Saturday, April 12, 2008

Champions League semifinals preview 2008

Champions League semifinals preview 2008.
Champions League report

Old acquaintances meet again

The semifinal clashes in this season's Champions League have joined old foes who have run against one another many times in the European competitions.

Manchester United and Barcelona have played seven games in the UEFA's competitions while Liverpool and Chelsea have met on six occasions, all of them in the last three years.

United and Barcelona have a very evenly balanced score with two wins for each team and three draws. The Red Devils have been a bit more successful as they achieved a better score on two occasions, with one tie and one loss.

Their first encounter took place in the Cup Winners' Cup quarterfinals in 1983/84, when United performed a sensational comeback against total favorites that Barcelona were at the time with Diego Maradona and Bernd Schuster in their ranks. The first leg on Camp Nou ended 2-0 for the Catalans, but a young Mark Hughes helped United towards an unlikely 3-0 at Old Trafford in the return match.

After surviving infamous episodes at Barcelona and Bayern, Hughes returned to Manchester in 1988, in time to lead his old club to another unexpected triumph. With two goals the Welshman knocked down Cruyff's Barcelona in the 1991 Cup Winners' Cup finals.

Hristo Stoichkov and Romário gave Barça a wonderful 4-0 win over United in the 1995 Champions League group stage, which ultimately cost the English side a place in the quarterfinals.

Finally, in 1998/99 these two teams played two spectacular 3-3 draws in the group stage, but these scores favoured United, who went through together with Bayern, and in the end beat no other than Bayern in the finals at Camp Nou.

In the previous three seasons Liverpool topped Chelsea twice in Champions Cup semifinals and between those matches other two encounters ended with goalless draws. Amazingly, in the six games only three goals were scored, two for Liverpool and one in Chelsea's favour. One of these goals, scored by Liverpool's Luis García in 2005, was in fact illegal, which makes the two teams' scoring output even more miserable.

Quarterfinals 2007/08

Schalke vs Barcelona 0-1 0-1
Roma vs Manchester Utd. 0-2 0-1
Arsenal vs Liverpool 1-1 2-4
Fenerbahce vs Chelsea 2-1 0-2


Previous matches

Manchester Utd. vs Barcelona 1st 2nd

1998/99 Champions League 3-3 3-3
1994/95 Champions League 0-4 2-2
1990/91 Cup Winners' Cup 2-1
1983/84 Cup Winners' Cup 0-2 3-0


Liverpool vs Chelsea 1st 2nd

2004/05 Champions League 0-0 1-0
2005/06 Champions League 0-0 0-0
2006/07 Champions League 0-1 1-0 4-1 (pen)

Copyright Ozren Podnar and Soccerphile

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