2011-12 UEFA Champions League – Quarter Final Review
Thursday, April 5, 2012 Report by Rajarshi Ghosh
Chelsea will face holders Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals after unconvincingly eliminating 10-man Benfica with a 2-1 victory.
After winning 1-0 away last week, Chelsea's advantage was extended by Frank Lampard from the penalty spot in the 21st minute. But Chelsea failed to make their man advantage count after Maxi Pereira was sent off in the 40th minute, with a several clear-cut chances squandered after the break.
And it was a nervy conclusion to the quarter-final at Stamford Bridge after Javi Garcia headed Benfica level on the night in the 85th minute. Another goal would have sent Benfica through on away goals but Raul Meireles blasted the ball into the net on a counterattack during tense stoppage time to secure Chelsea's 3-1 aggregate win and deny the visitors a first European Cup semi-final appearance in 22 years.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice and Kaka added a first-half goal as Real Madrid completed their easy passage into the Champions League semi-finals with a 5-2 victory over APOEL Nicosia. Madrid reached their second straight semi-final under coach Jose Mourinho after winning the quarter-final 8-2 on aggregate, with the record nine-time champions' progression never in doubt at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium.
Ronaldo scored in each half to take his season goal tally to 49, while Kaka curled home in the 37th to match Rivaldo's 27 Champions League goals, a record for a Brazilian player. Gustavo Manduca netted for APOEL in the 67th, while substitutes Jose Callejon and Angel di Maria added goals for Madrid and Esteban Solari scored a late penalty for the Cypriots.
Lionel Messi broke yet another record in an already remarkable season as Barcelona finally broke down AC Milan's stubborn defence to move one step closer to becoming the first team to defend their Champions League title.
The three-time World Player of the Year scored two first-half penalties on Tuesday to lead the Spanish club to a 3-1 victory over Milan and a place in the semi-finals of the tournament for the fifth straight season. In the process, he became the first player to score 14 goals in one Champions League campaign, breaking Ruud van Nistelrooy's record from 2002-03.
After leaving the San Siro feeling aggrieved at not having been awarded at least one penalty in a 0-0 draw, Barcelona took full advantage of getting two spot-kicks this time and then held off the visitors attempt at a fightback.
Messi opened the scoring in the 11th minute at the Camp Nou before Antonio Nocerino countered with a 32nd-minute strike that gave the Italian champions a valuable away goal that provided hope of advancing.
Barcelona's attack did not relent and the defending champions were awarded a second penalty when Alessandro Nesta needlessly yanked Sergio Busquets down inside the area during a corner, and Messi calmly scored his 58th goal of the season in all competitions. Goalkeeper Christian Abbiati kept Milan in reach but could not stop Andres Iniesta from completing the victory from close range in the 53rd.
As Messi set a record for goals in a Champions League campaign with 14, Barcelona also became the first club in the modern-day edition of the European Cup to reach five straight semi-finals. Only Real Madrid had accomplished the feat en route to winning five straight trophies between 1956-60.
Bayern Munich look sure to meet Real Madrid after Ivica Olic struck twice for the Germans against Olympique Marseille. The Croat, a surprise addition in the line-up ahead of Bundesliga top scorer Mario Gomez, gave the hosts a flying start when he connected with a Franck Ribery pass in the 13th minute.
Bayern, who booked their spot in the competition's last four for the second time in three seasons with their 13th win in the last 14 Champions League home games, are desperate for a final appearance that will be hosted by Munich on May 19th.
Fri Mar 15 2013
Fri Mar 15 2013
Thu Feb 21 2013
Wed Feb 20 2013