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> Monday, March 26th, 2012 > Sports > Fanshawe FC: Champions League quarterfinal preview
Fanshawe FC: Champions League quarterfinal preview
Click here to read more Interrobang articles written by Marty Thompson
Published: Monday, March 26th, 2012
The Union of European Football Associations Champions League has pushed to its final eight of the tournament. The nation represented cross-Europe from Portugal to Cyprus, and features a fairly even draw. However, there are still plenty of interesting matchups to look for.
APOEL FC from Cyprus has been pitted against Real Madrid in the quarter-finals. The Cypriots are making their first foray into the knockout stage, and showed an impressive two-leg win over Lyon to get here. Brazilian striker Aílton Gonçalves da Silva will be looking to return to his form in the group stage, scoring three goals in five games, but Real is the obvious favourite for this matchup. The current leaders in Spain will want to push forward in this competition, just as Manager Jose Mourinho has done before.
Marseille will take on Bayern Munich in the second quarters. Both teams came from behind in the round of 16, while Bayern showed they can score at will against Basel. Marseille doesn’t seem like they are of the quality to take that next step in the Champions League; nothing about the club really screams quality. They are currently ninth in Ligue 1 in France.
Benfica versus Chelsea just might be the second most entertaining matchup here. Chelsea is on an upswing, while Benfica is utterly efficient at what they do. Draws with Manchester United in the group stages, followed by clutch wins wherever they need them. This will be very close if Chelsea keeps playing the way they are playing. And yet it could be more important to Chelsea to win this game. Their domestic season has been considered a failure.
While the most exciting matchup is between two juggernauts of Europe: AC Milan and Barcelona. This game will feature the return of AC Milan’s Zlatan Ibrahimović against his former team. Zlatan helped his club keep a four-point cushion in Italy last week, and will be sure to open his account against Barca. However, Lionel Messi will also be sure to pot some going the other way. Both offensive players seem to be scoring for fun these days, and that won’t stop with these matches. The defence on both of these teams has been known to shut down very effectively, but Barca still manages to float balls into the net. In their matches against Bayern Leverkusen, their opponents put 10 behind the ball, yet they still scored three goals.
I hate to make predictions, but here are my favourites for the semifinals: Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Barcelona.
Other stories: Montreal Impact FC drew their first game at home against Chicago by a score of 1-1. They filled Olympic Stadium, breaking a record for attendance at a soccer match there. Also, Nyassi finally got shifted to the wing, and he assisted on the goal. Toronto FC beat the L.A. Galaxy in the North American Champions League and will now play Santos in the semi finals. That home match will be played at BMO Field.