I need to stop calling myself "Mr. Football" and maybe start calling myself "Mr. Futbol". I called 3 of the 4 matches yesterday, the only one I missed being Lyon getting a draw against Barcelona. That's pretty damn impressive given that in soccer there are 3 possible outcomes to choose instead of 2. Oh wait you can tie in football too? That's not what Donovan McNabb told me.
ATLETICO 2, PORTO 2
A-Madrid got a valiant goalkeeping effort from Leo Franco, and goals from Maxi Rodriguez and Diego Forlan to take a 2-1 lead. But Porto got an equaliser in the 72nd minute, from Lisandro Lopez, his second goal of the match, to go into their home leg of this matchup even and with 2 away goals in hand (if the aggregate is tied after 2 matches, the first tie breaker is who has the most away goals, so now you know).
LYON 1, BARCA 1
The perennial French champs fought gamely, but Thierry Henry got a huge goal in the 67th minute to give Barca a draw, leaving Lyon with the huge task of probably having to win their road leg of this matchup in order to advance. Not an impressive performance by Barca, but they still are in pretty good shape to advance to the quarters.
ARSENAL 1, ROMA 0
Well, Arsenal finally scored. Although it took a PK to do it, and they probably would feel a lot safer in this tournament if they scored more than once. But still, being up 1-0 going on the road is better than a kick in the balls I guess. This matchup is still up for grabs.
INTER 0, MAN U 0
United had a lot of scoring chances in this one, while Inter didn't have a single shot on goal. This one comes back to Old Trafford now, where Sir Alex will have to get his second win in 14 square offs with Jose Mourinho in order for the Champs to advance.
CHELSEA V. JUVENTUS
Juve's claim to fame in this tournament so far has been using Real Madrid as a punching bag in group play, beating them twice. Other than that they just kind of plod along as the second best team in Italy. Yawwn. Chelsea has shown some spark since Scolari got canned, as they have exhumed Didier Drogba and have started playing a dual striker offense at times with him and Anelka. If a Premiership team is playing at home against a team from any other league, I don't see how you don't take the Prem team. The Prem is the Big East. Even though Arsenal sucks.
VILLARREAL V. PANATHINAIKOS
If this were an NFL game this would be the one that Matt Vasgerjian and would be doing. Panathinaikos won at Inter in the group stage, and won that group too, so it isn't incomprehensible that the Greek side could advance. Villarreal is just a meh team this year that is only here because they played in a group that had one team from Denmark and one from Scotland. So come on. I think this is one of those where the road team draws today and then comes home to win it in the second leg. Neither of these teams have a chance in hell of getting past the quarters though, so whatever.
SPORTING LISBON V. BAYERN MUNICH
Who's ready for some hot Lisbon action??? Yeah!! The German league sucks all kinds of weiner schnitzel this year and Bayern is behind such powerhouses as TSG Hoffenheim and Hertha Berlin in that league. I think Lisbon wins this home matchup and goes on to advance to the quarters. Yay for them. This is another weirdo matchup where you wonder why these teams are playing each other and what exactly they are playing for.
REAL MADRID V. LIVERPOOL
Otherwise known as the Patrick/Oli Death Match. Benitez is said to be on the hot seat now at Liverpool, and his fate there may hinge on him winning this matchup. They've got their captain Steven Gerrard back for this one for the first time in a while, as he's been out with a hamstring injury. Real's been killing it lately, and has a winning streak in La Liga that has gone on for over two months. Still, until someone from outside the Premiership beats somebody in the Premiership, I can't pick a Spanish team against an English team. Liverpool draws today and wins it in the second leg. Patrick says 10-0 Real though.