Europa Quarter Finals Mixed Bag

The first leg of the Europa League quarter finals was on today. Benfica, Chelsea & Fenerbahce played at home and defeated Newcastle United, Rubin Kazan & Lazio respectively. Tottenham Hotspurs could not grab a win at home and drew with Basel 2-2. A brief look at the matches below.

Benfica 3-1 Newcastle United

Benefica defeated Newcastle United coming from behind to secure a 2 goal lead. Having the valuable away goal Newcastle still have a slim chance of reversing the results next week at home.

Benefica 3: Rodrigo 25′, Lima 65′, Cardozo (pen) 71′
Newcastle United 1: Cisse 12′

Question to the readers: Newcastle manager Alan Pardew had suggested that Benfica were not as good as the best teams in the premier league – Benfica proved their point to him today. What do you think will be the result of the second leg?

Chelsea 3-1 Rubin Kazan

Fernando Torres finds his goal scoring quality to score twice against the Russian team. Holding onto the healthy lead Rafa Benitez’s side will be travelling to Moscow next week to play the second leg. Benitez commented that he was happy but not 100 per cent as his team had conceded a goal when they were in control of the game. His post match comments paraphrased.

Chelsea 3: Torres 16′, Moses 32′, Torres 70′
Rubin Kazan 1: Natcho (pen) 41′

Question to the readers: A reporter, after the match, lightly asked Rafael Benitez if Torres should stick with the mask until the end of the season. Do you think Torres has returned to form and will he maintain the class he displayed against the Russians today?

Fenerbahce 2-0 Lazio

Fenerbahce made sure they utilised the advantage of Lazio going down to 10 men. Webo’s 79′ penalty and Kuyt’s 90′ goal secured their victory ahead of the second leg at Rome.

Fenerbahce 2: Webo (pen) 78′, Kuyt 90+0′

Question to our readers: Do you think the Turkish team will be able to hold on to the lead past the second leg to make their first appearance in the Europa League Semi Finals.

Tottehnam Hotspur 2-2 Basel

The Spurs came from two goals behind to finish on a draw during the first leg against a fantastic FC Basel. For the Spurs fanatics it was a tough to see their team down 2-0 with Basel scoring two away goals before half time. Much to their reilef the goals from Adebayor and Sigurdsson evened things before the final whistle.

To add to their misery Gareth Bale had to be taken away on a stretcher after rolling on his right ankle after a tussel for the ball with David Degen. Though it looked horribly worn on TV and pictures Villas-Boas revealed the initial diagnosis was positive. He will be undergoing scans for a definite answer.

Tottenham Hotspur 2: Adebayor 40′, Sigurdsson 58′
Basel2: Stocker 30′, Fabian Frei 34′

Question to our readers: Basel already has the valuable 2 away goals and on top of that Bale’s ankle injury – is this the end for tottenham’s Europa dream this year? Or will the spurs reverse the score next week?

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Real Madrid 3-0 Galatasaray

Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain led Real Madrid to a 3 nil victory at home. Galatasaray’s defence was not organised enough to contain the Spaniard’s counter attack.

Scoring his 18th goal from 16 UEFA appearances Cristiano Ronaldo opened the account for goals just 9 minutes into the game. Benzema doubled the score line at 29′ and Higuain headed in the third one after half time.

Ahead of the second leg at Istanbul Jose Mourinho commented “If we score a goal they have to score five, but in football I have seen so many incredible things that nothing can surprise me.”

Real Madrid will be playing at Turkey next week without Captain Sergio Ramos.

Goals: Cristiano Ronaldo 9′, Karim Benzema 29′, Gonzalo Higuain 73′

Match stats:
Teams: Real Madrid – Galatasaray
Possession: 48% – 52%
Goal Attempts 12-11
Shots on target:10-4

Players in today’s match:

Real Madrid: Diego López, Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Fábio Coentrão, Michael Essien, Mesut Özil- substituted for Luka Modric, Ángel Di María- substituted for Pepe, Sami Khedira, Xabi Alonso, Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema- substituted for Gonzalo Higuaín

Galatasaray: Fernando Muslera, Semih Kaya, Emmanuel Eboué, Albert Riera- substituted for Nourredine Amrabat, Dany Nounkeu, Selcuk Inan, Wesley Sneijder- substituted for Gökhan Zan, Felipe Melo, Hamit Altintop- substituted for Umut Bulut, Burak Yilmaz, Didier Drogba

Málaga CF 0-0 Borussia Dortmund

Holding the Bundesliga champions to a draw Malaga have not let their championship dream die out in the first leg. However the return leg will be interesting as they will be without Weligton and Manuel Iturra for the second leg.

Borissia Dortmund, on the other hand, were unable to capitalise on numerous occasions. The first half was full of opportunities for the German shirts to convert for a healthy advantage in the scoreline.

Mario Gotze had three golden openings to get past Willy Caballero at La Rosaleda but the Germans left empty handed.

Malaga will have another opportunity to to prove their presence next week in Germany. Lets look at some of the match stats.

Match stats:
Teams: Malaga – Borussia Dortmund
Possession: 50% – 50%
Goal Attempts 10-13
Shots on target:7-7

Players in today’s match:

Malaga: Willy Caballero, Martín Demichelis, Jesús Gámez, Vitorino Antunes, Weligton, Jérémy Toulalan, Isco- substituted for Duda, Julio Baptista- substituted for Roque Santa Cruz, Joaquín, Manuel Iturra, Javier Saviola- substituted for Portillo

Borussia Dortmund: Roman Weidenfeller, Lukasz Piszczek, Neven Subotic, Marcel Schmelzer, Felipe Santana, Kevin Großkreutz, Mario Götze- substituted for Oliver Kirch, Ilkay Gündogan, Marco Reus- substituted for Julian Schieber, Sebastian Kehl- substituted for Sven Bender, Robert Lewandowski

P.S.G 2-2 Barcelona

“We missed a few good chances but we’re in a better position than we were at 2-1 and there is no reason why we can’t go there and get a result.” David Beckham commented after his team drew with Barcelona after Blaise Matuidi’s 94th minute goal.

Lionel Messi scored the first goal putting the Catalan club ahead at 38 minutes but had to be substituted shortly after due to a hamstring problem. Unfortunate for Barcelona fans the quick footed Argentinian might not be appearing for the second leg at Camp Nou as a result.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, albeit offside, equalized in the 79th minute. He pounced on the free ball after Thiago Silva’s attempt was rejected by the post.

At 89 minutes Tito Valentino would have thought they secured the game when Xavi Hernandez scored on a penalty but the French continued fighting to find the equalizer at 94 mins.

Andres Iniesta’s post match comments were “It’s a pity we finished like that, conceding at the death. It leaves a bitter taste, but this is a knockout tie and it’s not a bad result away from home.”

Goals for
P.S.G.: Ibrahimovic 79′, Matuidi 90+4′
Barcelona: Messi 38′, Xavi (pen) 89′

Match stats:
Teams: P.S.G – Barcelona
Possession: 32% – 68%
Goal Attempts 12-15
Shots on target: 7-8

Players in today’s match:

Paris Saint-Germain: Salvatore Sirigu, Maxwell, Thiago Silva, Alex, Christophe Jallet, Lucas Moura, Blaise Matuidi, David Beckham-substituted for Marco Verratti, Javier Pastore- substituted Kevin Gameiro, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ezequiel Lavezzi-substituted for Jérémy Menez

Barcelona: Víctor Valdés, Javier Mascherano-substituted for Marc Bartra, Dani Alves, Jordi Alba, Gerard Piqué, Xavi, Andrés Iniesta, Sergio Busquets, Alexis Sánchez, Lionel Messi-substituted for Francesc Fábregas, David Villa-substituted for Cristian Tello

Bayern Munich 2-0 Juventus

The 18 game winning streak for Juventus was broken today. Bayern’s attempt to reach the third Champions League finals in four years seems to be on track defeating Juventus on the first leg of the Champions League Quarter finals.

The Bavarian club secured a 2 goal win against Juventus at Fußball Arena München (Allianz arena) today. David Alaba scored the first goal 25.02 seconds into the match making this the seventh fastest goal in UEFA Champions League history.
Thomas Muller scored the second just after the first hour to secure the lead.

Goals for Bayern Munich: Alaba 1′, Muller 63′

Match stats:

Teams: Bayern Munich – Juventus
Possession: 54% – 46%
Goal Attempts 21-7
Shots on target:10-3

Players in today’s match:

Bayern Munich: Manuel Neuer, Philipp Lahm, David Alaba, Daniel van Buyten, Dante, Toni Kroos-substituted for Arjen Robben, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Müller, Franck Ribéry-substituted for Xherdan Shaqiri, Luiz Gustavo, Mario Mandzukic-substituted for Mario Gomez

Juventus: Gianluigi Buffon, Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Arturo Vidal, Andrea Pirlo, Federico Peluso substituted for Paul Pogba, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Claudio Marchisio, Fabio Quagliarella-substituted for Sebastian Giovinco, Alessandro Matri-substituted for Mirko Vucinic.