Liverpool crush Real; Bayern, Chelsea progress

March 11th, 2009 - 1:33 pm ICT by IANS  

By George Burns
Hamburg, March 11 (DPA) Liverpool cruised into the quarter-finals of the Champions League with a 4-0 victory over Real Madrid, while Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Villarreal also progressed.

Fernando Torres, a brace from Steven Gerrard, and a late score from Andrea Dossena ensured a 5-0 aggregate win for Liverpool at Anfield Tuesday and it could have been even more against a poor Real side but for some goalkeeping heroics from Iker Casillas.

Torres opened the scoring for Liverpool in the 16th minutes, slotting home a pass from Dirk Kuyt, although Real defender Pepe looked to have been fouled.

There was further misfortune for Madrid 10 minutes later when Liverpool were awarded a penalty after Gabriel Heinze was harshly punished for handball by referee Frank De Bleeckere although the ball came off his shoulder.

Gerrard marked his 100th European appearance with the next two - the first from the penalty spot, the second calmly side-footed into the top corner from Ryan Babel’s cross.

The much-mocked Dossena, on as a substitute, made it 4-0 with two minutes remaining from Javier Mascherano’s square ball.

For Madrid, this was their biggest-ever Champions League defeat. “The first 30 minutes we were awesome,” Gerrard said.

“We got the job done, and then in the second half it was just about seeing it out.”

For Torres, who played with heavy strapping on his injured ankle, the victory was particularly sweet because of his ties with Atletico Madrid.

“I was working all week to stay fit,” the Spain striker said. “I wanted to play Madrid because of my past with Atletico. The pain doesn’t matter.

“It’s a massive game for the fans and it’s a victory for them.”

Leading 5-0 from the first leg, Bayern thumped hapless Sporting Lisbon 7-1 to register a record 12-1 aggregate win for a Champions League round of 32 stage.

Lukas Podolski netted a brace and an own goal from Anderson Polga made it 3-0 to the German champions after 34 minutes, although there was still time for Joao Moutinho to pull one back for the Portuguese before Bastian Schweinsteiger made it 4-1 for Bayern at the break.

Mark van Bommel netted from six metres on 74 minutes, a Miroslav Klose penalty eight minutes from time and an even later strike from Thomas Mueller completed the rout for Bayern.

Chelsea suffered a fright before eventually drawing 2-2 with Juventus to progress 3-2 on aggregate.

A crisp finish from Vincenzo Iaquinta put the Italian in front after 19 minutes levelled the tie on aggregate but Michael Essien bundled home a vital away goal for Chelsea on the stroke of half-time after Frank Lampard’s shot was deflected.

Juve’s cause was made even more difficult when defender Giorgio Chiellini was sent off with 19 minutes remaining after picking up a second yellow card for a foul on Didier Drogba.

However, a penalty from Alessandro del Piero briefly gave Juve hope before Drogba ended the tie as a contest with Chelsea’s second goal seven minutes from time.

“A lot depended from not scoring at Stamford Bridge. The boys did all they could. We kept the game open at 2-1 for us even with 10 against 11. More than this was not possible,” Juve coach Claudio Ranieri told Sky TV.

Chelsea coach Guus Hiddink agreed that the damage had been done in the first leg.

“We certainly didn’t start well. They were very fast and, as you have seen on the first goal (conceded), we defended rather poorly,” said the Dutchman.

“But the one-goal lead for the first leg was crucial for us.” Villarreal are also into the next round after a 2-1 victory over Panathinaikos to register a 3-2 aggregate win.

With the tie finely poised at 1-1 from the first leg, Villarreal struck first thanks to a strike from Ariel Ibagaza at the edge of the area. Vangelos Mantzios equalised for the Greeks with a header from six metres before Jose Llorente ensured victory with the Spaniards’ second goal, 20 minutes from time.

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