The final two UEFA Champions League 2011 Quarter Finals got under-way on the evening of Wednesday 6th April 2011, as Barcelona entertained Shakhtar Donestk and Chelsea welcomed Premier League rivals Manchester United.
Barcelona 5-1 Shakhtar Donetsk
Barcelona produced an emphatic victory to all but ensure their passage into yet another UEFA Champions League Semi Final – where the likely prospect of an epic encounter against bitter Spanish La Liga rivals Real Madrid looks sure to await them – as they blew away Ukrainian outfit Shakhtar Donetsk at Camp Nou.
Iniesta got Barca off the mark in the first couple of minutes, before supplying the pass which set up team-mate Dani Alves to prod home and double the lead on 34 minutes.
A 2-0 home lead at half-time was quickly turned into 3-0 when Pique scored on 53 minutes, but Rakitskiy gave the visitors hope – and an away goal – on 59 minutes to make it 3-1.
Unfortunately for the travelling support, their hope was short-lived, as Barcelona put a nail in their UEFA Champions League coffin with a goal just one minute later from Keita before Xavi hammered it home, by making the final score 5-1 with his 86th minute strike.
Chelsea 0-1 Man Utd
Manchester United were outstanding in the opening half of this away leg at Stamford Bridge, and Chelsea were briefly rocking after United grabbed the opening goal through Wayne Rooney on 24 minutes.
Rooney’s goal came following a fantastic long ball from Michael Carrick, which was beautifully controlled by veteran winger, Ryan Giggs, who then provided an inch perfect pull back to his centre forward.
The opening goal signalled a spell of Man Utd pressure and dominance, but the Red Devils rode their luck significantly with moments remaining in the first half when a dangerous looking cross-shot was narrowly missed by Fernando Torres, before hitting the far post, and defelcting straight to the on-rushing Frank Lampard with Raymond Van der Sar, in the United goal, prostrate on the ground. Lampard hit the target with his left-footed volley only to see left full-back Patrice Evra, who had raced back to cover his ‘keeper, clear off the line.
United, deservedly, led 1-0 at the break.
In the second half, Chelsea emerged with more purpose, and retained possession for much of the remainder of the match, though did not produce many telling attacks, with United, guided by the reunited Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic in the centre of defence, looking pretty strong at the back.
Towards the end of the second half, however, Fernando Torres saw a well placed header brilliantly saved by Van der Sar.
A key moment was to follow, as Chelsea’s Ramires appeared to be brought down by Patrice Evra in the box for what looked like an injury time penalty. From the referee’s position, Evra’s tackle looked fair, but the extra official behind the United goal could easily have given a spot kick for Evra’s ungainly attempt to win the ball, and, perhaps, should have.
The final whistle came soon after.
On reflection, United’s dominant first half and superior cutting edge was worthy of victory today, though Chelsea have a right to feel a little aggrieved not to have got a draw following a stronger second half performance: but for a fantastic goalkeeper; and a lack of luck in one vital decision, they could so easily have got just that.
Manchester United looked to have had one target in mind this evening: an away goal. For Sir Alex Ferguson’s men, it is very much mission accomplished. That they achieved this without conceding at the other end merely ices their Stamford Bridge cake.
United take a 1-0 lead into the second leg at Old Trafford, which, if Chelsea score, is readily cancelled out. Resultantly, this Quarter Final tie is the only one which appears to still be live after the first leg matches have all been played. All eyes will be on Old Trafford in a weeks time.
UEFA Champions League 2011 Quarter Final 1st Leg Results – Wednesday 6th April 2011
- Barcelona 5-1 Shakhtar Donetsk
- Chelsea 0-1 Man Utd