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Champions Barcelona bow out
March 07, 2007 04:48 IST
Holders Barcelona went out of the Champions League in the first knockout phase on Tuesday when their 1-0 win at Anfield was not enough to prevent Liverpool advancing on the away goals rule after a 2-2 aggregate.
The 2004 winners Porto also ended their interest as Chelsea came from behind to beat them 2-1 at Stamford Bridge for a 3-2 aggregate and maintain the Premier League's chances of having an unprecedented four teams in the last eight.
AS Roma advanced when a 2-0 success inflicted a first home defeat in 19 Champions League games on Olympique Lyon after their goalless first leg.
Valencia went through on the back of their first leg 2-2 draw at the San Siro after Tuesday's second leg in Spain finished goalless.
Anfield has been the scene of some memorable European nights over the years and those there on Tuesday will remember Liverpool's latest adventure for many years - despite the game ending in defeat.
Having stunned Barcelona 2-1 in the Nou Camp Liverpool went out looking to kill the tie from the start and a first half of 10 shots on goal to Barcelona's one tells its own story.
John-Arne Riise and Mohamed Sissoko both hit the bar while excellent goalkeeping and last-ditch defending kept out a series of efforts that were on target.
Barcelona looked sluggish all night, personified in Ronaldinho who hit the post when through on goal after 53 minutes.
They finally roused themselves in the 75th minute when Eidur Gudjohnsen scored four minutes after coming on as a substitute but despite some tense moments, 2005 champions Liverpool fully deserved to progress.
"There's still a long way to go but that will give us confidence," Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard told ITV. "If we can go through over two legs against the best in Europe, we're ready for anyone."
Chelsea needed a second-half comeback to overcome Porto after the Portuguese side looked set to celebrate their 100th Champions League match in style.
Porto had managed only one draw in nine previous European matches in England but when Ricardo Quaresma's 15th-minute breakaway remained the only goal of the first half they began to dream of a repeat of their 2004 European glory under current Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho.
However, a goalkeeping blunder allowed a tame Arjen Robben shot to level the scores three minutes into the second half and Germany midfielder Michael Ballack hooked in the winner with 11 minutes remaining.
"I asked the players to enjoy the situation," Mourinho said of his halftime team talk. "We had 45 minutes to stay in the competition, and I asked them 'are you scared of it or are you going to enjoy it'?".
Roma, featuring in the knockout phase for the first time, denied Lyon a fourth consecutive quarter-final spot with a two-goal first half blast.
The French side must have thought they had done enough after drawing in Rome but their 18-game unbeaten home run in the competition was blown away by a 22nd-minute Francesco Totti header and a superb counter-attacking goal by Mancini just before halftime.
It was the other way round in Spain where Valencia put up a defensive wall to deny Inter and go through to Friday's quarter-final draw on the away goals rule.
Tempers flared at the final whistle when Valencia midfielder Carlos Marchena kicked out at Inter's Nicolas Burdisso sparking a mass brawl in the middle of the pitch.
Valencia substitute David Navarro ran on to the pitch and threw a punch at Burdisso while the scuffles continued in the tunnel and dressing rooms with security guards having to intervene.
"A Valencia player went mad when he came onto the pitch and hit Burdisso," said Inter coach Roberto Mancini. "He broke Burdisso's nose.
The remaining four second-leg matches take place on Wednesday when Manchester United and Arsenal will be seeking to make it four through from one country for the first time.