With the first legs played in all four Champions League quarter final ties, three teams have all but done enough to earn their places in the last four of Europe’s elite competition. Here’s what we’ve learned from the games played on Tuesday and Wednesday…
Real Madrid 4-0 Spurs
It’s certainly been an adventure for Tottenham in this season’s Champions League, with memorable victories against Inter and Milan, but they were ultimately out of their depth against the quality of Real Madrid. Obviously Crouchy’s early sending off was the last thing they needed after Emmanuel Adebayor’s early goal, but Spurs never gave the impression that they would attack Real Madrid. Even with 11 vs 11 it would probably only have been a matter of time before the Spanish giants broke Tottenham down to extend their lead and at 4-0 you’d have to say that, barring a miracle, the tie is over.
Inter 2-5 Shalke
We knew that Inter’s defence has been shaky but this display was woefully inept. It’s a shame for the forward players who are doing their jobs but being let down by Sunday league standard defending and you have to feel sorry for Dejan Stankovic – with his team losing 2-5, his spectacular goal will not get the coverage it deserves. This Inter side is pretty much the same side that won the treble under Jose Mourinho and they would not be shipping the kind goals they have been if the Special One was still in charge. Shalke have to be applauded for scoring 5 away goals and Chelsea or Manchester United will do well not to underestimate the Bundesliga side, should they meet in the semi final.
Chelsea 0-1 Manchester United
The only one of the four quarter final ties which remains nicely poised, with Manchester United just edging Chelsea in a well balanced contest. United will be glad to have Rio Ferdinand back alongside Nemanja Vidic and the Red Devils looked assured at the back. Frank Lampard had an effort cleared off the line by Patrice Evra and Fernando Torres forced a fine save from Edwin Van der Sar in the second half, but otherwise Chelsea were limited to half chances. However, the Blues can count themselves unlucky not to have won a penalty late on when Evra scythed down Ramires. In fact, it should have been shown on Crimewatch – it is staggering that the referees failed to award a pen. But Wayne Rooney’s goal was the difference between the two sides, a well taken side-foot finish from 12 yards after some fantastic work by the Welsh Wizard on the left.
Barcelona 5-1 Shakhtar Donetsk
What can you say? Another clinical display from the three-time European champions and they just proved too strong for Shakhtar. Their passing game will leave the opposition chasing shadows and they showed everyone in the side has goals in them, with five different scorers last night. Despite a comfortable scoreline, Shakhtar had chance after chance and should have scored more than one goal. Pep Guardiola knew not to underestimate the Ukranian side and the number of chances they created will give hope to any potential opponents of Barcelona that they can be broken down – defending against them remains the most fearsome task. Barca remain the clear favourites for the competition and things are set up for a semi final showdown against fierce rivals Real Madrid. Mourinho’s men will be keen to settle a score after being embarrassed by a Barca masterclass in December, going down 5-0 at Camp Nou. The Catalan giants will also be all too aware that it was none other than Jose who masterminded Inter’s 3-2 victory over them in last season’s semi final.