Uchida makes Japanese Champions League history
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Schalke defender Atsuto Uchida made his own piece of football history on Wednesday when he became the first Japanese player to qualify for the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League.

German Bundesliga side Schalke will face English giants Manchester United in the last four of Europe's premier club competition after beating holders Inter Milan 2-1 to knock out the holders 7-3 on aggregate.

Barring catastrophe Uchida, 23, is likely to be given a starting role in Ralf Rangnick's side for the first semi-final on either 26 or 27 April having played nine of Schalke ten European matches so far.

Former Schalke coach Felix Magath signed Uchida from Kashima Antlers for €1.4 million.

And Rangnick has only words of praise for him. "I've only known him for three and a half weeks but he's impressed me a lot so far," said Rangnick, who took over from Magath last month. He's still young, but very mature, very fast and he can go far."

Waving off the potential pressure of being followed by dozens of his country's media, Uchida, who was part of the Japan team which won the last AFC Asian Cup, put in a near flawless display against Inter.

In the semi-final he is likely to come up against United's South Korean forward Park Ji-sung, who scored the winner in United's 2-1 second leg win over Chelsea on Tuesday.