the Madrid giants and it is looking increasingly likely they will end the season with no silverware this year.
It was an unhappy night for David Beckham and his AC Milan team mates at Old Trafford tonight as Manchester United ran out comprehensive 4-0 winners to stroll into the Champions Leaague quarter finals 7-2 on aggregate.
By the time he came on for his emotional return Manchester United were 3-0 up and even the crowds standing ovation offered little consolation. He did however manage to make a little more of an impresion on the pitch than his collegues and forced Edwin van der Sar into a save as well as putting in a few good crosses.
However on the night only one team shone and on this form Manchester United look potential Champion League winners.
After their somewhat controversial defeat in Porto, Arsenal thanks to a Nicklas Bendtner hat-trick hammered Porto 5-0 last night to gain their place in the last eight of the Champions League. This will be especially pleasing to Bendtner who was u8nder the spot light following a succession of misses in Saturday’s win against Burnley.
Trailing 2-1 from the 1st leg due mainly to Porto never really looked like a team capable of holding their narrow lead and the game was already won before Bendtner hit his 3rd goal in injury time.
In the end Arsenals 6-2 aggregate victory was no more than they deserved and no one will fancy meeting them in the last eight.