UEFA Champions League: April 8, 2008

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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

English sides Liverpool and Chelsea will face off in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals after both teams won their second leg matches on Tuesday. Chelsea were defeated 2-1 in their first leg by Turkish side Fenerbahçe and needed a win to advance, while Liverpool had tied fellow English side Arsenal 1-1 in their first leg.


Liverpool came back from an early deficit to defeat Arsenal 4-2 at Anfield. It was Abou Diaby who opened the scoring for Arsenal in the 13th minute after he picked up a ball by Hleb, powered into the area, and blasted the ball past Pepe Reina. Arsenal played well and kept the pressure on the home side, but they could not stop Hyypia from equalizing in the 30th. Gerrard's corner made its way to the veteran and he powered his header in off the post. Fernando Torres put Liverpool in the lead after the break after Crouch flicked the ball on, and the Spanish International turned Senderos before firing into the top corner. Liverpool took control of the game, but Arsenal caught them out on the counter-attack as Walcott made a run from his own half before cutting the ball back to Adebayor, who finished cleanly. With Arsenal in position to advance, Liverpool surged forward instantly after the restart. Ryan Babel was brought down in the Arsenal area by Kolo Toure, and referee Peter Frojdfeldt pointed to the spot. Liverpool captain stepped up and slammed the ball high into the net past Almunia. Arsenal was then caught out as they pressed for the equalizer, and the ball fell to Babel. The Dutchman outpaced Fabregas and struck a glorious drive past Almunia to wrap up Liverpool's spot in the next round.

Chelsea joined Liverpool in the semi's for the third time in four years with a nervy 2-0 victory over Fenerbahçe. Chelsea pushed to pull even on aggregate early, and it only took them four minutes to grab the lead. A free kick from Frank Lampard found its way to Michael Ballack, and the German captain made no mistake as he headed it into the far side of the net. Joe Cole came close to soubling the home sides advantage soon after, but he saw his effort come back off the post from Kalou's cross. Chelsea keeper Carlo Cudicini had to be subbed off in the 25th minute, and the Portuguese Hilario came on as his replacement. The Turkish side took advantage of the change and should have equalized through Lugano, but he could not direct his free header on target. The game was played openly from then on, with both teams having their fair share of chances, until finally Frank Lampard put the game out of reach in the 87th minute. Michael Essien's cross was turned into the net by Frank Lampard, giving Chelsea a 3-2 win on aggregate.

Semi-finals are to be played April 23rd and 30th