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Sunday, Dec 28th

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Bayern Munich draw Juventus in Champions League Quarter-finals; El Clasico avoided

Is there such a things as too many El Clasicos? Well, the two giants of Spanish football Barcelona and Real Madrid were kept away from each other in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League in a nerve-wracking 6 minute draw ceremony held in Nyon today.

The blockbuster tie of the quarter-finals will see Arsenal conquerors and runaway Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich play host to the reigning Italian champions Juventus, who crushed Celtic in the round of 16. Bayern, squeezed past Arsenal on away goals on Wednesday night, and will host Juventus in the first leg of the quarter-finals in the first week of April.

Spanish champions Real Madrid will also get the opportunity to play hosts in the first leg, as Jose Mourinho's team welcomes two of his former players in Wesley Sneijder and Didier Drogba, formerly of Internazionale and Chelsea respectively. The tie will also see a straight shootout between two of the favourites for the golden boot as Burak Yilmaz takes on the considerably more high profile Cristiano Ronaldo.

Barcelona will be on their way to Paris for the first leg of their tie as they will face off against their former striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and perhaps the considerably less threatening Maxwell in the quarter-finals. PSG will have their work cut out for them, and England's lone survivor in the competition David Beckham will hope to keep the nation's flag flying as he attempts a dream return to Wembley for the 2013 Champions League final.

The last of the four quarter-finals sees Spanish upstarts Malaga host German champions Borussia Dortmund in what is no doubt the lowest profile tie of the round.

Quarter-final Draw

Malaga vs Borussia Dortmund

Real Madrid vs Galatasaray

Paris St. Germain vs Barcelona

Bayern Munich vs Juventus

Matches take place on 2/3 April and 9/10 April.

UEFA Europa League wrap: Tottenham progress on away goals, Chelsea & Newcastle also reach last-eight

The Champions League might be free of English challengers but the Europa League still has three contenders from the Isles in the quarter-final pot after Chelsea, Tottenham and Newcastle all came through their last-16 ties last night. Tottenham, carrying a 3-0 1st leg lead, provided the most dramatic scenes on the night as they lost 4-1 to Inter Milan at the San Siro but sneaked through on away goals. Chelsea overturned their 1st leg defeat to Steaua Bucharest by beating the Romanians 3-1 on the night and 3-1 on aggregate. Meanwhile, Newcastle sneaked past Anzhi 1-0 thanks to a dramatic late goal from Papiss Cisse. The other giants to make it through to the last-eight were Benfica, Fenerbahce, Lazio, Basel and Rubin Kazan.

Inter Milan 4-1 Tottenham (4-4 Agg, Spurs through on away goals)

Andre Villas-Boas promised that Spurs wouldn’t be complacent against Inter despite their sizeable 1st leg lead but the visitors found themselves on the receiving end of a rampant Inter, who deservedly took the lead through Antonio Cassano’s close range header on 26 minutes. A multitude of chances later, Inter were 2-0 ahead seven minutes into the 2nd half as Cassano setup Rodrigo Palacio for a fine curler past Bran Friedel. William Gallas was having an awful night in defence and he capped off a poor performance by netting an own goal from Cassano’s free-kick on 75 minutes, which took the game into extra-time.

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Bayern Munich 0-2 Arsenal: Player Ratings

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Arsenal nearly pulled off the unthinkable against the mighty German giants Bayern Munich on Wednesday night in their Round of 16 Champions League clash as they put on a spirited display to beat the hosts at the Allianz arena 2-0 away from home. It wasn’t to be for the Gunners though as they were beaten on the away goals rule after the two sides finished level (3-3) on aggregate after both legs. This means that Bayern now progress to the quarterfinals of the competition with a slender win while Arsenal bow out with pride from it for the second consecutive year.

The game was very similar to Arsenal’s round of 16 clash against AC Milan last year where the Gunners turned up after being completely written off before the tie. Arsenal opened the scoring and with it a glimmer of hope as Oliver Giroud tapped in a good ball from Theo Walcott across the area to put Arsenal ahead in just the 3rd minute of the game. Bayern looked nervous for a while after that shock goal but found their passing and composure to keep the ball well as the game went on. Arsenal were a completely different defensive outfit to the one that conceded many sloppy goals this season as the new centre half pairing of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny worked wonders for the team. Arsenal repelled many a Bayern attack in the second half with some determined defending and some assured goalkeeping by the surprise inclusion Lukasz Fabianski.

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Arsenal salvage pride by beating Bayern, still crash out on Away Goals

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Arsenal showed that they are not yet the spent force in European football that all the naysayers would have one believe as they produced a terrific performance with their backs to the wall, and beat mighty Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena 2-0 courtesy goals from Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny. Sadly for the Gunners the result was not enough to overturn their 3-1 home loss to the soon to be German Champions, and Arsenal went out of the Champions League on away goals.

Arsenal had their work cut out for them as they made the trip over to Germany to take on the runaway Bundesliga leaders, who had humbled the North Londoners on their own patch. Bayern came into this match on an 11-game winning streak, and no one gave Arsenal a chance after they lost dynamic midfielder Jack Wilshere to injury in the run up to the game.

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UCL Round of 16 wrap: Messi inspires Barca comeback against Milan, Galatasaray beat Schalke

The Champions League came roaring back into action last night as two more places in the quarter-final draw were decided following a Matchday of incredible entertainment. Barcelona have made a habit of writing their names into the history books and the latest entry for Catalans comes after their rousing coming back from a 2-0 1st leg defeat to AC Milan as they thrashed the Italians 4-0 at the Nou Camp, thus becoming the 1st team to overturn a 2-0 1st leg defeat in the competition. Galatasaray joined the Spaniards in the last-eight after beating Schalke 3-2 on the night and 4-3 on aggregate.

Barcelona 4-0 AC Milan (4-2 Agg)

Barcelona’s world seemed to be crumbling ever so gradually over the past two weeks, ever since their 2-0 1st leg defeat to AC Milan. But the Catalan giants showed their true colour in the cauldron of the Nou Camp last night as they brushed aside Milan with a sumptuous performance. The star of the show was unsurprisingly Lionel Messi, who took his season’s tally to a ridiculous 53 goals with a first-half brace. The early goal that Barca craved was provided by the Argentine as he collected Xavi’s pass on the edge of the box five minutes in, took a touch and blasted an unstoppable shot into the top-corner.

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Europa League Wrap: Spurs trounce Inter, Chelsea falter at Steaua

 

Tottenham Hotspur and Lazio were the two big winners in the Europa League Round of 16 first leg ties that kicked off across the continent on Thursday night. The Europa League may not have the glitz and glamour of the Champions League, but there was no lack of pride on display as Europe's next best teams slugged it out for a place in the quarter-finals.

Tottenham, fast emerging as the team to watch in England courtesy one Welsh wizard in young Gareth Bale, trounced a poor Inter Milan side 3-0 at White Hart Lane to all but guarantee their spot in the quarter-finals. Goals from Bale, Icelandic midfielder Glyfi Sigurdsson and Belgian defender Jan Vertonghen helped Spurs keep their incredible recent run under Andre Villas-Boas intact, and barring a major meltdown should ease into the quarter-finals in a week's time at the San Siro.

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UCL Wrap: Juventus, PSG advance to the Quarter-finals

After a controversial night in Manchester the eyes of the footballing world moved to Turin and Paris where the second leg of two more UEFA Champions League Round of 16 matches were being hosted. Turin was its usual noisy self as a far superior Juventus team cruised into the quarter-finals of Europe's elite competition with a 5-0 aggregate win over Scottish Champions Celtic. Paris provided a lot more excitement where the latest wannabes of European football, Paris St. Germain battled to a 3-2 aggregate win against Valencia.

Having lost the home leg of their tie against Juventus 3-0, there was little hope for Celtic as they made the journey to Turin to take on the reigning Italian champions. While the tie already seemed over before the match even kicked off, a 24th minute goal from Allesandro Matri but the Old Lady ahead on the night.

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