Yesterday brought the conclusion of the UEFA Champions League quarter-final first legs. uefa.com rounds up the reaction from the European media.
AC Milan 4-1 RC Deportivo La Coruña
The Rossoneri grew in stature as every minute passed and flattened their opponents with a wonderful performance. Kaká's equaliser was a masterpiece of Samba rhythm, and Deportivo will never forget the opening eight minutes of the second half: Shevchenko, Kaká again and Pirlo, all works of art. Milan were fantastic, unstoppable, insatiable; their mission to reach the semi-finals is almost complete. (Gazzetta dello Sport)
Like a quick-striking, armour-plated infantry, Milan destroyed Deportivo in just eight minutes. Depor enjoyed a magnificent first half, taking the lead and stamping their mark on the pattern of the game. However, a gale-force tempest from the hosts proved unstoppable and, in an instant, the red-and-black machine bulldozed everything in its path and almost definitively scythed all of Depor's dreams. (El País)
FC Porto 2-0 Olympique Lyonnais
Nothing is decided yet but at least it is promised. After solid FC Porto and Milan victories against Lyon and La Coruña, a magical semi-final featuring the two teams who contested the UEFA Super Cup back in August is now in prospect. Patience and efficiency opened Porto's door to the semi-finals. (A Bola)
Faced with a Porto side who have no apparent weakness and whose attacking talent was far more potent than their own, Lyon ended up losing a game that at times they appeared to be controlling. It would be harsh to suggest on the back on this worrying result that Lyon do not have the quality to play in the Champions League quarter-finals. Lyon's evening was full of defensive errors and poor tactical choices and they have a lot to improve on in the next two weeks if they want to progress. (L'Equipe)
Chelsea FC 1-1 Arsenal FC
Chelsea played well last night, better than many had predicted from them, but that may feel a mixed blessing when they stir this morning. Even with home advantage and a one-goal lead, they could not hold on for a first victory against Arsenal in 17 matches over six years. The psychological baggage will be that bit heavier when they cross London on April 6 for the second leg of this quarter-final. (The Times)
Perhaps it is an indication of the stature Arsène Wenger's team now enjoy that there could be a notion that they had been checked when, in truth, they had extracted another highly satisfactory result. Worried hectoring left the manager hoarse but the period of great danger for Arsenal was confined to a fairly brief passage at the start of the second half when Gudjohnsen might not have been the sole scorer. (The Guardian)
Real Madrid CF 4-2 AS Monaco FC
Madrid came away smiling after a night when, at times, their performance bordered on the absurd. Without soul and with the most predictable football in the world, the Merengues were left at the mercy of Monaco. The French started in orderly fashion and stifled the Bernabéu through Giuly's pace. Queiroz's response came from the raging Figo, Zidane and above all, Ronaldo – the fat bloke whose punches always land right on the jaw. (El Mundo)
Monaco cannot have too many complaints given the impressive array of opportunities fashioned by their rivals. They must win the return 2-0 or 3-1 but the present weakness of the Madrid defence affords some hope to a team who must rediscover their attacking fluency of the first half of the season. A greater concern is whether they themselves can avoid conceding against such a strong attack. (L'Equipe)
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