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Monday, Aug 29th

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quarter final

After Tuesday night’s exhilarating quarter-final 2nd leg ties, the encounters on Wednesday always had a hard act to follow. Bayern Munich relentlessly marched into the semi-finals with a consummate 2-0 victory over Juventus. Over in Catalunya, Barcelona survived a huge scare from PSG to draw 1-1 and progress on away goals after the tie finished 3-3 on aggregate. The semi-final line-up is all set now and it is a case of Germany vs Spain. Bayern and Dortmund have been dominant through out the tournament while Barcelona and Real Madrid have had plenty of scares en route, but the pedigree of the La Liga giants makes them favourites at the moment.

Barcelona 1-1 PSG (Agg 3-3, Barca win on away goals)

The tie against Barca was said to be the coming of age of Carlo Ancelotti’s expensively assembled side and they acquitted themselves commendably over the two legs, but ultimately couldn’t get past the pass maters. PSG had two Barca away goals to scale after the 1st leg finished 2-2 and Javier Pastore put them in a strong position five minutes into the 2nd half when he collected Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s pass, beat the shaky Barca defence and ultimately fired past Victor Valdes.

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A truly memorable night of Champions League action aroused the senses of football addicts all over the world last night as the 2nd legs of the quarter-finals were filled with drama. We first head to Dortmund, where Borussia knocked out Malaga to book a place in the semi-finals with an improbable 3-2 victory. Malaga were 2-1 ahead with eight minutes to go but the German side scored two injury-time goals to break the hearts of Malaga, in controversial circumstances it must said as Felipe Santana’s winner should have been ruled out for offside. Over in Turkey, Galatasaray defeated Real Madrid 3-2 on the night but the two away goals from Cristiano Ronaldo’s boot were enough to help Madrid over the line with a 5-3 aggregate victory.

Borussia Dortmund 3-2 Malaga (Agg 3-2)

The match-up of the dark horses in the tournament didn’t disappoint as the 2nd leg between Dortmund and Malaga oozed of drama. A 0-0 1st leg result meant that Malaga had the upper hand and they further strengthened their grip on the tie when they scored 1st through Joaquin in the 25th minute, the winger cutting in from the right to hit the sweet spot with his left-foot. The Dortmund equalizer just before half-time was pure class as the front three of Mario Gotze, Marco Reus and Robert Lewandowski combined for a silky goal, finished off by the Polish striker from close range after he evaded keeper Willy Caballero with a cheeky dink.

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Chelsea have booked themselves a FA Cup quarter-final date against Manchester United at Old Trafford next week after comfortably easing past Middlesbrough 2-0 in the 5th Round. Boro were handed the advantage of playing at home in the cup-tie but a cold Riverside Stadium couldn’t help the one-time Premier League mainstay prolong their involvement in the FA Cup as Chelsea netted twice in the 2nd half to seal their progress to the lat-eight. Ramires and Victor Moses were the scorers on the night, with the Brazilian’s opener in the 51st minute deflecting off Fernando Torres while Moses then rounded off the scoring with a 2nd in the 73rd minute.

Rafa Benitez put out a much-changed line-up for the cup game as the likes of Paulo Ferreira and Yossi Benayoun were handed rare starts while John Terry was handed a start in a bid to regain his match fitness. Tony Mowbray’s struggling Boro side took their time to get a foothold in the game but when they put together a few passes they managed to create a couple of brilliant chances, with Scott McDonald first heading wide from a good position before Mustapha Carayol caused Petr Cech to spill a strike.

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When Chelsea take on Leeds United in their Capital One Cup clash tomorrow, it'll be more than just a battle between two teams seeking a place in the semi-finals of the competition. The rivalry between the two managers is set to take centre-stage in Wednesday's fixture.

The resentment between the two manager dates back to half-a-decade ago when Rafael Benitez's decision to field a weakened side in the Premier League in the run up to Liverpool's Champions League final led to the relegation of Neil Warnock's Sheffield United. Warnock was very upset with the Spaniard and even went as far as saying he hoped that the Reds wouldn't win another trophy under Benitez.

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