Champions League reaction

UEFA.com has the reaction from Wednesday's quarter-final first legs, with Seydou Keita dedicating his goal to Éric Abidal and FC Shakhtar Donetsk's players ruing missed chances.
Published: Wednesday 6 April 2011, 23.24CET

Champions League reaction

UEFA.com has the reaction from Wednesday's quarter-final first legs, with Seydou Keita dedicating his goal to Éric Abidal and FC Shakhtar Donetsk's players ruing missed chances.

In Wednesday's UEFA Champions League quarter-finals, Manchester United FC beat Chelsea FC 1-0 in London, while FC Barcelona were 5-1 victors against FC Shakhtar Donetsk at Camp Nou.

UEFA.com brings you the reaction from Barcelona and London (all times CET).

Wednesday 23.59, London
Video highlights of tonight's games are available here. The blog will return on Monday at 12.00CET as we look forward to second-leg ties in Donetsk, Manchester, Gelsenkirchen and London.

Wednesday 23.57, Cyberspace
Shakira endured the indignity of having her song Loca drowned out by a chorus of boos at the Santiago Bernabéu on Tuesday. It may have been a musical protest, but judging by a few accompanying chants the main source of the Real Madrid CF fans' ire seemed to be her relationship with Barcelona's Gerard Piqué. She was back on song tonight as her beau scored in a comprehensive win, tweeting: "Long live Barcelona and their superb number three".

Wednesday 23.28, Barcelona
Seydou Keita dedicated his goal, 60 seconds after Shakhtar had reduced arrears to 3-1, to Éric Abidal, Barcelona's French international defender who is recovering from surgery to remove a tumour from his liver. "He's a great friend and almost like a brother, and we hope he will be back in action very soon," said Keita. "My goal came at an important time in the match but the key will be when we see the final result we've achieved at the end of this eliminator. There are still 90 minutes to play against Shakhtar and we will show them the utmost of respect in the return as they are a very, very dangerous team."

Barcelona's Player Rater winner Andrés Iniesta was thrilled to cap "a really beautiful week" in which the birth of his daughter Valeria was followed by an early opening goal tonight. "I'm happy that I could chip in to the overall effort with my goal which I dedicate to my daughter who was born a few days ago," said the Spain midfielder.

Wednesday 23.24, Barcelona
Shakhtar Donetsk may have conceded five goals away to Barcelona, but midfield player Tomáš Hübschman believes the Ukrainian champions should have had more than one of their own to show for their night's work. "It's difficult to explain why the game ended like this," said the Czech international. "We went out with the attitude that we'd do everything to take a decent result home. With this result you have to say that we've achieved nothing, but I want to remind people again that we failed to take some excellent scoring opportunities."

Shakhtar defender Yaroslav Rakitskiy added: "Their early goal knocked us back a little bit. We had enough chances in the first half to even go in in front. Fortune favoured Barcelona today, but the final score is our fault and it's down to a lack of attention – we helped them to score four goals. We shall analyse our mistakes and surely we'll show what we're about in Donetsk. We hope to win at home."

Wednesday 23.18, London
A win at Old Trafford last April proved the defining moment in Chelsea's season as they went on to complete an English double in 2009/10, and Carlo Ancelotti will look for a repeat when the Blues head north next Tuesday needing victory there again to stay in the UEFA Champions League. "We have to believe," said the Italian. "We needed to win there at the same moment last season and we did."

Looking back on tonight's display, he added: "The performance wasn't bad. There were times when we had control of the game in terms of possession, and we had chances at 1-0 down to come back. We hit the post and could have had a penalty but they played very well on the counter."

Wednesday, 22.57, London
Petr Čech believes Chelsea have left themselves with "a mountain to climb in Manchester" after failing to capitalise on their openings at Stamford Bridge. "We created chances, and they scored from their first one," he said. "We had a lot of shots but we didn't score and that makes a difference. They played a clever game, waited on the counter and got their goal which changed the game."

Wednesday, 22.53, London
"I thought our players were great," said Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is his post-match TV interview. "Keeping a clean sheet was important but counterattacking was also part of our game plan. It's halfway, we've got an advantage, but the biggest advantage is Old Trafford; the support there is absolutely fantastic.

Wednesday, 22.50, Barcelona
Gerard Piqué said "5-1 is a great score to go Ukraine with" after the defender helped Barça past Shakhtar, chipping in with the third goal. "We did a great job but need to keep focused," he said. "If we get to the semi-final against Madrid it will be a great game – everybody wants this as they are really good teams and it will be a really great game."

Wednesday 22.52, London
The returning Rio Ferdinand was particularly impressed by the performace of Wayne Rooney, who scored the only goal against Chelsea. "He's a top quality player, he showed great touches and was buzzing all over the pitch. You know he's got the ability to do wonderful stuff. He's some player to play against.

"In the first half we retained the ball well and defended well. If you come to places like Stamford Bridge you know you have to defend well. The tie's still in the balance – it's nowhere near over – but if we don't concede at home then we're through."

Wednesday 22.35, London: Tonight's final scores
Chelsea FC 0-1 Manchester United FC
FC Barcelona 5-1 FC Shakhtar Donetsk

Tuesday's first legs produced dramatic results, with Real Madrid CF defeating ten-man Tottenham Hotspur FC 4-0 and holders FC Internazionale Milano losing 5-2 at home to FC Schalke 04.

The pairings for the semi-finals and final have already been decided. Have your say on who you think will go through in our preview blog.

Wednesday 19.46, London
The teams have been announced – view them in the MatchCentre where you can also follow both games. The blog will not be updated until the final whistle, but be sure to return at full time for immediate post-match reaction.

Wednesday 18.28, Trevor Huggins at Stamford Bridge
It's balmy, summer-like weather in west London. There were plenty of United supporters in evidence on Fulham Broadway near the stadium, with the merchandising stalls ready for business by mid-afternoon. Every chance of a winner, but can we expect the kind of goal feasts witnessed in Tuesday night's matches in Madrid and Milan?

Wednesday 17.41, London
Chelsea and United have played on seven occasions since their 2008 UEFA Champions League final meeting in Moscow, with the Blues winning three of those games and United two.

Wednesday 17.16, Jamie Reid at Stamford Bridge
The atmosphere around the ground is starting to build as fans filter into SW6 on what is a beautiful spring day. Programme vendors have already set up, and the burger vans are cooking. I've just run into the editor of ManUtd.com, Nick Coppack, who was in confident mode. "I think 1-1 would be a good shout," he said when pressed for a prediction, "but I also have a feeling Torres will score against us tonight."

Wednesday 15.04, Graham Hunter in Barcelona
En route to winning the fabled treble in 2009, Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola rested eight regulars when Shakhtar came to the Camp Nou for what became Mirceu Lucescu's first competitive win on Spanish soil in 35 years of trying. Coincidentally, Sergio Busquets made his positional debut as a sweeper for the first team in that group game, having previously only played in midfield, and despite marking the occasion with a goal he could not prevent the Ukrainian side scoring three of their own. Busquets is likely to repeat his centre-back role tonight. For that shock defeat, as this time, a referee from the UK was in charge, Mike Riley being followed tonight by Craig Thomson.

Wednesday 15.00, Graham Hunter in Barcelona
However gloomy Pep Guardiola's vision that "I see us more out of this tie than in it" may have sounded, the day has dawned stunningly here in Barcelona, sun splitting blue skies. Last night at the Santiago Bernabéu, the Tottenham and Madrid players were gasping for water half way through the second half, so it's probably just as well that the Shakhtar squad have been in Spain for a handful of days to acclimatise. It's going to be hot, sticky, thirsty work tonight containing the Spanish champions.

Wednesday 14.10, London
Remember you can keep up to date with all the latest news and exclusive interviews through our official Facebook pages for the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and UEFA.com.

Wednesday 12,23, Jamie Reid at Stamford Bridge
There will be 70 TV and radio commentators, a full press box of 255 journalists, and 90 photographers around the ground tonight. Unsurprisingly, a full house of fans is also expected, with 38,000 due at Stamford Bridge.

Wednesday 12.20, London
UEFA.com has the views of Michael Carrick and Frank Lampard on the Chelsea-United encounter, while an extensive preview of the match can be found here. The teams last met on 1 March, when Chelsea recovered from Wayne Rooney's opener to win 2-1 thanks to a penalty from Lampard and David Luiz's first goal in English football.

Barcelona's Lionel Messi was in relaxed mood at yesterday's press conference, while Shakhtar striker Luiz Adriano demanded focus from his team in a bid to nullifying the attacking threat of the Azulgrana. The match preview is available here.

Wednesday 11.56, London
Jefferson Farfán lauded the contribution team-mate Raúl González made to Schalke's astonishing triumph in Milan last night, telling UEFA.com: "Well everybody knows Raúl; he is a fantastic player. He helps us a lot, especially the young players who are just coming into the team. I'm very happy for him and he really deserves it, especially in the Champions League."

Wednesday 11.30, London
Ahead of United's all-English encounter with Chelsea, Sir Alex Ferguson has firmly quashed any suggestions that he might retire if he steers the Red Devils to a second treble of his long tenure. "My father retired on his 65th birthday and, one year later, he was dead," he said. "The worst thing you can do is put your slippers on. People say things like, 'I've worked for 45 years; I have the right to rest.' Not at all."

Wednesday 11.26, Jamie Reid at Stamford Bridge
It's a glorious day in south-west London; in stark contrast to yesterday's weather, there is beaming sunshine and temperatures are expected to exceed 20C this afternoon. I've just arrived at UEFA's matchday meeting underneath the giant East Stand and had a quick word with Michael Emanelo, the Chelsea assistant coach, to check all eligible players are on our list. After studying it carefully, he responded: "I'm just making sure Drogba and Torres are here." A hint at tonight's starting lineup perhaps?

Wednesday 11.24, Madrid
Madrid have "a licence to dream" after their 4-0 win against Tottenham, according to popular daily paper AS, which noted: "The only thing that is certain is that Madrid will be in the semi-finals. The fact that they deserved it is clear. Madrid's superiority was absolute, despite playing badly in the first half and well in the second. They had the desire and intensity, the self-confidence, the effort and, of course, the field."

El País agreed wholeheartedly. "Defeat against Sporting de Gijón at the weekend spurred the Merengues on to the sorts of feats they achieved years ago in the European Cup, when demolishing rivals in this stadium. After a seven-year lull, Madrid became the side which used to terrify their opponents. They gave Tottenham no way back, handing them a devastating shock. The Spanish side are once more enjoying the tournament upon which they built their reputation. They overran opponents who first self-destructed and then melted."

Wednesday 11.11, Nyon
The club and country rankings for UEFA competitions are now available on UEFA.com. These coefficients are updated after every matchday, and last night's 5-2 success at Inter has seen Schalke storm up the 2010/11 rankings; they are now the second most successful side of the season, with their 24.000 points from nine games putting them just two points adrift of leaders Madrid.

Wednesday 11.05, Lucy Turner at Camp Nou
The morning papers in Spain seem convinced that former Barcelona centre-back Dmytro Chygrynskiy is set to start for Shakhtar against his old club tonight despite missing recent games with an ankle injury. It is worth noting that he did not train at all yesterday afternoon; indeed, for most of the Shakhtar session he sat chatting to his physio without even kicking a ball.

Wednesday 10.59, Roberta Radaelli in Milan
In Italy, Corriere della Sera ingeniously contrasted the fortunes of Inter with those of their former coach, now in charge at Madrid, with the words: "Inter disaster against Schalke: Leonardo KO, Mourinho OK." It added with vehemence of Tuesday's game: "Inter's back four are awful and [Cristian] Chivu gets sent off again."

Gazzetta dello Sport noted that Leonardo's side had "gone into shock" after twice taking the lead at San Siro, and looked back longingly at last season's triumphant campaign, saying: "Once upon a time, Mourinho's Inter beat Chelsea and Barcelona at home before winning the Champions League. That was less than a year ago, but it feels like forever."

Wednesday 10.55, London
Tottenham have kept the British press enthralled with their swashbuckling displays in Europe this season, but not even their most enthusiastic media backers expect Harry Redknapp's men to recover from their 4-0 first-leg defeat at Madrid. "José Mourinho does not produce teams that let in four goals, even if Tottenham strap an outboard motor to Gareth Bale," notes the Daily Mail. "It is barely conceivable that Tottenham progress now, for all their previous heroics. Some mountains are too hard to scale."

According to the Guardian, Spurs "froze in the early stages and although they managed to stem the tide towards half-time, digging out a foothold of sorts, the second half came to resemble a siege. Redknapp's big night, and that of his players, fell flat." Typically succinct, meanwhile, the Sun adds: "Oh well. It was fun while it lasted."

Wednesday 10.48, Frankfurt
Germany's newspapers are in raptures following Schalke's success at Inter, with Bild screaming: "Schalke: you have made footballing history." The popular tabloid adds: "What a grand, ingenious, gigantic football night this was!"

Cologne-based Express harks back to the 1997 UEFA Cup final, where Schalke beat Inter on penalties after a 1-0 defeat at San Siro, and wrote: "Schalke love playing at San Siro best!" It added: "With this coup, Schalke are as good as through to the semis. If Schalke continue where they left off at their own stadium, nothing can go wrong."

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung contrasts the Royal Blues' mighty display with the miserable league form which saw Ralf Rangnick replace Felix Magath as coach recently. "In the second game under new coach Ralf Rangnick, it wasn't just the Schalke fans who had trouble recognising their side. Inter also couldn't believe what was happening." The paper adds: "Schalke, who seem to have undergone a crash course in passing football under Rangnick, played like a changed side. And even the biggest fans of old coach Felix Magath will now probably convert to Rangnick supporters."

Munich-based Süddeutsche Zeitung notes that "it was not just any old side that was humiliated by Schalke," adding with galactic grandeur: "Unless they enjoy this strange game called football in galaxies far, far away, Inter are currently the most successful club in the cosmos, and would probably at least grind out a draw against a selection of angels. But against Schalke? No chance."

Wednesday 10.00, London
Video highlights of Tuesday's games are available here. Emmanuel Adebayor is thrilled with Madrid's first-leg success, but Tottenham's Michael Dawson and Sandro are not throwing in the towel just yet.

Over in Italy, Raúl González shared his thoughts after Schalke's shocking victory against the reigning champions at San Siro, but Esteban Cambiasso feels there could yet be hope for Inter.

Wednesday 09.30, London
Our Predictor competition gives you the chance to forecast this week's scores – and win semi-final tickets. Tickets are on offer in our Player Rater feature while there are also prizes to be won in Play of the Day, which reviews the top action from the last round of 16 games. Visit the Ford Classics page and enter the Champions Quiz for the chance to win a ticket for this season's final.

Keep up to date with all the latest news and exclusive interviews through our official Facebook pages for the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and UEFA.com.

All times CET.


Last updated: 15/02/12 22.44CET