LONDON - Chelsea were given the chance
to avenge their shattering penalty shootout defeat to Manchester
United in the 2008 Champions League final after being drawn to
play them in the quarter-finals of the competition on Friday.
One of the most dramatic finals of all time played in
driving rain in Moscow ended with United winning 6-5 on
penalties after Chelsea captain John Terry blew the chance of
winning the European Cup when his penalty hit the post.
United then took their chance to win the shootout and become
European champions for the third time.
Friday's draw also paired favourites Barcelona against
Shakhtar Donetsk of Ukraine while nine-times winners Real Madrid
will play Champions League debutants Tottenham Hotspur, the
highest scorers left in this season's competition.
Holders Inter Milan, who squeezed into the last eight with
an away goals win over Bayern Munich on Tuesday, will play
Schalke 04, who beat them in the 1997 UEFA Cup final.
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Carlo Ancelotti, manager of English champions Chelsea, told
reporters after his side were paired with United:
"It will be difficult, obviously, but we want to reach the
semi-final. I'm not surprised two English teams have been drawn
together, this can happen.
"For English football it's good because I think that
compared to last season one team will be in the semi-final. Last
season no English team was in the semi-final, this year one or
two teams will be in the semi-final."
The other English team who could reach the last four are
Spurs, who face Jose Mourinho's Real with the first leg in
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Mourinho, who led Inter to a treble last season, including
bringing them the European Cup for the first time since 1965, is
now attempting to become the first man to lift the trophy with
three different clubs after his success with Porto in 2004.
He said he was delighted to be going back to England to face
"I am happy, not because it will be easy, but because I love
playing in England," he said.
Spurs have been impressive in their debut season with wins
over Inter Milan and AC Milan, who they eliminated in the last
16, and manager Harry Redknapp was also happy with the draw.
"What a game to look forward to against one of the greatest
clubs in world football. To play Real Madrid at this stage of
the Champions League is fantastic for us and we're all looking
forward to it."
The club everyone wanted to avoid was Barcelona, the hot
favourites to become European champions for the second time in
Shakhtar were the unlucky side to be paired with Pep
Guardiola's formidable outfit, but have won two of their six
matches against them, including a 3-2 win at the Nou Camp in the
group stage two seasons ago.
Guardiola told reporters: "We know them and they know us. We
have had very tight games with them. They are physically very
strong, with experienced players. We found it very hard to beat
them in the Super Cup (in 2009 when Barca won 1-0 in extra
"Playing the return leg away is a handicap."
Inter face Schalke, whose decision to replace manager Felix
Magath with Ralf Rangnick on Thursday after they eliminated
Valencia in the last 16 will be tested to the utmost.
Inter are on the heels of Milan in the Italian title race
and showed steely resilience against Bayern Munich when they
trailed 2-1 on the night and 3-1 on aggregate before late goals
earned a 3-2 win in Munich and qualification on away goals.
With the draw for the semi-finals having also taken place,
there are some intriguing possibilities ahead.
The winners of the Inter/Schalke match will play Chelsea or
Manchester United in one semi-final, while Real Madrid will face
Barcelona in the other if they both win their quarter-finals,
ruling out the chance of an all-Spanish final.
There could, however, be an all-London final between Chelsea
and Tottenham on May 28 - a fixture that would produce the
first London side to win the European Cup.
If Mourinho leads Real to the final the Portuguese coach
could face one of his two old clubs at Wembley - Inter or
Chelsea. A repeat of the 2009 final between Manchester United
and Barcelona is another possibility.
The quarter-final matches will be played on April 5/6 and
12/13 with the semis on April 26/27 and May 3/4.
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