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Champions League: Roma drops Real Madrid, Schalke wins PK shootout and Chelsea romps


AS Roma proved too much for an undermanned Real Madrid, Chelsea routed Olympiakos and Schalke 04 won a dramatic penalty shootout to book three of the four remaining places in the Champions League quarterfinal.

Schalke 04 goalkeeper Manuel Neuer played a dream game, making several clutch saves before stopping a pair of penalty kicks to help the Germans win the shootout. Porto fought valiantly to force overtime, overcoming a man disadvantage to net a late equalizer, but Neuer robbed Tarik Sektioui with a stunning kick save to keep the match tied. It was a signature performance and it isn’t a reach to say that the 21-year-old Neuer is one of the best young goalkeepers in the game. He doesn’t have a German national team cap yet but it’s only a matter of time.

Here is how the day’s other matches went:

AS Roma followed up its first-leg 2-1 win with another 2-1 triumph as goals from Rodrigo Taddei and Mirko Vucinic scored goals in a wide-open match that Roma got the better of. Roma carried its strong recent form in Serie A with a solid performance against a Real Madrid team missing Ruud van Nistelroy, Wesley Sneijder and Sergio Ramos.

Chelsea cruised, thrashing Olympiakos 3-0 to become the third English club in the quarterfinals. Michael Ballack, Frank Lampard and Salomon Kalou gave the Blues a three-goal lead just 48 minutes into the match.

Roma, Schalke and Chelsea join Manchester United, Arsenal, Barcelona and Fenerbahce in the quarterfinals. Liverpool travels to the San Siro to face Inter Milan in the second leg next week (Liverpool won the first leg, 2-0).

Who are the favorites heading into the quarters? I would say Roma and Man U are playing extremely well while Arsenal is riding high off its Milan win. Barcelona was a favorite before Lionel Messi’s injury, but they are still a team others want to avoid in the quarterfinal draw.

What did you think of today’s action? Share your thoughts on today’s Round of 16 action below.


  1. Where do I say that Roma plays the long ball? Sheesh . . .

    Roma employed a good strategy against Real, no doubt. I simply like fluidity. Roma came out and wanted to disrupt Madrid, and the ref called the game in a manner that favored Roma’s game plan. I can usually tell how a team will play Madrid based on what happens to Guti. If he is frustrated and flopping all over the place (or disappears), then I know that the game probably isn’t going to turn out well.

    Roma does not move the ball nearly as well as Inter — you all need to at least admit that much.

    I watched Real live on Setanta — Classic was not showing a game at 5, if I recall.

  2. Good for Shalke and Manny! I hung out with Manny Neuer pretty much everyday I was over there for the WC. I stayed with a friend who was the GK for the Shalke II team. Manny’s a great kid and good on him for saving a couple spot kicks in the shootout. I can now say I beat Manny in sand soccer in a PK shootout and be proud!

  3. Michael knows what he’s talking about. I, too, prefer La Liga over any other league — although I’ve been watching a lot more of Serie A and the Argentine league this past year — but it is laughable to put Roma into the same category of other Serie A teams or the long-ball pumping premiership teams. Roma play the beautiful style that Sevilla and Aresenal do, albeit with a little less pace. But I think they actually have more technical skill, so they basically play an Italian version of the free-flowing football so celebrated in Spain, which makes them the most interesting team in the world right now, in my opinion.

    I’ve been a Madrid fan for about 10 years, but after watching Roma this year, I was definitely rooting for Roma in this tie — and they thoroughly deserved the victory. Hopefully this will get them more exposure and respect after the 7-1 drubbing they took at the hands of Man U last year. It seemed that every single “expert” picked Madrid to go through; they failed to acknowledge Roma is certainly as good a side as Madrid is, and is playing itself into being one of the absolute elite clubs in the world. Inter better watch out: The scudetto race isn’t over yet, either.

  4. Did you all see the Real v Roma game on ESPN Classic? I Tivo’d it, but when I went to watch it, it was an American Gladiator rerun! Aagh! Was it my Tivo, or what?

  5. It’s the final eight of the European Championship, everyone is playing well and will feel they are the favorite. Manchester United are playing great football as well as Roma and Arsenal. Barcelona is actually somewhat forgotten and Chelsea haven’t conceded in six straight Champions League matches. The only teams that don’t have a good outlook for me our Fenerbahce and Liverpool (provided they win). I wouldn’t want to play Schalke

  6. I hear you on La Liga. I am a United fan, and there is no team I would rather watch than United, but outside of them, I hardly ever watch the Premiership (except for Arsenal now and again). Otherwise, the league I prefer to watch the most is definitely La Liga. Right now, there are not two other teams whose games I look forward to more than Sevilla and Barca, especially Sevilla. As they showed against Fener, they are almost suicidal with their attack mindedness, but the second goal they scored against Zaragoza a couple of weeks ago was one of the best I’ve seen all season.

    As for Roma, though, they are my buddy’s favorite team, so I watch them quite a bit, and far too often over the last couple of years I have seen them lumped in with traditional Italian teams to prefer to defend. Roma certainly played on the counter against Real, but that is because that is how you need to play against Real. In fact, that is how Real likes to play really. They like for you to leave space open at the back, and then exploit it. They are not comfortable with having to break you down like an Arsenal or Barca. They want you to come at them, and Roma got their tactics spot-on by not doing that, especially with their 7-1 thrasking at United in mind.

    Beyond that, however, Roma should not be seen as a long-ball team at all. Since Spalletti has been there, they have been one of the slickest passing teams in Europe, and when they are on, they are a joy to behold, sort of like this earlier in the year against Kiev.

    I don’t begrudge for forulating a negative opinion of Roma since you have actually watched them (though I don’t understand what was negative about the way they played against Real), but you should definitely check them out more, because they really have nothing in common with the Calcio of yesteryear. They are a progressive, attack-minded (if unorthodox) team with the best one touch passing you will see when they are on their game.

  7. I never said Real deserved to win. I don’t enjoy watching ticky-tack fouls, call after call for 90 minutes. Loved it when Salgado was kicked in the box and the ref all of a sudden decided not to call every little thing he saw. Of course you don’t call that, but this ref needed to.

    If you read my post again, you will see that I acknowledge the legitimacy of Roma’s approach. They won the game! I just don’t prefer to watch that kind of football. I watch La Liga because I enjoy speed, skill, and personality. If I want to watch teams longball each other to death, I watch the EPL (with the exception of Man U, a team that most definitely plays with panache).

    Oh well — now Madrid can focus on winning the league and getting healthy.

  8. i didn’t actually watch the game,

    but i’m glad serie-A has at least a team

    in quarters for now.we still don’t know what will happen in san siro next week.but i think no one would predict that inter can hit liverpool by at least 3 goal after what we all see in the 1st leg(despite materazzi,s red card).

    well,i’m a fan of serie-A.I hope i can see more serie-A in the’s like a shockwave knowing that my numero uno favourite team beaten by the young guns arsenal.

    but i hope, other serie-A team can do what milan cann’t.

    viva serie-A

  9. I’m not a fan of either team but Roma-Real was an enjoyable match. It was predictable that Roma would play for the counterattack…that’s what they do best and the went in with a 2-1 advantage. In my opinion, the biggest absence for Madrid was Robben (he absolutely torched Cassetti in the first leg).

    Oh, and Real Madrid certainly can’t complain about the officiating. Raul was clearly offside on their only goal and the referee gave half a dozen yellow cards to Roma. Pepe was justifiably sent off given his push of Vucinic.

  10. Bob, how do the sour grapes taste. I will respectfully have to disagree with you about the way Roma played. It’s fine that you think Italian football is still living in the defensive mode, and that is true for some teams, but it is your loss if you do not watch Roma more.

    Did they sit back a bit and give possession to Real? Sure, because Real have shown that when you give them space they are really dangerous, but make them break you down and they cannot quite acquiesce. But it is not like Roma bunkered in. Throughout the game, before the sending off (which was the right call), Roma created the better chances. Baptista hit the bar on a free-kick, and there were a couple of decent long-distance shots, but otherwise, Real were the ones pathedic when it came to attacking. The one goal they did score was offsides (now that was some bad officiating), so overall I felt Roma richly deserved it. They sat back more than Real did, but they defended well and were much better going forward with their slick passing game (which you really should check out more).

    I am a United fan, so I would feel fine with another thrashing of Roma if we drew them, but I don’t want to play them again after playing them last year and this year in the group stages, plus I do not see us thrashing them again. Sorry to say, Real just got beat by a better team. They have rode their luck a lot this year, and it is finally starting to catch up with them.

  11. 4 English teams in the last 8 likely

    Fenerbahce as the last real underdog

    My interest in the Champion’s League is rapidly waning. The only thing I have left to root for is pain and suffering for Arsenal.

  12. Roma played a pathetic game and the officiating was aggravating. That said, they did what they had to to win and Real squandered some good chances. Roma played football typical of Serie A, which is why I don’t watch Serie A.

    I laugh when I hear people refer to soccer as the “beautiful game” — obviously they haven’t watched games like these. But it’s what makes the sport diverse and interesting. Hopefully Roma will get crushed by Man U. again — I enjoyed that last year.


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