A mere six goals were scored in the opening four first-leg matches of the UEFA Champions League first knockout round. 2005 winners Liverpool were the only team to build a sizeable lead, thanks to a 2-0 win over Inter Milan. All four ties are still wide open, however, leaving things nicely poised for the return legs on 5 March.
Match of the day
Liverpool 2-0 Inter Milan
Goals: Dirk Kuyt (84'), Steven Gerrard (90')
After 29 matches without defeat, Inter Milan finally succumbed at Anfield. The Reds enjoyed a man advantage for an hour after Marco Materazzi was sent off for two fouls on Fernando Torres but still made little headway against a perfectly organised Italian defensive unit. But with just six minutes remaining, Jermaine Pennant swung in a cross which Dirk Kuyt converted, sending it on the bounce into the roof of Julio Cesar's goal, a slight deflection from Maicon helping it on its way. Things got worse for Inter in the last minute of normal time when Steven Gerrard squeezed a sizzling shot through a crowded box and in off the far post. The Reds must now be favourites to qualify, but Inter have history in their favour. In 1965, the Italian side lost 3-1 in the semi-finals of the European Cup at Anfield before winning the home leg 3-0 and going on to take the trophy a few weeks later.
Goal of the night
Roma 2-1 Real Madrid - Alessandro Mancini (58') for Roma
Francesco Totti picked up a long clearance from Philippe Mexes, jinking past a flailing Gabriel Heinze in the same movement before bisecting the Madrid defence with an inch-perfect pass with the outside of his right boot to Alessandro Mancini. The Brazilian rounded Iker Casillas and coolly clipped the ball into the empty net.
Roma beat Real Madrid at home (2-1) for the first time in four attempts, despite Raul opening the scoring for the Spaniards. The Merengue legend diverted a Guti shot into the back of the net after just eight minutes for his 60th goal in 115 UEFA Champions League matches.
But with Francesco Totti in inspirational form, the
Giallorossi equalised through David Pizarro on 24 minutes,
the Chilean schemer hammering home after a Mancini cross was not
properly cleared. Just before the hour mark Totti jinked through
the Madrid defence to set up Mancini for the winner. Real came
close to equalising late on when Ruud van Nistelrooy hit the post,
but it was all to no avail.
Los Blancos have now not won in their last six UEFA
Champions League games away from the Bernabeu.
Schalke 04 pounced on Porto in the opening minutes of their match thanks to a fourth-minute goal from Kevin Kuranyi. The German international could have gone on to add to the home team's tally but for some wayward finishing. Chelsea meanwhile had to make do with a goalless draw in Greece against a hard-working Olympiakos side who will be aiming to pull off a surprise result in the return.
The numbers game -
The number of countries still represented in the last 16 - the widest variety since 2001 (when there were 10), even if the three major leagues have the lion's share (England four, Italy and Spain three each).
Schalke 04 1-0 FC Porto
Liverpool 2-0 Inter Milan
AS Roma 2-1 Real Madrid
Olympiakos 0-0 Chelsea