Arsenal alone enjoy home comforts
© AFP

Defending champions Manchester United and former winners Barcelona and Porto all picked up precious away draws in the opening legs of their UEFA Champions League round of 16 ties. For the titleholders, that meant a goalless stalemate at Inter Milan, while Barça salvaged a 1-1 result in Lyon and Porto held Atletico Madrid 2-2.

That left Arsenal as the evening's only outright winners, with the Gunners edging Roma by the slenderest of margins in London. As a result, the second legs promise to be more hotly contested than ever.

The result
Atletico Madrid 2-2 Porto
Goals: Maxi Rodriguez 3, Diego Forlan 45+2 (Atletico); Lisandro Lopez 22, 72 (Porto)

Porto took an important step towards the quarter-finals by securing a deserved draw after twice falling behind in Madrid. Lisandro Lopez was the man of the moment for the visitors as he struck twice to surge clear at the top of the UEFA Champions League scoring charts with six goals. The Argentinian buried two unstoppable shots, first latching on to a powerful Raul Meireles header before collecting an Aly Cissokho cross and exploiting the gaps in the Atletico defence. That stretched the two-time winners' unbeaten run to 21 games, discounting the Portuguese League Cup - a sequence featuring 17 wins and four draws.

The other games
In European competition, some draws are almost as good as a win and that will almost certainly be the philosophy adopted by Manchester United after recording a 0-0 draw at Inter Milan. The Red Devils carved out a number of chances in the first period, which, on a number of occasions, ended with Cristiano Ronaldo having the last touch and Julio Cesar making a spectacular save. Jose Mourinho responded with a more adventurous 4-3-3 formation after the restart, but Inter could not find the net and left themselves exposed to a series of United counterattacks. Once again, Sir Alex Ferguson proved that attack is the best form of defence.

Juninho Pernambucano's majestic seventh-minute free-kick for Lyon left Barcelona chasing the game in France. On top for the opening half an hour, the home side almost let the Catalans back in with their first chance when Samuel Eto'o struck a post, but Karim Benzema soon restated Lyon's intentions when he too found the woodwork. What was becoming an enthralling match could have swung either way after the break, but ultimately it was Thierry Henry who had the last say, heading in at the far post on 67 minutes to put Barça in the driving seat ahead of the return leg.

Arsenal were the only side to make home advantage count, as the Gunners overcame Roma thanks to a 37th-minute Robin van Persie penalty after the Dutchman had been felled by Philippe Mexes. The Londoners created a host of good chances but will have to make do with the narrowest of advantages when they visit the Italian capital in a fortnight.

The stat
18 - The number of different nationalities represented when Inter took on Manchester United at the San Siro. The only other UEFA Champions League game to boast the same level of diversity was the meeting between Celtic and Shakhtar Donetsk on 2 November 2004.

Goal of the day
Lyon 1-1 Barcelona
Juninho 7 (1-0)

Awarded a free-kick wide out on the left, the Brazilian dead-ball specialist took aim at the far corner, when many expected him to produce a cross. His spectacular rising effort dropped over Victor Valdes and into the net, giving him his 43rd free-kick goal with Lyon and his 17th in the UEFA Champions League.

What they said
"We're playing very well at the moment, whoever we're up against. This evening, my players were able to express themselves; they're playing with joy and maturity. I just hope this result doesn't come back to haunt us," Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United manager.

Have your say
Is Juninho the best free-kick taker currently at large on the Old Continent? Which teams do you think will go on to secure a berth in the last eight?