Soccer Break Friday – Champions League draw special
Well well well. Now the Champions League really is wide open..
So here’s that quarter-final draw again:
Real Madrid v Tottenham Hotspur
Chelsea v Manchester United
Barcelona v Shakhtar Donetsk
Inter Milan v Schalke 04
As Gary Lineker put it, there will be an English team in the semi-finals, but could Tottenham make it two sides? Real are certainly not invincible.
Now, before taking a look at all the domestic leagues over the weekend, a recap of Thursday’s highlights from the Europa League. Quite a night of upsets.
Portuguese clubs lead the way in the second-tier European club competition with three representatives; the Netherlands have two sides in the last eight while Spain, Ukraine and Russia all have one.
What are your feelings on the Europa League? Prestigious cup worth winning, or would you rather your team wasn’t in it at all like Bayern Munich’s Arjen Robben?
A player who seems to want the ground to swallow him up right now is Manchester City’s Mario Balotelli, the Italian shown a straight red card for a crazy challenge after 36 minutes of his side’s last 16 second leg match against Dynamo Kiev that the Mancunians went on to win but they lost the tie 2-1 on aggregate.
There’s a great weekend in store in Europe’s top leagues. In France, England and Italy the title tussles seem set to go down to the wire, while in Spain Real will hope to ride a wave of Champions League momentum to keep pressing leaders Barcelona, and in Germany the Bundesliga is Borussia Dortmund’s to lose.
Manchester United’s Premier League pursuers Arsenal made the surprise signing of Jens Lehmann this week as they seek to win their first trophy since 2005. Here’s a reminder about just how good, and unpredictable, the German is.
And finally, a look at the news Mohamed Bin Hammam, the president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and a member of FIFA’s executive committee since 1996, is standing for the FIFA presidency.
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UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino talks before the draw for Champions League first knockout round (last 16) soccer matches at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon, December 17, 2010. REUTERS/Valentin Flauraud