Milan derby soiled, Chelsea advance

Associated Press

London, April 13:

Italian police braced for crowd trouble all week, but they weren’t expecting it to erupt in Milan. On Tuesday night, AC Milan was leading crosstown rival Inter Milan 1-0 and 3-0 on aggregate in another quarter-final when the match was stopped because Milan goalkeeper Dida was injured by a flare thrown from the crowd.

The six-time European champions were awarded a 1-0 win, but UEFA’s disciplinary committee could make the final 3-0 after an investigation. In other match, Chelsea lost to Bayern Munich 3-2 but advanced with a 6-5 aggregate win.

The scene at San Siro stadium followed one of the worst violence-marred weekends in Italian league play this season, when scores of fans were arrested due to confrontations with police and racial slogans.

Inter fans started the trouble after a 71st-minute goal by Esteban Cambiasso was ruled out for a foul. Dida was hit on the left shoulder in the 73rd and was treated at midfield. Both teams were escorted off the field about 10 minutes later. After 10 more minutes passed, German referee Markus Merk tried to restart play, but more flares were thrown onto the field and UEFA officials quickly abandoned the match in the 75th, sending Milan to the last four and

in search of its seventh European Cup title.

Dida, who played superbly before he was struck by the flare, was replaced by Christian Abbiati for the brief restart.

Andriy Shevchenko gave Milan the lead in the 30th minute, blasting in a shot from the edge of the area for his fifth goal in this season’s Champions League.

In Munich, Frank Lampard scored the first goal in the 30th minute, his third against Bayern in the two-leg series. Claudio Pizarro levelled in the 65th, but Didier Drogba reclaimed the lead for Chelsea with a header in the 80th. Paolo Guerreo then scored in the 90th, and Mehmet Scholl added the winner in injury time.

Chelsea deny reports

LONDON: Chelsea has denied that it plans to sign Rio Ferdinand after the Manchester United defender was seen with Blues chief executive Peter Kenyon in a London restaurant at the weekend.

“This was a meeting purely by chance in a public place,” said Chelsea in a statement on Wednesday. “Both the player and Manchester United are fully aware of the circumstances of the meeting and Chelsea’s position on it. Any suggestion that there is an explanation other than a chance meeting will be met with the strongest legal action.” — AP