Away wins for Barcelona and Manchester United

April 2nd, 2008 - 12:36 pm ICT by admin  

(Champions League Roundup)
Hamburg, April 2 (DPA) Barcelona and Manchester United took a giant step towards the semi-finals of the Champions League with away wins in their first leg quarterfinal games Tuesday. Barcelona beat Bundesliga club Schalke 04 1-0 in Gelsenkirchen Tuesday to put aside all their domestic problems, while Manchester United beat the sole Serie A team remaining in the competition, AS Roma, 2-0.

Barcelona dominated the first half against Schalke and deservedly went ahead in the 12th minute after Schalke goalkeeper Manuel Neuer failed to hold on to a tame side-footed Thierry Henry shot.

The Frenchman, who was exquisitely set up by a defence-splitting Andres Iniesta pass, was on hand to push the rebound into the middle, where 17-year-old Bojan Krkic was on hand to kick the ball into the back of the net for his first Champions League goal.

It was to be the only goal of the game.

Schalke coach Mirko Slomka said he did not understand why his team lacked drive in the first half. “Possibly one has a little bit of respect against a team like Barcelona, but I did not think that we needed to have that much respect for them.”

Striker Gerald Asamoah said that he still believed that his side had a chance to advance. “If we did not believe that, we would not even have to travel to Barcelona for the return leg.

“We know we will face a very difficult task, but we have to believe in ourselves,” he said.

In Rome, Portuguese international Cristiano Ronaldo continued his excellent scoring record as he gave Manchester United the lead in the 39th minute with a powerful header from a Paul Scholes cross.

In the second half the home side pushed forward in search of an equaliser, but totally against the run of play United added a second in the 66th minute after goalkeeper Doni failed to clear a header from Park Ji-Sung and Wayne Rooney scored from the ensuing goalmouth scramble.

Roma coach Luciano Spalletti said that his side had not deserved to lose by two goals.

“If we look at the result, they were too strong, but if we look at the game it is not so. When we conceded the second goal, which I did not like, the boys lost confidence and did not believe in creating chances to reverse the game,” he said.

“We deserved more early in the second half, then they made a cross, the ball bounced there and in it went. I think it was too penalising a result for us.”

Chelsea are away to Turkish club Fenerbahce Istanbul, while Premiership rivals Liverpool and Arsenal clash in London in Wednesday’s quarterfinal matches.

The return legs are April 8 and 9.

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