Barcelona vs. Chelsea
The revival at Chelsea continues under Roberto Di Matteo as they clinched their spot in the semifinals with a win over Benfica on Wednesday. However, their next test will prove quite a difficult one compared to their quarterfinal match. Playing Barcelona as everyone in the world knows is to say the least near impossible to beat and to make it worse Barcelona is currently in top form. Chelsea cannot possibly outscore the Catalonians so they must repair their leaky defense. John Terry and David Luiz must be in top form for this match and if Branislav Ivanovic can continue his great scoring run from set pieces then the Londoners have a smidgen of a chance. Barcelona had a tougher road to get to this point in playing Bayer Leverkusen and AC Milan; nevertheless, they handled this opposition quite easily. If Messi and Alexis Sanchez keep up their superb form, then they have a great chance of advancing to the final.
Real Madrid vs. Bayern Munich
This is simply the game of the year, no doubt. Two domestic powerhouses meeting up in the semifinals is the dream of every soccer fan. Bayern Munich and Real Madrid are both in great form in the Champions League and have been sweeping aside their opponents. The combined superstar power from both teams will make this matchup excellent. Arjen Robben and Mario Gomez from Bayern Munich have been in hot form with scoring, and Cristiano Ronaldo is doing his norm. All in all, these two powerhouses will produce nothing less than a dogfight for the right to a birth in the final.
Chelsea 1-0 Benfica
As hard as it was to attain a positive result last time out for Chelsea, this away win will do them wonders. In Roberto Di Matteo’s 2nd UEFA Champions League game, Chelsea found it hard to unlock Benfica until surprise starter Salomon Kalou made the difference in the 75th minute with a clinical finish. Di Matteo did exactly what Andre Villas-Boas did in resting six veteran players except his reasoning was tiredness; the Chelsea boss recalled John Obi Mikel, Kalou, and former Benfica defender David Luiz.
Benfica struggled to kick start themselves at home and giving up an away goal makes their semifinal chances even slimmer. Although they had more chances, only eight ended up on target-the most important being Nicolas Gaitán’s cross that was almost diverted into the goal by Ashley Cole’s foot.
Real Madrid 3-0 Apoel Nicosia
Karim Benzema’s brace and Kaka’s goal put a rest to the Cypriot “Cinderella” Apoel. Kaka was introduced in the 63rd minute and immediately made an impact as he set up Benzema’s first and tucked away his own. Jose Mourinho’s substitutions made the difference as all of the goals were scored after the 74th minute with Kaka a vital piece in each goal.
Now on the brink of elimination, Apoel will have to do the impossible (something that they’ve been doing the whole tournament), and that is score four goals without Real scoring two. Apoel never seemed to have a chance in the game with Real dominating them in attempts, 25-0, and possession, 78%-22%.
AC Milan 0-0 FC Barcelona
AC Milan survived a prolonged Barcelona onslaught to hold their visitors goalless, but will leave the San Siro wondering how they blew some guilt-edge chances. A series of Barça attempts came up empty unlike usual, but will look forward to head back to their home hunting ground in Barcelona.
Kevin Prince-Boateng squandered their best chance in the 3rd minute when he took too long to release his shot inside the box and allowed for Gerard Piqué to block his attempt. Next, in the 20th minute, Clarence Seedorf put Zlatan Ibrahimović clean through only for him not to convert from point-blank range. Milan will lament these missed chances for sure as they head to the Camp Nou and should brace for another Barça blitz.
Bayern Munich 2-0 Marseille
Without their usual goalkeeper Steve Mandanda in goal due to suspension, Didier Deschamps preferred 32-year-old Elinton Andrade, their third choice keeper, to number two Gennaro Bracigliano, and his decision backfired in the 44th minute when Andrade’s mistake gifted Mario Gomez his 11th UCL goal of the year.
Munich had the better chances as Marseille’s defense looked shaky without their leader in the back, Suleymane Diawara. However, Marseille had the best chance of the game in the 7th minute when Rod Fanni’s powerful header from a Mathieu Valbuena corner was acrobatically turned away by Manuel Neuer. It was hardly Munich’s best performance, but it was good enough to defeat a Marseille team that is in a terrible run of form domestically.