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From sublime to ridiculous

Published: Thursday 26 February 2004, 19.43CET
uefa.com rounds up the media reaction to the UEFA Champions League knockout round first legs.

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Published: Thursday 26 February 2004, 19.43CET

From sublime to ridiculous

uefa.com rounds up the media reaction to the UEFA Champions League knockout round first legs.
Yesterday brought the conclusion of the first legs of the UEFA Champions League knockout-round ties. uefa.com rounds up the reaction from the European media.

RC Deportivo La Coruña 1-0 Juventus FC
Deportivo have shared out goals among their strikers this season, but in a game like last night's against Juventus, a quick striker who doesn't think twice in the penalty area is needed. That's where Roy Makaay was missed. Because of this, Juventus are still alive in this tie, despite having been on the ropes against a Deportivo side who were tactically magnificent. (La Voz de Galicia)

Deportivo were clearly the better team, although Juve carved out three great chances to score - the only positives from an otherwise disappointing night. When Depor attacked at pace they were virtually unstoppable and Lippi will need his Juve side to play completely differently in Turin in order to qualify. (Gazzetta dello Sport)

FC Porto 2-1 Manchester United FC
Simply remarkable! A sublime performance by the Portuguese champions whose inner belief turned the opposition - labelled the favourites by virtually everyone because of their overwhelming budget and their excellent players - into an ordinary team. (A Bola)

After his recent warnings to United's young stars about the need for self-discipline and total commitment to the cause, Roy Keane last night let his club down when they needed him most. Keane's moment of madness marred Sir Alex Ferguson's 100th Champions League game as United boss and may well end up costing the club their European dream for another season. (The Mirror)

Real Sociedad de Fútbol 0-1 Olympique Lyonnais
Is there anything to make you think that La Real will be in the quarter-finals of the Champions League? In the 91st minute Florent Malouda hit the woodwork with only Sander Westerveld to beat. Why did it not go in? Do you believe in destiny? Are La Real still alive in the competition? (Diario Vasco)

Clearly there is nothing definitive about the result. Clearly Real Sociedad, if they set about their task in a different way, have the talent to triumph 2-1 in a fortnight. Clearly, though, Olympique Lyonnais have paved a way to their dream, a place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League. (L'Equipe)

VfB Stuttgart 0-1 Chelsea
Stuttgart's Champions League adventure is over, as an own goal by the Portuguese defender Meira sealed the defeat. Stuttgart tried everything but Chelsea's astute defending enabled them to destroy Magath's superb record of eleven wins in as many European matches at home. (Bild)

Chelsea put one foot in the European Cup quarter-finals last night but it will be just their luck if they draw Arsenal. Anything, even a trip to Real Madrid or AC Milan, would be preferable to facing their domestic nemesis, assuming they finish off VfB Stuttgart at Stamford Bridge on 9 March. (The Times)

FC Bayern München 1-1 Real Madrid CF
Following recent disappointments in the Bundesliga, a triumph against the favourites Real Madrid was so close. But no less a player than Oliver Kahn denied Bayern München a deserved victory with a costly mistake. The draw means it will be difficult to reach the quarter-finals in the Bernabéu in two weeks' time. (Die Welt)

Football can be cruel and there are times when it doesn't even respect its greatest symbols. Bayern were the better team, without being out of this world, until Kahn's error. (Marca)

RC Celta de Vigo 2-3 Arsenal FC
It was hard to know whether to rejoice or worry for Arsenal at the end of this entertaining match. Although Arsène Wenger's team took a significant step towards the quarter-finals and scored two wonderful goals, the manager will know better than to think all was perfect in Galicia. Their defending in general suggested they will need to tighten up. (The Guardian)

The Galicians simply did not know how to control Henry - a great player impossible to shackle due to his speed and technique. Now Celta are left hoping for a miracle, like in 1998 against Aston Villa. Sadly, those were other times. (Marca)

FC Lokomotiv Moskva 2-1 AS Monaco FC
Lokomotiv dictated the flow of the game and scored two fine goals. If Loskov had been more precise or Obiorah had scored in the dying seconds of the game there would have been no need to play the second leg. (Sport-Express)

Far from the warmth of the Riviera, AS Monaco could not take shelter from the snow falling on the Lokomotiv stadium. But ASM have returned home with just a chill - what could have been a full surrender ahead of the second leg was just a 2-1 defeat. Such a scoreline does not jeopardise their hopes of qualification. (Libération)

AC Sparta Praha 0-0 AC Milan
Is it wise or simply foolish for the Czech champions to dream of eliminating Milan? A goalless draw is a good starting position to reach the quarter-finals, although it will be very difficult to force the European giants to draw again, particularly as Sparta failed to trouble the Milan defence even on home soil. (Sport)

Carlo Ancelotti's side will not regret yesterday's draw if they manage to be more clinical in the return leg. The Czech team will feel the pressure in the San Siro and it is unlikely that Inzaghi and Shevchenko will ever again miss as many chances as they did in Prague. (Corriere dello Sport)

Last updated: 09/04/04 13.41CET

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