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World Soccer views and news

Champions League live blog — Bayern Munich v Olympiqye Lyon

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Bayern Munich take on Olympique Lyon in the first leg of the second Champions League semi-final and we’ll be following the match between these two stylish teams live from 1845 GMT, 2045 in central Europe.

Will the game be able to match Inter Milan’s crackling 3-1 victory over Barcelona? We’ll be here from around an hour before kick-off with on-the-spot detail from our reporter in the stadium, Karolos Grohmann and plenty of other contributors. Please join us for the fun.

Is Serie A title race exciting for the wrong reasons?

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It’s the most exciting Serie A title race in years with Inter Milan, AC Milan and AS Roma all in the running with just nine games remaining. Just like most other European leagues, it could all go to the last day.

Inter ran away with the league in the last three years and Italians moaned about about the lack of competition.

Champion League draw: Arsenal v Barcelona – your views

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So there’ll be one French side in the semi-finals and Inter Milan will be extremely pleased to have drawn CSKA Moscow in the quarters.

If Manchester United and Arsenal are going to meet it will be in the Champions League final in Madrid in May.

A new Champions League era or just a blip?

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As many French teams in the Champions League quarter-finals as English clubs and only one Spanish side through.

Does this mark a sea change in Europe or is it just a freak season like 2004 (the last time two French teams reached the last eight)? 

How did Chelsea ever let Mourinho go?

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SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/There will be plenty of time to pick apart Chelsea’s latest Champions League failure, but for now the question on many a fan’s lips on the way out of Stamford Bridge must have been simply, “How did we ever let Jose Mourinho go?”

Mourinho is still Captain of the Bridge, it seems.

The coach’s decision to play such an attacking line-up seemed to surprise Chelsea and Carlo Ancelotti never really found a way to deal with such an audacious strategy.

Balotelli succeeds Cassano as Lippi’s torment

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SOCCER-ITALY/No sooner had the campaign to get Sampdoria forward Antonio Cassano an Italy call-up subsided than Inter Milan’s Mario Balotelli had taken his place as coach Marcello Lippi’s ‘tormentor’.

Cassano’s supporters have been silenced by his recent form and injury problems, along with the frosty relations with club coach Luigi Del Neri that suggest he may not have subdued the temperament issues that dogged him in the past — the apparent reason Lippi consistently overlooked him.

Will Mourinho live to rue the Taste of England?

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There is a wonderful little shop in the centre of Milan called “Taste of England”.

It sells everything a homesick Englishman would want but Italian supermarkets don’t sell. Baked beans, rock-hard chocolate bars, Earl Grey tea.

Spreading out the Champions League is a masterstroke

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Non-football fans are in for a nasty month if they think they have any chance of wrestling the television remote from soccer-mad members of the household.

UEFA has come up with the wonderful idea of spreading out the Champions League last 16 matches over a month.

A great Milan derby but what about that red card?

Sunday’s Milan derby had just about everything.

Red cards, controversies, a missed penalty, great play, Jose Mourinho his usual outlandish self and a another stunning Inter Milan performance (plus unused Inter substitute Marco Materazzi bizarrely walking around at full-time wearing a face mask of Silvio Berlusconi.)

For the leaders to beat their main title rivals 2-0 with nine men is just another example of the remarkable grit of Mourinho’s side.

Mancini is a results man

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It may be good entertainment but new Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini will not have enjoyed watching their 4-3 win over Sunderland on Saturday.

The uncomfortable nature of his appointment, with Mark Hughes taking charge of the game knowing he was sacked, will be a minor thought to the Italian now he has seen the challenge ahead of him.

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