Last night, the two quarterfinals of this year's Champions League took place. Tuesday, Real Madrid almost secured their place in the next round with their 3-0 victory away in Cyprus against APOEL, while Chelsea also chalked up a 1-0 away win over Benfica.
Wednesday's action saw Marseille pitted against Bayern Munich and AC Milan entertained Barcelona in their respective first leg ties. In case you missed the matches, here's a quick overview, as well as some predictions about who you can expect to advance based on their performances.
AC Milan vs Barcelona 0-0
The Italians held Barcelona to a goal-less draw at the San Siro in what was a very entertaining match. Both teams had a couple chances, with Barcelona crying foul at an ignored penalty shout after Sanchez was brought down in the box by the Milan keeper. Lionel Messi found the back of the net once, but his shot was rightfully called offsides. The play was loose as each team struggled for possession, but Barca got the bigger half (no surprise there). Eventually, thanks to some solid defending (and some luck), a sturdy AC Milan side held out. Now, Barcelona enthusiasts and the team are complaining about AC Milan's defensive perspective as well as the quality of the pitch (which the Catalan club found low enough to inform Uefa). However, no amount of incessant whining can change the result of the draw.
The next time the two teams will meet is at the Camp Nou. Although AC Milan put on an impressive defensive display, I don't think it is enough to see them advance (cries miserably). Thy had some good tactics and held Barca to a draw, which isn't easy. Good for them. But next time, they'll go to Barcelona's turf. You know how hard it is to concentrate with one Barca fan talking to you (since all you end up hearing is "Blah blah we're amazing blah blah"); now imagine thousands screaming at you. And Barcelona will have more confidence with the backing of their home crowd--Catalans haven't lost in the Camp Nou for quite a while. Hopefully, AC Milan can pull off a surprising victory, but I can't see it happening. Expect Barcelona to advance to the semis unless Milan can pass off a miracle. Forza Milan!
Marseille vs Bayern Munich 2-0
Bayern Munich took a huge step towards a probable semi-final encounter with Real Madrid by beating French club Marseille away, courtesy of a controversial first half strike from Mario Gomez, and a second half shot from Netherlands international Arjen Robben. I didn't watch the match, but I heard Marseille put up a good fight and Bayern's victory was by no means a comfortable one. Still, two away goals leaves the German giants in a good position to secure their place in the semi finals.
Marseille fly to Germany for the second-leg tie, and it is expected that Bayern will win. But who knows--anything can happen in football.