Champions league : Liverpool, Eindhoven advance
London, April 14:
Liverpool set up a first ever all-English Champions League semi-final by holding Juventus to a 0-0 draw, and PSV Eindhoven beat Lyon 4-2 in a penalty shootout and will face six-time winner AC Milan. Liverpool, which won the first leg 2-1 and advanced 2-1 on aggregate, will play Chelsea in the semi-finals. It will mean that Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, who led FC Porto to a Champions League triumph last season, faces Rafa Benitez, who guided Valencia to a UEFA Cup victory and is now with Liverpool. The semi-final series will also guarantee an English team makes the final for the first time since Manchester United won the title in 1999. In Turin, four-time winner Liverpool defended solidly against Fabio Capello’s team without its top player, suspended Steven Gerrard. Milan Baros squandered a great chance to put Liverpool further ahead early in the second half when he shot wide with just goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon to beat after a great through ball by Luis Garcia.
Juventus, which fought throughout for a goal which would have put them into the final four, nearly scored in the 78th minute. Fabio Cannavaro, who scored Juve’s goal at Liverpool, headed against the post from a free kick by Alessandro Del Piero 13 minutes from the end.
Liverpool has lost three times to Chelsea this season, twice in the league and 3-2 after extra time in the League Cup final. Before the kickoff, Juventus and Liverpool fans hurled objects at one another during a pre-game ceremony recalling the Heysel Stadium tragedy. Liverpool visited Juventus for the first time since 39 people were crushed to death in riots blamed largely on Liverpool supporters at the 1985 European Cup final in Brussels, Belgium. After the match, several firecrackers were thrown into the Liverpool section. The English fans were kept in the stadium after the final whistle while the Juventus supporters were cleared out first.
In the other quarter-final, PSV Eindhoven and Lyon drew 1-1 for the second straight time to remain equal on aggregate. DaMarcus Beasley missed from the spot in the shootout, but PSV teammates Mark van Bommel, Andre Ooijer, Wilfred Bouma and Robert hit the target. Juninho and Hatem Ben Arfa scored for Lyon in the shootout. During regulation, Silvain Wiltord gave Lyon a 10th-minute lead, but Brazilian defender Alex levelled for PSV five minutes into the second half.
UEFA confirms AC Milan’s win
PARIS: European football’s governing body UEFA has confirmed AC Milan as winners of their abandoned quarter-final against Inter Milan. Milan’s quarter-final second-leg was abandoned 17 minutes from time with Milan leading 1-0 after Inter fans threw dozens of flares onto the pitch. Inter could be barred from the competition next season. But a five-match ground ban — which could cost the club 12 million euro — looks the likeliest outcome when UEFA’s disciplinary committee meets on Friday. — AFP