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Wednesday 19 March 2014

Champions League: Chelsea ease into last eight

Blues march into quarter-finals for eighth time in 11 seasons thanks to 2-0 win over Galatasaray

  • It took Samuel Eto'o just four minutes to score Chelsea's opening goal

Chelsea cruised through to the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals after a 2-0 victory over Galatasaray at Stamford Bridge sealed a 3-1 aggregate triumph for Jose Mourinho's team.

"It will be very important for the evolution of our team to play one of the best, so we wait for the draw"
Jose Mourinho

The Blues got off to a great start when Samuel Eto'o scored with just four minutes on the clock, Oscar slipping the ball into the path of the Cameroon forward, who finished well from a tight angle.

Galatasaray struggled to make any impression going forward, save for an ambitious overhead kick by former Chelsea forward Didier Drogba, and found themselves two goals behind three minutes before the interval when Gary Cahill lashed home from close range after Fernando Muslera had parried John Terry's powerful header from a corner.

Muslera denied Hazard and Fernando Torres late on, while Drogba missed a late opportunity to mark his return with a goal, but Chelsea effectively strolled into their eighth UEFA Champions League quarter-final in 11 seasons.

"It was a very good performance," said Mourinho. "We were very solid, very compact, and had no fears – a very good approach to the game. One-one is a difficult score, but our game was very solid. We were very confident and very much in control for the entire 90 minutes, which is difficult. We got a positive result in the first leg and in the second leg we finished the job.

"All the big teams are there, all the big candidates to win the competition are there. We welcome any of them. It will be very important for the evolution of our team to play one of the best, so we wait for the draw."

The draw for the last eight takes place in Nyon on Friday at 11am, but Chelsea must quickly turn their attentions to their home match against Arsenal in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday at 12.45pm, when the Gunners will be aiming to move to within a point of their hosts with a win at Stamford Bridge.

'United will rise again', says Moyes

Manchester United manager David Moyes believes his side can bounce back from the disappointment of their weekend defeat by Liverpool by overturning a two-leg deficit against Olympiacos and making their supporters "proud".

"This club is the biggest club in the world. It might not not feel it today, but it is and it will rise again."
David Moyes

United suffered a 2-0 reverse in Greece in the first leg this month but Moyes insists his side can boost their season with a return to form at Old Trafford this evening.

"When you lose in the fashion we did and against one of our biggest rivals [Liverpool] there is always a lot of disappointment," he said. "We knew it was a big week, but as soon as [the Liverpool match] was over we concentrated on this game. We told the players on Monday morning that the only thing that matters now is this game and our focus is on that.

"It has not been the season we hoped we would have, but the most important thing now is to get the Olympiacos game played and hopefully get through. If we can, it will be a massive lift for us. We know we have got ourselves in a poor position being 2-0 down, but we have a lot of belief.

"The fans have seen great success here at Manchester United and they'll see great success in the future. I've no doubt about that. This club is too big. For me, it is the biggest club in the world. It might not be at this moment in time, and it might not feel it today, but I can tell you it is and it will rise again."

"When you win, you win together and when you lose, you lose together. It has been a difficult season for everyone because we are not used to losing games. Everyone wants to fight for this club. I am not going to tell you we will qualify but I can promise you we will all fight and respect the shirt and make sure all the fans will be really proud of us after that game."

UEFA Champions League round-of-16 result
Chelsea (Eto'o, Cahill) 2-0 (3-1 agg) Galatasaray

UEFA Champions League round-of-16 fixture
Manchester United v Olympiacos, 7.45pm

UEFA Youth League

Barcelona 4-2 Arsenal

English involvement in the UEFA Youth League ended at the last-eight stage as Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea were edged out in close quarter-final encounters.

Arsenal put on a brave display at Barcelona, with whom they shared a 2-2 draw with two minutes remaining despite being reduced to 10 men, but were undone by two late goals by the Catalan side.

The visitors included Gedion Zelalem, who had earlier that day signed his first professional contract, in Steve Gatting's starting XI, and would have taken the lead had Kristoffer Olsson not hit a post with a penalty after 19 minutes. Although Munir El Haddadi made the Londoners pay for that miss by scoring the opening goal Serge Gnabry levelled the tie before the break.

Five minutes into the second half Adama Traore restored Barca’s lead and then it was the hosts turn to miss a spot-kick after Arsenal goalkeeper Dejan Iliev had been sent off for bringing down El Haddadi. Despite being their numerical inferiority the Gunners levelled through Chuba Akpom, only for Wilfrid Kaptoum and Traore, again, to score in the last two minutes.

Manchester City 1-2 Benfica

City were 16 minutes away from a place in the semi-finals on Tuesday only to suffer defeat by Benfica before a crowd of 4,014 spectators at Ewen Fields. City had the better of the first half and had gone close through Kean Bryan and Benfica old boy Marcos Lopes when Seo Fofana put them ahead in the 12th minute.

Patrick Vieira's team City might  have had a second but for a superb save by Thierry Graca and the hosts rued their ill-fortune when Goncalo Guedes levelled terms on 74 minutes. Although Devante Cole threatened on three occasions, Estrela struck the winner when he pounced on a loose ball with eight minutes remaining.

Chelsea 1-3 Schalke

A goal by John Swift midway through the second half could not prevent Chelsea from exiting the competition as Schalke protected their early advantage with a solid performance at Cobham to end Chelsea’s seven-match winning streak in Europe.

Schalke had lost home and away to the Londoners in the group stage but avenged that defeat with the help of a fifth-minute penalty awarded after Leroy Sane was deemed to have been impeded by Dion Conroy in the area, enabling Starke Hedlund to score the resultant penalty.

Mitchell Beeney came to the hosts' rescue with a series of saves but could do little to stop Maurice Multhaup’s smart finish on 44 minutes following a dazzling run. Swift reduced the arrears midway through the second half with a curling effort from the edge of the area but Schalke substitute Florian Pick dashed Chelsea’s hopes of a revival with 12 minutes left.

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Key Points

  • Chelsea through to quarter-finals of Champions League
  • Goals by Samuel Eto'o and Tim Cahill seal 3-1 aggregate victory over Galatasaray
  • Manchester United host Olympiacos in last-16 second leg hoping to reverse two-goal deficit