Seventy three minutes had passed in both Champions League ties on Tuesday and not a goal had been scored. Were APOEL going to hold the mighty Real Madrid in Europe’s biggest competition? Were Benfica going to cause Chelsea some heartache? Just seventeen more minutes. Sadly it was not meant to be – Karim Benzema opened the scoring for Madrid just then.
Sixty seconds later Salomon Kalou scored for what turned out to be Chelsea’s only goal. Madrid ended up winning 3-0. It ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings, as they say. APOEL will need extra choruses to try topple Mourinho’s men in the return leg on April 4.
Twenty-four hours later a very unusual thing happened at the San Siro – for once this season, a big night did not belong to Leo Messi. A stubborn AC Milan side frustrated Barcelona in a 0-0 draw. The Argentinian genius (and my recently crowned “best player ever”) had hit the target in each of his last nine outings for club and country but ran into a dead end in Milan. Barça coach Pep Guardiola will need to be wary of the return leg as the slightest mistake could be enough to see the European champions exit the competition.
Meanwhile at the Stade Velodrome, Bayern Munich took charge of their tie against Marseille with a comfortable 2-0 win. One can’t see them slipping up in the Allianz Arena.
Meanwhile, the brilliant Mario Balotelli interrupted a press conference to congratulate the new Inter Milan coach, Andrea Stramaccioni, on his appointment. As you do. Even Noel Gallagher described Balotelli an individual that “truly does not give a flying f**k about anything”. Which is accurate. He is brilliant though. Check it out here.