Thursday, March 08, 2007

Champions League Round-up

There will be 8 teams in the hat for the draw tomorrow at ancient Athens, the venue for this year's Champions League final. Not much surprises when it comes to the composition of the quarter finals as all of the 8 teams have done well or just enough to squeeze through.

It has been a week of high drama. From Anfield to Mestalla. From Emirates to San Siro. Ever match provided entertainment of the highest class and not a minute of it gone down the drain.

Liverpool provided perhaps, the best result of the round despite the 1-0 defeat at Anfield. They managed to defy all critics and doubts about their credential by kicking out the defending champions with 2 excellent performances. The 2006 Kings of Europe were stymied and were perhaps, a little fortunate to escape Anfield with a win, just like their counterparts over the weekends, Man Utd.

As Riijkaard mentioned, with a bit of luck, the Reds could go all the way.

Arsenal Shocked At Home

Crashing out of the Champions League is pretty hard to take for a team that actually went all the way to the finals last season. But to crash out of all domestic cup competition in 11 days is pure heartbreaking.

The way they lost to PSV sums up their problems this season. Over-elaborating of plays and just like Liverpool, failure to put the final sword stroke. It's already an uphill task considering that pretty ridiculous defeat at Eindhoven a fortnight ago. Now with talisman, Thierry Henry, rumoured to be out for a couple of weeks, where will the Gunners go from here?

Is Wenger going to be oh so stubborn and stick to his 'beautiful football' philosophy? Or doing something pragmatic and get the right results?

French Champion Stunned

Lyon were in the driving seat after holding Roma at the Stadio Olimpico 2 weeks ago. They're always touted to be the black horse of the Champions League but never fulfilled their 'potential'. This time round, it was the Romans who dashed Gerard Houllier's dream. The Frenchman plotted their downfall back in 2001 with Liverpool and seemed like the men from the eternal city have gotten their revenge.

Especially with goal like this:

Milan Breaks Celtic Hearts

It took a brilliant individual goal from Brazilian, Kaka, to seal the win for the Rosseneri. Celtic did well to hold out for a draw at Celtic Park and they're undaunted by the former champions of Europe even at the intimidating San Siro. Goalkeeper, Arthur Boruc, put up a fine display and thwarted Milan's effort.

But when the magician weaves his magic, who's going to stop him?

Real Falters. Capello Under Pressure

Now, the Galacticos' policy of changing a manager every year seemed to be underway again after last night's result. How absurd was it to concede a goal 10 seconds into the game? Used to be known as one of the best left backs in the world, Roberto Carlos' first touch of a rapist let Hasan Salihamidzic intercept before placing the ball through the static Real defence and Roy Makaay to slam home.

As usual, Real Madrid's defence were again not present last night. Only Casillas bothered to turn up and the rest, like I've always said in a sarcastic tone, were scare crows.

Larsson Delight For United

His last game for United before moving back to his beloved Helsingborg, Henrik Larsson provided cheers for the United fans as they triumphed over the whiny French side, Lille, to advance to the next round. Nothing really interesting happened but I was quite amused to see how Mikael Silvestre got injured.

He headbutted the ground. Well, not so much of a loss, eh?

Portugese Provided Scare For Mourinho

His post match interview sounded as if he was the one who scored the winner for them. Self-important as usual, the man was nearly undone by a surprisingly good Porto side. Robben provided the equaliser after Ricardo Quaresma scored for Porto. Ballack was on hand to finish off the job with a brilliant 'volleyball' move.

Ugly News, Right At The Back

I've decided not to comment on anything Valencia and Inter after what happened post game. Just know that Valencia went through. Period.

Last 8:

Man Utd (Eng)
Chelsea (Eng)
AC Milan (Ita)
Roma (Ita)
PSV Eindhoven (Hol)
Bayern Munich (Ger)
Valencia (Esp)

Stay tune!

1 comment:

psychohare said...

well with those beautiful solo goals by Kaka, Mancini and Quaresma, now i think we got a couple good players to add to that shortlist Rafa has for summer.
3 English teams in the last 8, will all 3 make it to the semis, or will only Liverpool remain... we shall see...