11 April 2007
BAYERN MUNICH 0-2 MILAN
Things looked promising early on for Milan as even Oddo managed to make his presence felt in defence when he hacked Lell's miss-hit shot off the line. With his back to goal on the edge of the box Makaay played an exquisite reverse pass to Podolski, taking out four Milan defenders, Dida covered his near post and the youngster shot straight at him. Milan scored on what appeared to be their first attack. Nesta stole a ball off Podolski in midfield and passed to Kaka', he cut inside Hargreaves before passing into Seedorf who instantly brought the ball under control with his right foot, took it onto his left then suddenly touched it past Bayern's giant centre back pairing of Lucio and Van Buyten with his right before shooting low past Kahn. Gattuso chipped a pass into Seedorf and his outrageous back heel obliterated Van Buyten and Inzaghi, who was just offside, turned before shooting high past Kahn. Podolski, who had an absolute nightmare, missed a half chance when Jankulovski made a balls up of defending a free kick.
It was an uneventful second half until the hour mark when Van Bommel drew a great save from Dida. Two minutes later Nesta slid across the turf to make an excellent tackle on Salihamidzic who stamped on his thigh as he vaulted the challenge. Nesta, who is back after a four month lay-off, was furious fearing the worst, Salihamidzic got a yellow card and fortunately Nesta got up. Kaka' almost, almost scored a magical goal when he crushed Lell with a Cryuff turn inside the box and held off Van Buyten only to be denied by Kahn's outstretched leg. Bayern had two chances in as many minutes. Salihamidzic should have pulled a goal back but screwed horribly wide after Pizarro headed on a Hargreaves cross. Nesta, again under pressure from Pizarro, was out jumped on another Hargreaves cross, Podolski couldn't bring the ball under control, Nesta recovered to clear with a scissor kick, Lucio slammed a shot into the Milan wall, Salihamidzic blasted the rebound against Oddo and Pizarro shot into two Milan players to win a corner. Bayern continued to surge forward as you would expect but for once Milan defended deep and didn't overexert themselves in attack.
Bayern's coach gave a fabulous pre match interview. According to Gattuso "Ottmar Hitzfeld's pre-match talk really fired us up too as he said he'd see us cry tonight. As for saying Pippo Inzaghi was not to be feared, he has proved himself so many times at this level.". How do you spell arsehole? Oh yes I remembered, ARSEHOLE. I doubt there's a Bayern supporter out there who isn't counting the days until Inzaghi retires. Sorry Bruce.
People have got the semi-final line-up all wrong, it's not three English teams it's a new take on the classic Englishman, Irishman and Scotsman joke - three Americans (Glazer, Gillet and Hicks), a Russian (Abramovich) and an Italian (Berlusconi).
Attendance : 65,000
Aggregate : Milan win 4-2 on aggregate
Assists : Kaka', Seedorf
LIVERPOOL 1-0 PSV
Things might have been different had Farfan not wasted an excellent second minute cross from old man Cocu by heading at Reina. Gomes made a spectacular one handed save from a Crouch volley and quickly followed that with a customary blunder when he ran off his line to punch out a cross and completely missed the ball. Zenden brought a dull first half to close by flashing a free kick wide of Gomes' left hand post.
Farfan let rip with a blistering strike two minutes into the second half forcing Reina into an excellent low save. Marcellis walked for a studs up foul on Zenden, going through the brittle midfielders left foot when challenging for a ball, Zenden, surprisingly, wasn't hurt. Gomes produced another brilliant save to prevent Salcido turning Riise's cross into his own net but old man Fowler pulled the rebound back into the centre for Crouch to go one goal behind Kaka' at the top of the Champions League scoring charts.
I hope this is the last time we see PSV at this stage of the competition. Yes they gave Milan a run for their money a couple of seasons ago and their victory over Arsenal was terribly amusing but seriously they suck an absolute cock.
Attendance : 41,447
Red Card : Marcellis 64 (PSV)
Aggregate : Liverpool win 4-0 on aggregate
Assist : Fowler
10 April 2007
MANCHESTER UNITED 7-1 ROMA
Carrick began this savage beating when he collected a pass from Ronaldo and noticed Doni standing a few yards off his line so dug the ball out of his feet and curled a brilliant shot up and over the Brazilian's head. Giggs appeared to screw up what had been a fine one touch passing move with an under-hit pass into the box but Chivu jumped for the ball and missed leaving Smith to plunder his first goal of the season. With Roma pushing forward United hit them on the break. Ronaldo took the ball into the Roma half, Smith sent Giggs clear down the right, he knocked as pass to the back post and Rooney finished with a lovely flick into the corner. Ronaldo marked his 30th Champions League appearance with his first goal. Giggs completed a hat-trick of assists with a simple pass out wide to the Portuguese winger, he cut infield and teased the hapless Chivu before drilling a low shot into the corner.
Rooney ran onto a half cleared corner before passing to Giggs who hit another precision ball across the face of goal, Smith missed, Ronaldo didn't, 5-0. Carrick scored the pick of the United goals when he collected a pass from Heinze, took one touch then whipped the ball inside the top right corner, brilliant. Man of the match Giggs was subbed a minute later. With his back to goal De Rossi nonchalantly volleyed a Totti cross into the bottom corner. It has to the best most irrelevant goal ever scored. Substitute Evra came off the bench to knock in number seven past a dejected Doni.
After their loss in Rome last week and at Portsmouth on Saturday I figured Man United were ripe for the taking. Guess again. This was the first time Man United had overturned a first leg deficit and I can't imagine a team that has lost all but two of their away games will win the competition but as we all know stranger things have happened.
Attendance : 74,476
Aggregate : Manchester United win 8-3 on aggregate.
Assists : Ronaldo, Giggs, Giggs, Giggs, Giggs, Heinze, Totti, Solskjaer
VALENCIA 1-2 CHELSEA
Essien returned from a knee injury and promptly got himself a yellow card after 4 minutes for stamping on Morientes and thus misses the first leg of the semi- final against Liverpool. Mikel lost possession in the Valencia half and Albelda released Villa on the counter, he danced between Diarra and Carvalho before rolling a centre to Morientes, he pushed the ball inside Terry, leaving the defender flat footed, then smashed a left foot shot against the post and horribly miscued the rebound. Two minutes later Carvalho headed a Canizares goalkick back into the Valencia midfield and Joaquin picked up possession. As Lampard and Ashley Cole backed off waiting for Miguel's overlapping run, Joaquin hit a superb cross into the box and Morientes slammed a volley into the bottom right corner. Villa skinned Carvalho on the left before cutting inside the box, Carvalho recovered to make a brilliant tackle as Villa shot, the ball popped up to the back post, Morientes fired off another volley and Ashley Cole trapped it between his legs as Cech scrambled across goal. Chelsea finally registered a notable shot on target just before half time when a Drogba header forced Canizares into a sensational one handed save.
Essien recycled an awful Lampard free kick and provided a much better cross, Ayala and Miguel jumped on Drogba but could only clear as far as Shevchenko leaving him with a far post tap-in. Ayala and Moretti picked up bookings in quick succession before Morientes was substituted and Albiol became the latest Valencia player to leave on a stretcher following a risky challenge for a 50-50 ball with Lampard. Carvalho made a superb tackle to throw off Angulo as he latched on a slack Mikel clearance. Chelsea won another free kick and this time Lampard's delivery was spot on, Ballack seemed certain to head in the winner only for Canizares to deny him with a save that will surely draw comparisons with Banks vs Pele. With the match headed for extra time Essien tried his luck from a stupid angle out wide on the right of the box and caught the former Spanish international by surprise with a thunderous shot inside his near post.
Hopefully the semi-final matches between Chelsea and Liverpool will be more exciting than their last encounters in the competition.
Attendance : 53,000
Aggregate : Chelsea win 3-2 on aggregate.
Assists : Joaquin, n/a, Shevchenko
4 April 2007
ROMA 2-1 MAN UNITED
The referee finally decided to book over-rated ginger twat Paul Scholes after his THIRD foul from behind (on Cassetti, Taddei and Wilhelmsson). Eight minutes later he walked for tripping Totti on a counter attack. Chivu gave the ref a thumbs up and a pat on the back, which was most excellent. Roma had a lot of possession in the United half but didn't do a damn thing until Taddei got on the end of a short corner and scored via a deflection off Brown.
The Premiership leaders (what a travesty that is) scored on their one attack of quality, in between pumping aimless longballs into the Roma half. Ronaldo, who was largely quiet, skipped two tackles as he cut inside before playing the ball down the left flank to Solskjaer who hit a superb first time cross towards the back post, De Rossi overshot Rooney and he juggled the ball off his chest before crashing a right foot shot past Doni. Vucinic had an immediate impact after coming on as a sub for Wilhelmsson. Mancini, was very, very disappointing, tried his luck from about 25 yards and Van Der Sar did a Toldo, punching the ball straight back into the danger area (these type of mistakes were the reason Juve got rid of him) and the Serbian international slammed in a volley on the rebound.
Despite their away goal given Man United defended very deep and showed little ambition going forward this isn't as clear cut as many people seem to think. Roma are outstanding on the break and provided they keep their composure they have every chance of reaching the semi-finals.
Attendance : 77,000
Red Card : Scholes 34 (Manchester United)
Assists : n/a, Solskjaer, n/a
CHELSEA 1-1 VALENCIA
Chelsea should have been awarded a 10th minute penalty when Ayala curtailed Shevchenko's run into the box with an elbow towards his jaw, amid the confusion Kalou gathered the ball, turned and curled a right foot shot against a post. Silva made up for a bad miss from 12 yards with an astonishing goal 10 minutes later. Vicente tossed a throw in to Silva, he tried to thread a pass down the wing but the ball took a deflection off Mikel (who is utterly wasted in a defensive role) Silva was first to react and ran between Lampard and Terry before unleashing a shot from a stupid angle way left of goal into the opposite corner of the net. Ashley Cole intercepted a Canizares goal kick and punted the ball straight back into the Valencia box, Ayala misjudged the bounce allowing Drogba to burst past and head in his 30th goal of the season. It seems as if he's been stuck on 29 for ages. Valencia rode their luck late on to escape with a draw. Albiol wrestled Terry to the turf when they battled for a cross yet once again the inept referee, Frank De Bleeckere, failed to point to the spot. Two minutes later Canizares flapped at a corner, Carvalho saw his shot cannon off a defender and Manuel blocked a fantastic Shevchenko overhead kick on the follow- up.
Despite Joe Cole's timely return without the injured Robben Chelsea are going to have a hard time getting behind the Valencia defence so they should pepper Canizares with long range shots because he hasn't looked comfortable at all this season.
Attendance : 38,065
Assists : n/a, Cole
3 April 2007
MILAN 2-2 BAYERN MUNICH
Rensing made a hat-trick of brilliant point blank saves from Ambrosini and twice from Gilardino. Lucio was fortunate not to concede a penalty for a sloppy challenge on Kaka'.Milan worked a short corner to Pirlo but he let the ball run to Oddo, Oddo was given time to size up a cross and sent one straight onto Pirlo's head as the Bayern defence sprung their offside trap and this time Rensing couldn't prevent the ball from hitting the back of the net.
Around the hour mark Milan paid the price for the tremendous workrate they put into the first half and began to tire. Bayern won a succession of corners before equalising. Salihamidzic hit a deep left wing cross into the box, Pizarro headed against the back of Oddo, Dida was incredibly slow coming off his line and Van Buyten hooked the ball into an empty net before Nesta could make a challenge. Lucio appeared to piss away a draw with a stupid, stupid foul on Kaka'. The Brazilian was dribbling down the left hand edge of the box and just as he was about to cross Lucio threw himself into a slide tackle, Kaka' went down (there was minimal contact at best) and, to everyone's amazement the ref immediately pointed to the spot. Kaka' sent Rensing the wrong way to score his 7th goal of the competition, which is actually 2 more than he's scored in Serie A this season. In second half injury time Hargreaves chipped a free kick into a packed Milan penalty area, the ball bounced, Ambrosini tried to clear but couldn't get close enough to Van Buyten who controlled on his chest before lashing a left foot volley inside the post.
With two away goals no Gilardino (suspended), Inzaghi and Oliveira off form and Dida playing like a complete twat, Bayern won't get a better chance to end their miserable record against Milan.
Attendance : 77,700
Assists : Oddo, n/a, Kaka' (won pen), n/a
PSV 0-3 LIVERPOOL
PSV enjoyed a decent amount of possession early on but did nothing with it while Gomes denied the visitors a goal from their first attack with a magnificent save from Crouch. Finnan worked a one-two with Mascherano up PSV's left flank before crossing, Gerrard, cleverly using Kuyt as a buffer, pushed himself off the Dutchmen to head his team into the lead. PSV cracked under immense early second half pressure. Simons hacked away a longball, across field, Riise intercepted with his chest and from about 30 yards hit one of his long range specials, a superb left foot half volley which curled away from Gomes inside the left post. Crouch got between three defenders to head Liverpool into the semi-finals. If there's one team that's not going to blow a three goal lead it's Liverpool.
Attendance : 36,500
Assists : Finnan, n/a, Finnan