LONDON - Holders Manchester United soothed a painful old wound for Alex Ferguson by knocking Inter Milan out of the Champions League on Wednesday, as Barcelona mauled Olympique Lyon 5-2 in a thrilling return to form. Arsenal made it four English teams in the quarter-finals for the second successive year, their youngsters showing great composure to see them home 7-6 on penalties away to AS Roma. The Stadio Olimpico in Rome will be the stage for the final in May and few would bet against at least one English team being back there to play in it. United and Arsenal joined Liverpool and Chelsea, who scored contrasting wins on Tuesday, when Bayern Munich and Villarreal also came through. If Tuesday's games were marked by wrecking-ball performances from Liverpool, who stunned Real Madrid 4-0, and Bayern, who beat Sporting 7-1 to notch up a record 12-1 aggregate victory, Wednesday's ties provided much more subtlety and tension. United beat Inter Milan 2-0 at Old Trafford thanks to headers early in each half from Nemanja Vidic and Cristiano Ronaldo. The result gave United a record of 21 matches unbeaten in major European competitions and made it a satisfying night for Ferguson against his old nemesis Jose Mourinho. Five years ago Mourinho danced up the Old Trafford touchline after his Porto team pulled off a shock victory on their way to winning the 2004 Champions League. Mourinho continued to get the better of Ferguson on a regular basis after taking over at Chelsea and there were times on Wednesday when it looked like being a familiar story. NO DANCING Vidic's early goal still left Inter needing just one goal to edge ahead and they very nearly got it, with Dejan Stankovic twice going close and Zlatan Ibrahimovic heading against the bar. Inter continued to look the better side at the start of the second half before the deftest of chips from England striker Wayne Rooney set up Ronaldo to settle the tie. "My team was fantastic but they were not lucky," Mourinho said. Barcelona led Lyon 4-0 at the Nou Camp after Thierry Henry had struck twice and Lionel Messi and Samuel Eto'o joined in the fun, before conceding two quick goals either side of halftime to the French side. The Catalans were flirting with disaster but they gradually regained their composure and a late strike from Seydou Keita rounded off a 6-3 aggregate win. "We had a little fright when they scored their second but we managed to plug the gaps," said Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola. Arsenal held a 1-0 lead from the first leg against Roma but that was soon cancelled out by Juan, who had time to pick his spot after the visiting defence had inexplicably left him unmarked in the area. Eduardo's first penalty for Arsenal was saved but a weak effort from Mirko Vucinic levelled things up and the shootout went on, with inexperienced players like Theo Walcott and Denilson scoring before Max Tonetto blasted over the bar to dash Roma hopes of playing in a home final. The quarter-final line-up was completed by Porto, who squeezed through on the away goals rule after a 0-0 draw at home to Atletico Madrid.
11 March 2009
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