Despite going down to a 3-2 defeat away to Bayern Munich, Chelsea safely booked their passage to the semi-finals of the Champions League. The game between Inter Milan and AC Milan was abandoned with the score at 1-0 for the Rossoneri, following incidents involving Inter Milan supporters. UEFA will decide on the final outcome of the game after consulting referee Markus Merk's report. AC Milan were ahead on aggregate when the tie was brought to a halt (2-0 from the home leg, 1-0 when the game was abandoned).
Coincidentally, AC Milan and Chelsea both scored on the half-hour mark to take the sting out of these potentially tricky away fixtures. By that point, Inter Milan and Bayern Munich had missed the chances that could have swayed the ties back in their favour.
The Olympiastadion was full to the rafters for Bayern Munich's 100th Champions League match, and the home fans were soon in full voice as the German league leaders took the game to the English side from the off. Roy Makaay and Claudio Pizarro were back for the Germans, but it was Chelsea's Didier Drogba who had the first sight of goal. Running clear of a static back line, he was just beaten to the ball by the outstretched leg of Oliver Kahn (2'). Bayern were soon threatening too, and Petr Cech was forced into a smart save from a Pizzaro drive with 4 minutes on the clock.
Bayern's attacks became less incisive as the half wore on, and Chelsea took full advantage. For the 13th consecutive away game, the Londoners found the net (a new record), and for the third time in the tie it was Frank Lampard who got the goal (0-1, 30'). Teed up by Joe Cole, the talismanic midfielder's 25-yard shot was deflected past Kahn by the unfortunate Lucio.
Michael Ballack was trying his best to drag Bayern back into the game, but Chelsea looked comfortable, and Damien Duff could even have made it two had Kahn not pulled off a point-blank save (60'). Then, four minutes later, Sagnol bent a cross onto Ballack's head. His effort was tipped onto the post, but Pizarro was first to the loose ball and Bayern were level (1-1, 64').
The Germans pushed forward in search of another, and as so often happens, left themselves open to a sucker punch. Cole found space down the left flank and swung an inch-perfect ball into the box. Drogba leapt in front of his marker and glanced a header past the flat-footed Kahn, who could only watch as the ball nestled into the side netting (1-2, 80'). Some sides would have buckled at this point, but not Bayern. In the last minute of normal time, Jose Paolo Guerrero turned a Bastian Schweinsteiger shot into the Chelsea net (2-2, 90') and Mehmet Scholl even had time for a last-gasp winner (3-2, 90'+5'), but it was a case of too little too late, and the English league leaders were celebrating at the final whistle.
So after a high-scoring tie, Chelsea are into the final four of Europe's elite competition for the second year in succession, and will want to avoid a repeat of last year's semi-final elimination.
Milan derby abandoned
The return leg between Inter Milan and AC Milan at the San Siro was abandoned in the 73rd minute after AC Milan goalkeeper Dida was struck on the shoulder by a flare thrown from the crowd. German referee Markus Merk escorted the players from the field with Inter Milan supporters protesting at his decision to disallow a headed goal by Esteban Cambiasso.
Twenty minutes later, Mr. Merk tried in vain to restart the game, but with various objects continuing to rain down onto the pitch, the referee took the decision to abandon the game.
AC Milan were looking relatively comfortable up to that point. Assured and technically accomplished, the Rossoneri had kept a willing but ineffective Inter Milan side at bay.
Andriy Shevchenko fired a sweet left-foot shot home from the edge of the box to put his side in command. His 141st strike for AC Milan was also his 13th against Inter, and the only goal of the game until the match was abandoned.
UEFA's Control and Disciplinary Body will now study Mr. Merk's report before deciding on the final outcome of the encounter, which was a 'home' game for Inter Milan. AC Milan were qualified on aggregate when the match was brought to a premature conclusion (2-0 at home, 1-0 when the game was abandoned).