Reuters Soccer Blog
World Soccer views and news
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.
So, what do you make of that draw? Very, very intriguing I’d say. Holders Barcelona wil not find it easy at Arsenal but the last-eight second leg will be at the Nou Camp.
Olympique Lyon v Bordeaux
Bayern Munich v Manchester United
Arsenal v Barcelona
Inter Milan v CSKA Moscow
Bayern/United v Lyon/Bordeaux
Inter/CSKA v Arsenal/Barcelona
PHOTO: Inter Milan’s Samuel Eto’o celebrates scoring against Chelsea during the Champions League last 16, second leg soccer match at Stamford Bridge in London March 16, 2010. REUTERS/Andrew Winning
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)?
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez will have two conflicting voices whispering in his ear as he contemplates Wednesday’s devastating Champions League exit against Olympique Lyon.
His better angel will be telling him to stay calm, remember that the Primera Liga title is still very much in play, that the team has actually looked pretty good lately and that a bit of stability is long overdue.
Uncomfortable questions are being asked about Real Madrid’s policy of forking out a quarter of a billion euros on players following their shock elimination from the Champions League at the hands of Olympique Lyon on Wednesday.
Florentino Perez returned for a second term as president pledging to end Real’s five-year run of failure in Europe’s elite club competition but the nine-times European champions’ dream of a 10th triumph in May’s final at their Bernabeu stadium was shattered by the French side.
Liverpool hopes of one more great Champions League escape were dashed on Tuesday night, as Fiorentina sealed their place alongside Olympique Lyon with a 1-0 win over the French side, leaving the English team’s 1-0 success against Debrecen irrelevant.
Liverpool, of course, only have themselves to blame for leaving their fate in the hands of a team that had already secured their own qualification.
France’s Ligue 1 cannot compare with England’s Premier League or Spain’s La Liga in terms of worldwide profile or star quality on the pitch but on Sunday Lyon and Marseille produced the sort of spectacular entertainment Chelsea v Manchester United just could not match.
I had not expected much from this match, which ended in a depressing goalless draw last season. Both teams had played in the Champions League earlier in the week – yes, there are French teams in that competition — and I suspected they would play conservatively, probably settling for draw.