Friday, April 07, 2006

Champions League Quarter-finals: April 5

I am officially one for four in my predictions for this round. Excellent. If I try to make predictions for the World Cup, somebody stop me, please?

Juventus 0 - 0 Arsenal (aggregate 0-2)
Arsenal could have come to Turin determined to just sit back and defend their lead, the way Liverpool did last year. But that's not the way they play, so it was a very open game. Both sides had some decent chances but Arsenal still looked like the better team -- although it took a couple of excellent tackles from Kolo Toure and some good saves from Lehmann to keep them in it.

Pavel Nedved was supposed to provide the spark for Juventus that had been missing from the first leg. Which I suppose he did, if by "spark" you mean getting flagged for offside, tossing his Farrah Fawcett hair petulantly at the refee, and finally getting sent off for a reckless challenge on Eboue. Game over for Juve.

Barcelona 2 - 0 Benfica (aggregate 2-0)
Barcelona had a chance at a penalty in the first five minutes, after a handball in the box, but Ronaldinho's shot wasn't well placed and the Benfica keeper saved it. Ronaldinho made up for it later by scoring Barca's first goal, from a cross from Eto'o. Benfica had been sloppy around their own penalty area, giving the ball away too easily, and Barcelona can create chances from nothing if you give them the tiniest bit of space.

The geniuses at TSN skipped over the first 25 minutes of the second half for no apparent reason, but from the scoreline I guess it wasn't that interesting. They did pick up the broadcast in time for me to see Eto'o kill off the game with a second goal.

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