Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Inter Milan 3-1 Barcelona Highlights


Inter 3-1 Barcelona: The Nerazzurri Storm Back To Stun Holders


Inter came from a goal behind to record a famous victory over European Champions Barcelona at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, as the Italian giants move into pole position to reach the Champions League final.

Pedro had given the Blaugrana an early lead, but the Nerazzurri roared back thanks to goals from Wesley Sneijder, full-back Maicon and Diego Milito, and it is advantage Jose Mourinho heading into the second leg next week.

The pre-match team news saw Pep Guardiola offer Zlatan Ibrahimovic a return to his former stomping ground for the second time this season, after proving his fitness, and the Swede partnered Lionel Messi and Pedro in attack.

Jose Mourinho, meanwhile also employed an offensive formation, with Diego Milito and Samuel Eto’o offered capable support by the roving Wesley Sneijder.

The atmosphere crackled from kick-off, and was befitting of the occasion. The Giuseppe Meazza positively rocked, but the home support was left frustrated by a pair of debatable calls in the opening ten minutes.

Firstly, the wily Milito looked to have timed his run perfectly to spring Barcelona’s offside trap, but the assistant referee’s eventual flag for offside was met by a chorus of disdain from the Nerrazzuri faithful. Moments later, they were up in arms once more, as Eto’o looked to have legitimately robbed Maxwell of possession, and he was shown an early booking for kicking the ball away in disgust as play was halted.

Then, we had the first sight of goal of the contest. Samuel Eto’o picked up the ball on the edge of the area, and his curling effort could only be beaten away by Victor Valdes. However, Milito on the follow up slammed his effort straight across goal.

But for their vibrant start, you just cant afford this Barcelona team chances, and the reigning champions hit a hammer blow on the 19th minute.

Maxwell, a former Inter player, was allowed to roam freely to the by-line almost unchallenged, and his cutback landed perfectly at the feet of Pedro, who coolly slotted home from 15 yards.

It was the young winger’s 20th strike of a hugely fruitful campaign, and even this early in the tie, Inter faced a monumental task. They had failed to score against the Blaugrana in the last four meetings, and now they would be forced to chase the game.

However, to the credit of Mourinho’s side, they were undeterred from their game plan. Milito should have perhaps looked to pick out Eto’o but instead curled wide of the post from the corner of the six-yard area.

Moments later, though, The Argentine showed inspired awareness to divert Eto’o’s low cross into the path of Sneijder, who beat Valdes calmly from just inside the area, and the match was level on the half-hour mark.

It was a frenetic opening 45 minutes, in contrast to the closely-fought tactical tussle many had foreseen, but Guardiola’s side sought to slow down the contest as the interval approached. The Catalan side enjoyed a spell of possession, with Xavi at the heart, probing and searching for the slightest gap, but Inter stayed resolute.

At the beginning of the second half, Inter immediately appeared to press further up the pitch in an attempt to allow Barcelona less time to control the pace of the game, and Mourinho watched in satisfaction as his team turned the match on its head.

Milito again peeled away from Pique to pull out wide, and provide the pass into the feet of Maicon. The Brazilian still had plenty of work to do, but his control and volleyed finish was perfect, and he nestled his effort into the corner.

Inter were most definitely in the ascendency, and Barcelona, uncharacteristically, appeared shaken.

However, there was almost an instant response, as the incessant tempo of the match continued unabated. Firstly, Messi stung the gloves of Julio Cesar with a long range shot, then Sergio Busquets somehow headed straight at the Brazilian number one from just six yards out.

But Inter were hugely impressive throughout the contest, and their comeback from going behind so early on was complete when Diego Milito added a deserved third.

Thiago Motta started another Inter counter-attack from deep in his own half, picking out Samuel Eto’o on the wing. His cross found Sneijder arriving late, but while his effort looked to be heading off target, Milito was in the right place to simply nod into the net past the exposed Valdes.

It was 3-1 – Barcelona’s players looked around in disbelief; it was the first time this season they have conceded more than twice in a single match.

Guradiola’s response was to remove the utterly ineffective Ibrahimovic, who barely touched the ball during the entire match, and bring on Eric Abidal and reshuffle his side.

Barcelona were the dominant force in the closing stages, knowing that another away goal would swing the pendulum back in their favour. Gerard Pique camped in the Nerazzuri penalty area, causing havoc, and on a number of occasions almost found the killer touch to net a vital consolation.

Then, controversy. Daniel Alves stumbled under the challenge of Wesley Sneijder, and it appeared to be a cast-iron penalty kick. However, the referee booked Alves for simulation, to the disbelief of the Brazilian.

Barcelona continued to attack, throwing forward wave after wave, but the damage had already been inflicted, and in the end it was a famous night for Inter and their coach Jose Mourinho.

However, this tie is far from over yet.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Who is it gonna be Mourinho or Guardiola ?


As Inter Milan and Barcelona meets each other on 20 th April at Camp Nou for first leg of Champions League semi finals , all eyes will be on two charismatic managers of the season Mourinho and Pep Guardiola. Guardiola have been leading the invincible Barcelona squad last two seasons with alot of glory. While Mourinho who joined Inter last season is gleaming with confidence as his side defeated his previous club Chelsea in the pre quarters and CSKA Moskov in the quarter finals.

                                              The Barcelona side has a mental edge as they are coming after a 2-0 comprehensive victory against Real Madrid in the El Classico meet and also thrashing Arsenal for 4-1 in the second leg of quarter finals. With Messi and Xavi at the best of their form , Pep Guardiola expects his side to secure its place in finals or the consecutive second time.

                                                               But the task won't be that easy as Barcelona has to face "The Special One's " Inter Milan. Mourinho has been famous for his tactical brilliance and grace that he transfers to his team. But the recent failures in Serie A could make some amount of tension in the Italian Squad. Mou is very much confident about his side and he beleives the former Barcelona man Eto is going to be the key. Also the in form Snjider can pose a great threat to Barcelona defence.

                                                                    Who ever wins , it is going to be a great football match we are going to watch on April 20th. Lets see who over takes whom.

Key Players :
Barcelona :
        * Messi
        * Xavi

Inter Milan
         * Eto
        * Snjider

United buckle under Bayern strain


Manchester United 3-2 Bayern Munich

FC Bayern München fought back from three goals down on the night to oust Manchester United FC from the UEFA Champions League on away goals.

On a pulsating evening, United stormed into a three-goal lead through Darron Gibson and a Nani double. Yet Ivica Olić's goal just before the break raised Bayern hopes and after Rafael's 50th-minute dismissal, the Bundesliga leaders capitalised on the extra man thanks to a stunning Arjen Robben volley 16 minutes from time.

It was a repeat of the Dutchman's decisive goal in the identical away-goals win against ACF Fiorentina in the last 16 and means Bayern can look forward to their first semi-final since 2001, the year of their last European crown when they also beat United at this stage.

The home fans had a lift before kick-off with the news that Wayne Rooney would be starting, just days after Sir Alex Ferguson had said he faced "two to three weeks" out with the ankle injury sustained in the first leg.

United then made a dream start with a third-minute goal involving two other surprise names on the team sheet. Rafael, in for Gary Neville, dispossessed Franck Ribéry and played the ball to Rooney, who laid it on to Gibson. The Northern Irishman, making only his second start of 2010, side-footed a low shot inside the near post from the edge of the box for his first UEFA Champions League goal.

By the seventh minute United were two up. Antonio Valencia teased Holger Badstuber out on the right before driving in a low cross that Nani, ghosting beyond the Bayern back line, turned in with a cute flick of his heel. Michael Carrick, with a shot, and Rooney, a header, then went close with Bayern struggling to live with the pace of United's play, even with Rooney now hobbling. They duly made it 3-0 as Valencia broke down the right and crossed for Nani to drive the ball high into the net.

Two minutes later, however, Bayern pulled a goal back through Olić, their first-leg matchwinner. Latching onto Thomas Müller's flicked header, the Croatian shrugged aside Michael Carrick and beat Edwin van der Sar from a tight angle. Louis van Gaal sent on Mario Gómez for Müller at the interval and within minutes Bayern found themselves with a man advantage when Rafael collected a second yellow for pulling back Ribéry.

With Rooney making way for John O'Shea, Bayern pressed for a second and Van der Sar punched clear a Ribéry drive just before the hour before Gómez skimmed the crossbar with a header. It was not all one-way traffic, not with United's counterattacking threat – twice Butt saved well from Nani, while Carrick and Gibson spurned half-chances.

With 16 minutes remaining, though, Robben broke United's resistance by levelling the aggregate scores at 4-4. Ribéry's corner found him on the edge of the box and the Dutchman drove the ball on the volley across a helpless Van der Sar and into the far corner. For United, the dream of a third successive final was over.

Lyon hold firm to oust Bordeaux


Bordeaux 1-0 Lyon

Olympique Lyonnais withstood a barrage of pressure to clinch a gritty aggregate win against FC Girondins de Bordeaux and book their place in the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League for the first time.

Leading 3-1 from the first leg, the visitors defended with fierce determination to protect their advantage, although it took another sensational Hugo Lloris save in the closing moments to ultimately seal the triumph. Marouane Chamakh had halved the deficit with his fifth European goal of the season just before the break, setting up a thrilling second half in which Les Girondins poured forward relentlessly. Lyon stood firm, however, thus ensuring they will compete in a semi-final after falling in the last eight three times in the previous six years.

Les Marine et Blanc entered the contest boasting a perfect home record in this season's competition yet three defeats from their last three outings was clearly playing on the French champions' confidence. As Laurent Blanc's men struggled to find their passing game, OL warmed to the task and twice threatened to extend their aggregate lead early on. Michel Bastos rifled a powerful free-kick narrowly wide and Bafétimbi Gomis nodded César Delgado's corner over before the hosts gradually got a foothold.

Not surprisingly, when Bordeaux stirred on 18 minutes the danger came from a free-kick. Wendel's superb delivery from the right drew Lloris off his line but Yoann Gourcuff failed to add to Bordeaux's 11 set-piece goals this term, glancing his header over. The opening brought the crowd to life, though, and suddenly the momentum was firmly with Bordeaux. Only a series of towering headers from Cris kept Claude Puel's side afloat as Benoît Trémoulinas and Wendel fizzed over crosses from either flank.

Les Girondins were out of luck on 44 minutes when former Lyon midfielder Alou Diarra thundered a dipping volley against the crossbar from distance, although the home fans were soon celebrating. Seconds before the interval, the marauding Trémoulinas collected Jussiê's return ball on the left, surged to the byline, and when Jaroslav Plašil flicked on his near-post cross, Chamakh was on hand to force in his second goal of the tie from close range.

If Les Gones were struggling to create chances without their suspended talisman Lisandro, his replacement Gomis was quick to show in the second half. Directly from the restart, the French international broke free on the right side of the penalty area and evaded the advancing Cédric Carrasso, only to shoot tamely at covering defender Marc Planus from a testing angle.

Bastos then fired a volley wide before the French champions seized control and threw everything at Lyon in the last half-hour. Chamakh was a constant menace yet with Cris and Jean-Alain Boumsong typically combative, the Moroccan international could not forge a clear opportunity. Bordeaux always looked capable of scoring the all-important second from a set piece, but for once their favoured weapon failed to deliver. Ludovic Sané headed Gourcuff's corner wide with ten minutes remaining and Lloris pulled off a stunning save from Wendel's header on 87 minutes as time ran out on Bordeaux.

Magical Messi makes light work of Arsenal


Barcelona 4-1 Arsenal
It required a performance of absolute brilliance and four wonderful goals from Lionel Messi but FC Barcelona underlined their status as European champions by sweeping past Arsenal FC to advance to a semi-final against FC Internazionale Milano.

Even after falling behind to Nicklas Bendtner's early goal on the counterattack, Barça built on last week's impressive display in north London as Messi contributed a sumptuous 22-minute hat-trick and added a fourth two minutes from time. The 6-3 aggregate scoreline took the UEFA Champions League titleholders into the semi-finals for the third year in a row and will also give food for though to José Mourinho, whose Inter side now face the task of stopping the Barça juggernaut in the last four.

The visitors had started full of self-belief and intensity of purpose, unfazed by Barça's attacking arsenal. Abou Diaby combined telescopic tackling with lung-busting runs, and that earned his team their 18th-minute breakthrough. The Arsenal midfielder robbed Gabriel Milito on the halfway line, Theo Walcott sprinted down the right and passed towards Bendtner. Daniel Alves arrived in time to block and Victor Valdés pawed away the loose ball, but the Dane was up quickest to prod in.

By then it had already taken a fine fingertip save from Almunia to turn away a Messi drive. It was obvious the inspirational Argentinian wanted to appear in a third successive semi-final, and he duly took matters into his own hands. Three minutes after Bendtner's strike, Messi's attempted pass bounced back off Mickäel Silvestre so he simply crashed a left-footed drive high past Manuel Almunia from outside the box.

After the power came the finesse as the European champions started to find their passing rhythm. Eight minutes before the break that culminated in Messi sending Eric Abidal through and, though Thomas Vermaelen got a foot to the left-back's low cross, Pedro Rodríguez tapped the loose ball to Messi. One touch to take him free of a challenge and the next to dink over Almunia and Barcelona were in control.

Two become three when Arsenal were caught pushing up. Seydou Keita headed a loose ball into the path of Messi and the No10 was bearing down on Almunia again. Once more the Spanish goalkeeper was reduced to the role of helpless spectator as the 22-year-old deftly scooped the ball up and over his dive to complete his hat-trick in style.

Although Messi's play was sublime Arsenal continued to push Barcelona close to their limit, Diaby and Denilson striving to contain Xavi Hernàndez. Josep Guardiola's side lost Abidal, in his second comeback match after seven weeks out injured, Maxwell coming on, and the home coach added a tactical change with Bojan Krkić being replaced by Yaya Touré.

Arsenal would not concede defeat and although both were offside, Bendtner and Walcott hit the woodwork with efforts which showed the spirit in Arsène Wenger's team. It was their misfortune to come up against a team at their imperious best, and Messi underlined that with one last flourish in the 88th minute, rounding Vermaelen and Gaël Clichy before clipping past Almunia at the second attempt – only the sixth time a player has scored four goals in a UEFA Champions League match.

Sneijder strike takes Inter into semis


InterMilan 1-0 CSKA Moskov
Wesley Sneijder's early free-kick was the key to FC Internazionale Milano ending their seven-year wait to return to the UEFA Champions League semi-finals.

Already a goal down from last week's trip to Milan, PFC CSKA Moskva were left needing to score three after Sneijder, a doubt before kick-off with an ankle injury, found the target. A CSKA comeback never looked likely, especially after substitute Chidi Odiah's 49th-minute red card, and Inter take on familair opponents from the group stage, holders FC Barcelona, on 20 and 28 April with the first leg at home.

The suspensions of Evgeni Aldonin and the hugely influential Miloš Krasić meant starts for Mark González and Alan Dzagoev with Keisuke Honda moved into a defensive midfield position but that did not stop the Japanese international having an early effort just wide. However, just six minutes were on the clock when Inter broke the deadlock, Sneijder sending a low free-kick beneath the leaping Honda and past the bamboozled Igor Akinfeev.

That was a cue for an early CSKA change with Odiah replacing Vasili Berezutski, who had hurt his leg in the warm-up. Odiah had the freedom to push forward and found Tomaš Necid on the edge of the box to put a shot just past the post.

CSKA were certainly pressing an Inter defence strengthened by the return of Lucio after a first-leg suspension and restricting their hosts to long-range efforts, notably several Honda free-kicks that sailed over and an Odiah effort that Júlio César was forced to tip wide. One flowing move set Dzagoev free in the box but he slipped, allowing Inter to break and first-leg goalscorer Diego Milito to test Akinfeev.

Only four minutes into the second half, CSKA's task was made harder when Odiah's foul on Samuel Eto'o earned the substitute a second yellow card. Still the home side were doing more of the attacking and they came close when Honda cross from the right just eluded the overhead kick of Dzagoev but fell nicely to González, whose effort was matched by Júlio César's save.

Gradually, though, the ten men of CSKA seemed to tire and Inter began to have chances. Akinfeev denied Sneijder from distance and moments later produced an excellent diving stop to block Dejan Stanković's swerving drive. Milito then shot straight at the goalkeeper and soon after was sent clear only for Akinfeev to again stand firm.

Mario Balotelli replaced Milito as Inter became more and more dominant, CSKA coach Leonid Slutsky trying to refresh things by bringing on Elvir Rahimić for Honda. Stanković shot fractionally wide and Sergei Ignashevich's last-gasp tackle denied Eto'o as he jinked into a goalscoring position, but the tie was already secure for the visitors.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Quarter Finals First Leg Results


Lyon 3-1 Bordeaux

 Two goals from Lisandro ensured Olympique Lyonnais have a wonderful opportunity to reach their first ever UEFA Champions League semi-final after Claude Puel's team got the better of domestic rivals FC Girondins de Bordeaux in a pulsating game.

Bordeaux's chances of an eighth straight victory in the competition diminished in the tenth minute when Lisandro opened the scoring, and though Marouane Chamakh quickly levelled, Michel Bastos re-established the hosts' advantage before the break. Although Laurent Blanc's team rallied in the second half, Hugo Lloris was in stunning form, and when he was beaten the crossbar denied Wendel an equaliser. Lisandro's 76th-minute penalty capped a wonderful night for Lyon, soured only by the yellow cards picked up by Lisandro and Sidney Govou who will miss the second leg in south-west France on 7 April.
Bayern Munich 2-1 Manchester United 
Ivica Olić struck in the dying seconds as FC Bayern München turned the tables on Manchester United FC to gain the upper hand in their quarter-final tie.
Olic Struck in the death to claim a win
Bayern suffered one of the UEFA Champions League's most dramatic reversals at the hands of United in the 1999 final, but got a measure of revenge with Olić's goal deep into added time. United looked set to maintain their 100% away record in the competition this season after Wayne Rooney fired home with less than two minutes gone. Franck Ribéry, though, levelled 13 minutes from time when his free-kick ricocheted off Rooney before Olić seized the initiative for Bayern ahead of next Wednesday's second leg at Old Trafford.

Arsenal 2-2 Barcelona
Arsenal FC mounted an unlikely comeback in the final quarter to fight back from two goals down against FC Barcelona and keep alive their chances of reaching the UEFA Champions League semi-finals in a pulsating contest.

The holders were at their scintillating best from the first minute, and only an inspired display from Manuel Almunia in the home goal kept the scoresheet blank at the break, only for Zlatan Ibrahimović to finally beat the goalkeeper with a fine chipped finish less than 60 seconds after half-time.

The same player doubled the advantage 13 minutes later but substitute Theo Walcott's 69th-minute effort brought the Gunners back into the contest. Five minutes from time they were level when Carles Puyol was sent off for bringing down Cesc Fàbregas, the Arsenal captain – who will miss next week's second leg after his booking here – making no mistake with the resulting penalty to level the tie.

Inter Milan 1-0 CSKA Moskva
FC Internazionale Milano will be hopeful of reaching the UEFA Champions League semi-finals for the first time in seven years after overcoming PFC CSKA Moskva at San Siro, but a fine performance from goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev means Diego Milito's goal is all that separates the sides.
Millito made the victory for Inter
Milito scored midway through the second half after a sustained spell of Nerazzurri pressure, but Inter may rue a succession of late chances that could have given them more daylight. Akinfeev was largely responsible for that, though suspensions to Miloš Krasić and Evgeni Aldonin, who both picked up bookings, could prove just as telling in the second leg.

Inter Milan , CSKA Moskva , Barcelona and Bordeaux go into Quarter Finals as Chelsea crashes out


Inter Milan 1-0 Chelsea
José Mourinho said he is "the happiest person on earth" after guiding FC Internazionale Milano into the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals at the expense of his former club, Chelsea FC. Although the Inter coach believed the visitors were "the best team by far" throughout the 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge − secured by Samuel Eto'o's 78th-minute goal − Mourinho urged caution by stressing that the "road to Madrid is still long". Counterpart Carlo Ancelotti admitted the Nerazzurri were deserved winners because of the way they pressurised his players into mistakes.

CSKA Moskva 2-1 Sevilla
As Manuel Jiménez reflected on a "disastrous" defeat for his Sevilla FC side, PFC CSKA Moskva counterpart Leonid Slutsky was typically phlegmatic. His Army Men marked their first appearance in the UEFA Champions League knockout stages by booking a quarter-final place, but the coach preferred to reserve judgment. He did praise his players for keeping their heads after Diego Perotti had cancelled out Tomáš Necid's opener, however, "controlling the course of the game" after Keisuke Honda's 55th-minute effort restored their advantage.

Barcelona 4-0 Stuttgart
Josep Guardiola hailed his FC Barcelona side's "great intensity", VfB Stuttgart's Christian Gross their exhilarating pace, but in the end one man dominated both coaches' thoughts – Lionel Messi. After Messi scored two and set up another goal in the 4-0 win at the Camp Nou, Gross compared the 22-year-old to Diego Maradona while Guardiola called him "simply the best".

Bordeaux 2-1 Olympiacos
Laurent Blanc was left breathing a sigh of relief after FC Girondins de Bordeaux were made to sweat for a UEFA Champions League quarter-finals place, Kostas Mitroglou cancelling out Yoann Gourcuff's opener midway through the second half to set up a tense finale. With each team down to ten men after Matt Derbyshire and Alou Diarra had been dismissed, home nerves were not settled until Marouane Chamakh's clinching late header which left Blanc "wholly satisfied" and opposite number Božidar Bandović bemoaning a lack of belief.

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