Khamis, 11 April 2013

UCL quarter finals wrap up

Borussia Dortmund scored twice in injury-time to complete a remarkable turnaround and reach the semi-finals of the Champions League by beating Malaga 3-2 in Germany.

Malaga appeared to be heading for their maiden Champions League semi-final when Eliseu put them 2-1 in front with eight minutes to go. However, goals from Marco Reus and Felipe Santana in injury-time stunned the Spaniards to complete an unlikely comeback.

Dortmund were wasteful in front of goal in the opening tie, and the Germans suffered a setback when Joaquin fired in an away goal for Malaga. The Spaniard cut inside his marker and drilled a left-footed effort into the net from outside the area.

Dortmund were level five minutes before the break, Robert Lewandowski grabbing the equaliser. The Polish striker - linked with several top European clubs - finished off a fine move involving Mario Gotze and Marco Reus, rounding goalkeeper Willy to bring his side back into the contest.

Dortmund almost fell behind once again on the stroke of half-time. An unmarked Joaquin was unable to convert his header as Roman Weidenfeller made a crucial stop, and Dortmund were lucky to go into the break all-square.

Malaga got their noses in front at a crucial time in the match, and it was Eliseu responsible for steering them ahead by rolling in Julio Baptista's shot. Requiring two goals to progress, Dortmund pulled one back in the first minute of injury-time when Reus slotted from close-range, and Santana began the celebrations when scrambling in Reus' shot across goal.

Elsewhere, Galatasaray were 3-2 victors on the night but Real Madrid progressed as they triumphed 5-3 on aggregate.

Jose Mourinho remains on course to become the first manager to win the Champions League with three different clubs but he will be concerned by his side shipping three second-half goals as the Turks made their evening far more uncomfortable than had seemed likely in the opening 45 minutes.

Unsurprisingly, Ronaldo fired Madrid into the lead. The Portuguese star punished Galatasaray for not clearing their lines, and was on hand to convert Sami Khedira's low cross from close range.

The Turks were missing their top scorer Burak Yilmaz - who has bagged eight goals in the competition this season - so the pressure was on last year's Champions League hero Drogba to lead the line. However, the Ivorian was flat for most of the first half as the home side failed to conjure up a decent opportunity, with Real Madrid 'keeper Diego Lopez barely tested.

Madrid had the opportunity to double their lead when Angel Di Maria raced through on goal, but the pacey winger was denied by a superb save from Fernando Muslera.

Galatasaray manager Fatih Terim would no doubt have rallied his players at the break, and while the Turkish champions survived when Ronaldo fluffed his lines from close-range, they found the back of the net through Emmanuel Eboue to give something for their fans to shout about.

Eboue has not scored many goals during his career, but his latest one will no doubt be one of his best, as he latched onto a stray Wesley Sneijder pass to smash his shot into the top corner and offer Lopez no chance.
With the bit between their teeth, Galatasaray were moving forward at a frantic pace, and two goals in the space of a couple of minutes gave the Turks a glimmer of hope.

Firstly Sneijder redeemed himself for an earlier miss after dribbling the ball through Raphael Varane's legs and finishing, and barely 60 seconds later Drogba backheeled superbly into the net. Madrid were rattled but Ronaldo had the final say by collecting his second of the night in the third minute of stoppage time.

Barcelona survived a scare to draw 1-1 with Paris Saint-Germain and reach the Champions League semi-finals with an away goals victory over Les Parisiens.

SG took control of the tie when Javier Pastore put them 1-0 up at Camp Nou five minutes into the second-half but after thwarting Barca for 21 minutes, substitute Lionel Messi combined with David Villa to tee up Pedro, who smashed home a left-footed strike to make it 3-3 on aggregate and tilt the quarter-final back towards the home side.

Barca continued to turn the screw but despite not finding a winner, progressed thanks to the two away goals they mustered last week's 2-2 draw in Paris, reaching the last four at the expense of the Ligue 1 leaders.

Elsewhere, Bayern Munich made light work of reigning Serie A champions Juventus with a dominant display in Turin, winning 2-0 to seal a convincing 4-0 aggregate victory.

Juventus had an uphill task after last week's 2-0 defeat at the Allianz Arena and it proved to be insurmountable as goals from Mario Mandzukic and Claudio Pizarro put last year's runners up within a step of returning to the final.

Bayern and Barcelona join Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund in the last four after their respective aggregate victories over Galatasaray and Malaga on Tuesday.


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