Feb 24, 2009

Champions League round-up: No major surprises, but...

...many people might be a bit shocked that Barcelona barely managed to squeeze out a 1-1 draw at Olympique Lyonnais today. Barca being a team that prior to last week had not dropped any points at all since Nov. 23, while Lyon has been far from impressive all season. We're talking about a team (Lyon) that struggled to make it out of a pretty easy Champions League group (Bayern Munich, Fiorentina and Steaua Bucharest were the other teams) and at one point was in very real danger of relinquishing first place in Ligue Un as well. They were knocked out of the Coupe de France by a second division side, FC Metz and their only thing even remotely resembling a quality win came in a 2-1 decision at Fiorentina, Nov. 25. How were these guys supposed to compete with mighty Barca, the top-ranked team in the world?

Through Juninho, that's how. The 34-year old Brazilian has been with Lyon since the dawn of the 21st century. He showed off his skills by scoring on a freekick in the opening minutes of today's game (don't try this at home, kids. Trust us, you have no shot). Barca came back to tie around the hour mark and will in all likelihood beat Lyon on their home turn next week and advance to the quarterfinals as a result. But you can't help but feel a little apprehensive about their chances after that.

The Man U - Inter Milan battle ended in a stalemate but figure Red Devils to be better served with the result seeing as they host the return leg. Arsenal did the bare minimum, beating Roma 1-0 at Emirates. The fourth game, between Atletico Madrid and Porto, ended 2-2, which favors the Portuguese side who host the return leg.

Photo taken from elpais.com without permission.

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