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.