With one deadly turn and shoot, Fernando Torres crushed Inter Milan’s Champions League dreams.
The Spanish striker’s second-half goal gave Liverpool a 1-0 lead against 10-man Inter and pushed the series to 3-0 Liverpool. Game over. The Milan clubs are DONE in this year’s Champions League.
Liverpool joins Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester as four of the eight teams to advance to the Champions League quarterfinals. They join Roma, Barcelona, Fenerbahce and Schalke 04 in the quarters.
So what went wrong with Inter? Say what you want, but the referee in the first match changed things dramatically when he sent off Marco Materazzi. That, coupled with Ivan Cordoba’s knee injury, opened the door and Liverpool took care of the rest.
There is no feeling bad for Inter, with it’s star-studded roster and seemingly bottomless pockets. Even though Inter is still in first place in Serie A I can’t help but get the feeling that Jose Mourinho is in Milan right now checking out condos. Whether it is AC Milan or Inter Milan, Mourinho will be speaking Italian soon enough.
Kudos to Liverpool and oft-criticized Rafa Benitez for guiding his team into the quarters and keeping alive the club’s hopes for a trophy this year. I still don’t rate the Reds’ chances of winning it all, but you can never count them out.
The draw for the quarterfinals is set for Friday. Here is the draw I would like to see:
- Arsenal vs. Roma (Talk about some beautiful soccer this series could provide)
- Chelsea vs. Barcelona (For old time’s sake)
- Manchester United vs. Liverpool (Nothing like having neighbors meeting in the Champions League quarters)
- Schalke 04 vs. Fenerbahce (This assures that one underdog reaches the semifinals)
I will admit that I’m really rooting for a Schalke-Fenerbahce matchup because it would assure three high-profile pairings, including an All-England quarterfinal.
What matchups would you like to see in the quarters? What did you think of today’s match? Share your thoughts on both topics below.