Two sides well used to success at the highest European level put their UEFA Champions League ambitions on the line tonight against two clubs bidding for their first continental triumphs as the quarter-finals begin.
Holders and six-times winners AC Milan face RC Deportivo La Coruña having finally found their goalscoring form in the competition on Matchday 7 with a comprehensive 4-1 second-leg win against AC Sparta Praha. That was part of an eight-game unbeaten run that has taken them ten points clear of Juventus FC at the top of Serie A.
Deportivo themselves are no strangers to this level of European competition. They have already dispatched Juventus with 1-0 victories in both legs, and reached the quarter-finals in 2000/01 and 2001/02. They lost to English opponents on those occasions, but are unbeaten in two Champions League visits to Milan, winning last season's visit 2-1. However, at that point Milan - who tonight are missing Alessandro Nesta - had already enjoyed a 4-0 win in Spain, helped by a Filippo Inzaghi hat-trick.
Porto welcome Lyon
Meanwhile in Portugal, UEFA Cup holders FC Porto hope to become the first team since Liverpool FC in the mid-1970s to follow that triumph by claiming the European Champion Clubs' Cup in the next season. Olympique Lyonnais are the visitors to a Porto team still unbeaten in their defence of the Portuguese SuperLiga, and surely high on confidence after overcoming Manchester United FC in the last round.
Back on top
Lyon, though, are on a high themselves after a 1-0 win against FC Nantes Atlantique took them to the top of Ligue 1 for the first time this season. The French champions welcomed back goalkeeper Grégory Coupet from injury for that match and will hope to do better than the last time these sides met, in the 1964/65 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, when Porto won both legs.
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