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Live - Champions League

Porto 0-1 Man Utd (agg 2-3)
Arsenal 3-0 Villarreal (agg 4-1)



To get involved use 606 or text us your views & comments on 81111 . (Not all contributions can be used)

By Caroline Cheese

2155: There we are then. The semi-final line-up is complete: Barcelona v Chelsea, Man Utd v Arsenal. Sounds alright to me. Before all that, Manchester City will look to turn around a 3-1 Uefa Cup deficit against Hamburg tomorrow. Join Paul Fletcher back here for that. And then there's the small matter of a couple of FA Cup semi-finals this weekend. Lovely.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger: "It was important for us to defend well and when we won the ball our pace made a big impact. That was the difference. We now Theo can finish but he has transferred that into games now. That means the level of confidence has gone up. Manchester United will be interesting - a good challenge, a big challenge, but we fancy that."

2150: Clear winners over on Player Rater : Cristiano Ronaldo (8.16) and Theo Walcott (8.65). Nice. The dunce of the day is Nani , whose rabbit-in-the-headlights cameo earns him a paltry 4.56.
Player Rater

From anon via text on 81111: "What a semi-final line-up. Can we play them now please?"

Lee Dixon on BBC 5 Live: "It was pretty much comfortable for Arsenal. Theo Walcott showed his class tonight. When he plays like that, I don't think there's a better winger in the league."

Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson: "They did well. Good concentration at back was the key to it, to get back to that foundation of not conceding. I think the stability at the back - Ferdinand and Vidic - is always a great start. (Ronaldo's goal) was a magnificent hit. It took them all by surprise. The goalkeeper's got no chance."

Pat Nevin on BBC 5 Live: "The defensive job that Wayne Rooney and Ryan Giggs did was fantastic. How Giggs keeps doing it at his age, I don't know. Great energy. He's a fantastic professional."

From Juan in Seattle on 606: "I don't care what people say about Vidic, it's Ferdinand who keeps those zeros for the opposition."
Join the debate on 606

2137: So it's Manchester United v Arsenal in the second Champions League semi-final. The first leg at Old Trafford on Wednesday 29 April, the return leg on Tuesday 5 May.

2135: FULL-TIME Arsenal 3-0 Villarreal (agg 4-1)

2135: FULL-TIME Porto 0-1 Man Utd (agg 2-3)

2133: Manchester United only need to keep the ball - but Nani seems incapable of even that. Very poor show from the substitute. Into the last minute of added time. Kieran Gibbs is back on the pitch at the Emirates. Arsenal do not need another defensive injury.

2133: Helton gets a hand to Cristiano Ronaldo's low shot. Not convincing from the Porto keeper but it does the job.

Dan in St Albans, via text on 81111: "Evra is having a shocker!"


2131: Nemanja Vidic gets the slightest of touches on a cross, meaning Ernesto Farias fails to connect with his header. This is so tense. Two minutes til the 90.

2130: Corner for Man United, cleared to Nani, who hooks a volley over. Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs has picked up a foot injury.

2129: Nicklas Bendtner puts Abou Diaby through but the midfielder flashes his shot wide.

2127: Oh my word, that was a chance. With Patrice Evra failing to close down, Mariano can cross from the right and Lisandro Lopez sidefoots straight to Edwin van der Sar. Nervous times if you're a Man United supporter.

2126: Five minutes plus stoppages for Manchester United to hold out. One goal will send Porto through.

2125: Nicklas Bendtner comes on to replace Emmanuel Adebayor, scorer of the second of Arsenal's goals. Seven minutes remaining at the Emirates.

Pat Nevin on BBC 5 Live: "We've seen Nani come on for Manchester United... Carlos Tevez must be furious."

2122: Paul Scholes is caught in possession, allowing Porto to put the pressure on. United defending deep now.

2122: Tomas Costa for Christian Sapunaru is Porto's third and final change.

2120: Anderson is replaced by Paul Scholes... and what's Edwin van der Sar up to here? The United keeper completely misjudges a corner and it floats over his outstretched arm to Rolando at the far post. He heads over, to Van der Sar's relief.

2119: A standing ovation at the Emirates as the outstanding Theo Walcott and Robin van Persie come off to be replaced by Abou Diaby and Denilson - who was the only Arsenal player to have started every Champions League match this season before tonight.

2117: Porto win their first corner of the match. Mariano's delivery is headed a long way wide, and probably high as well, by Bruno Alves at the near post. 15 minutes remaining.

From Patrick, Cardiff, via text on 81111: "First test passed for this unfamiliar Arsenal defence. Now let's see how they do against Chelsea."

2113: Manchester United have made a change, Nani replacing Dimitar Berbatov. Nani on the left, with Ryan Giggs tucking inside.

2111: GOAL Arsenal 3-0 Villarreal (agg 4-1)
Robin van Persie slams in the spot-kick to the keeper's left, and this one's over.

2109: RED CARD Villarreal
Theo Walcott's drag-back beats Diego Godin and the Villarreal defender just catches the Arsenal winger. Penalty. The Villarreal players make their feelings known to the linesman and referee - and Sebastian Eguren takes it too far, picking up his second booking.

2108: Penalty to Arsenal

2106: A double change for Villarreal. Striker Nihat replaces midfielder Bruno. Ariel Ibagaza on for Mati Fernandez.

2105: Porto make their second change. Ernesto Farias replaces Christian Rodriguez.

2102: GOAL Arsenal 2-0 Villarreal (agg 3-1)
Robin van Persie finds Emmanuel Adebayor with an inch-perfect pass and the striker slots past Diego Lopez with the outside of his right foot. Arsenal can start dreaming about the semi-finals.

2100: Hulk strikes the free-kick well enough but it's right down Edwin van der Sar's throat.

2058: Villarreal have started the second-half well, and their fans are turning up the volume at the Emirates. Meanwhile, Patrice Evra goes for a 50-50 with Mariano - and is harshly penalised, and indeed booked. The Frenchman needs treatment for a face injury.

2056: United living a bit dangerously as Mariano jumps between John O'Shea and Rio Ferdinand to connect with a deep Raul Meireles cross. Header wide.

2052: Mikael Silvestre fouls Mati Fernandez, giving Villarreal a free-kick about 30 yards out. Guiseppe Rossi's effort is blocked before Gonzalo Rodriguez fires the follow-up over the bar. An early warning for Arsenal.

2050: Mistake from Patrice Evra and Raul Meireles sends a swerving shot just wide of the upright.

2048: We're off again, and at a very wet Estadio do Dragao, Dimitar Berbatov tries a low shot from the edge of the box, which Helton spills but collects at the second attempt.

Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson: "We have to go for that second goal. If we get 2-0 in front, we'd have a chance. They're very aggressive, they close down very well. Rooney got a bad kick but he'll be OK."

2039: Cristiano Ronaldo's strike had been officially measured at 39.6 yards. Nearly 40. Unlucky, son.

2035: Cristiano Ronaldo's sensational goal inevitably earns him top billing over on Player Rater with 8.83, but the hard-working Wayne Rooney is running him close on 8.03. Arsenal's star man/boy is wing wizard Theo Walcott with a super, soaraway 8.73. Change it, if you wish.
Player Rater

From MullyGrubber on 606: "United controlling the match at the moment but lacking that urgency. They really need to kill of this game and quick. You feel the longer it goes go on the better chance the opposition has. Same story with the Arsenal game."
Join the debate on 606

2032: HALF-TIME Porto 0-1 Man Utd (agg 2-3)

2032: HALF-TIME Arsenal 1-0 Villarreal (agg 2-1)

2030: Mikael Silvestre heads behind at the near post as Villarreal threaten at the Emirates. Diego Godin wins the header from the corner, but it's over.

2028: It should be 2-0 to United. John O'Shea flicks on Ryan Giggs' corner and Nemanja Vidic manages to shoot over from five yards. The defender has his head in his hands, as well he might.

2026: Just after Bruno Alves heads narrowly wide for Porto from Raul Meireles' deep free-kick, United defender Nemanja Vidic goes into the book for a late sliding challenge on Christian Rodriguez.

Joe via text on 81111: "Did I just see Berbatov make a slide tackle there? I'll tell you what, he looks very interested tonight and he's playing well."

BBC Sport's David Garrido at the Emirates: "A chant from the home fans of 'Super Robert Pires' echoes around the Emirates - followed by some warm applause."

2023: Corner for Man United... Ryan Giggs takes it, it's cleared to Nemanja Vidic but his shot is blocked.

2021: Another injury, this time to Wayne Rooney. Worrying times for Man United fans. He's carrying on for now. Meanwhile, Christian Sapunaru's long-range effort over fizzes just over.

2019: Theo Walcott - yup, him again - beats Joan Capdevila again and sends over a dangerous cross. Gonzalo Rodriguez gets the ball stuck under his feet, letting Emmanuel Adebayor in but the keeper collects.

2015: A blow for Porto as Lucho Gonzalez will not be able to continue. He is replaced by Mariano, who scored the late equaliser at Old Trafford.

2014: Cristiano Ronaldo dummies a cross brilliantly, knowing Ryan Giggs is waiting behind him. The shot is saved at his near post by Helton.

2013: So, so close for Arsenal. Emannuel Adebayor attempts to turn Gonzalo Rodriguez and is brought to ground. Diego Lopez saves Robin van Persie's free-kick, and Adebayor's follow-up is cleared off the line by Rodriguez. The Arsenal fans are cheering, but it definitely didn't cross the line.

2011: Porto enjoying a decent spell at the Dragao. A 1-1 draw is enough for them.

2010: Alex Song is hobbling off at the Emirates... but he's back on again. Panic over.

2008: After last night, I feel a touch disappointed we haven't had another goal yet. Lisandro Lopez swings his leg at a volley for Porto but it's easy pickings for Edwin van der Sar.

BBC Sport's David Garrido at the Emirates: "Capdevila v Walcott, in pace terms, is like the tortoise v the hare. But we all know what happened to the hare. Maybe just a very speedy and clinical rabbit then."

2005: Carrick is fit enough to trip Lisandro Lopez, giving Porto a free-kick about 40 yards out. Bruno Alves sends it a yard wide.

2003: Injury update: Walcott seems to be OK, Carrick is still hobbling.

2001: Oh. Now Theo Walcott is on his knees, holding his back. And Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick needs treatment after accidentally tangling with Cristiano Ronaldo.

2000: Arsenal fans are upset that I haven't made more of Theo Walcott's finish. It was sublime, I agree. He's looking more like Henry every day. The England winger is giving Joan Capdevila nightmares on the right wing.

From Tom, via text on 81111: "Was just about to text to complain about Ronaldo, then he does that! Silly, silly me."

1955: GOAL Arsenal 1-0 Villarreal (agg 2-1)
Cesc Fabregas gets the faintest of flicks on Emmanuel Eboue's pass and Theo Walcott is through, the winger confidently lifting the ball over keeper Diego Lopez to put Arsenal in control.

1953: Former Man United striker Giuseppe Rossi floats a free-kick in for Diego Godin at the far post but the volley is easy enough for Arsenal keeper Lukasz Fabianski.

1951: Chances for the Gunners. Theo Walcott breaks down the right but his cross goes right across the face of goal without anyone getting a touch. Samir Nasri then finds Cesc Fabregas and his cross is headed over by Robin van Persie.

1951: GOAL Porto 0-1 Man Utd (agg 2-3)
What. A. Strike. Cristiano Ronaldo picks up the ball 35 yards out and sends an absolute screamer into the top corner. Simply unstoppable.

From Steve, Somerset, via text on 81111 : "Re 1940: Argh! Cheese you philistine! It's Prokofiev's Dance of The Knights from Romeo and Juliet, not the 'theme from the Apprentice'!"

1949: Bright start from Arsenal. No question of them playing out for a 0-0.

1948: Michael Carrick gives away a free-kick, which Hulk takes. His low effort zips across the turf before it is collected by Edwin van der Sar.

1946: Wayne Rooney seems to be playing on the right for Man United, with Ryan Giggs on the left. Hmmm.

1945: And we're off.

From Danny B, London, via text on 81111: "Oh man, we could do with having The Gunnersaurus slotting into our back four judging by that selection. I am WORRIED! Villarreal are no joke!"

1942: Decent noise at the Emirates as the players line up for the anthem. One of the assistant linesmen is called Mike Pickel.

1940: Terrific atmosphere at the Estadio do Dragao, where the home fans are all holding up blue placards. Here come the players, to the sound of The Apprentice theme tune... or whatever it's actually called.

Pat Nevin on BBC 5 Live: "When the chips are down, Sir Alex Ferguson seems to know the right things to say. He usually picks the right team as well."

Lee Dixon on BBC 5 Live: "Robert Pires got a standing ovation from the home fans when he came off after the warm-up. Quite right too. He was fantastic when he was here."

From Mark, Surrey, via text on 81111: "I'm on a bus stuck in traffic behind a learner driver. Do they not know what night it is? Desperate to make it home for kick-off! Come on United!"

From Gary, unfortunately sat in Mallorca airport, via text on 81111: "The Gunners will be fine... Gibbs is a quality young player, though tonight will be a test with an inexperienced back line. Just want to get through, then look forward to Wembley on Saturday. Vamos los Gunners!"

1931: It seems Cristiano Ronaldo may be playing up front with Dimitar Berbatov for Manchester United, with Wayne Rooney on the left. Interesting.

BBC Sport's David Garrido at the Emirates: "The Villarreal supporters are already making a fair amount of noise and waving their yellow balloons - save it for the game, lads."

1926: As the Arsenal players arrive at the Emirates, they all either high-five or hug the Gunnersaurus, Arsenal's giant green dinosaur mascot. Tremendous. Is it the Gunnersaurus or just Gunnersaurus? I dunno.

From anon via text on 81111: "Can't believe Gibbs is playing: Wigan made him look stupid! This screams of us needing to recall Senderos."

From Tom (& wife) via text on 81111: "First night in Paris with the wife. If I'm lucky might catch second half after our meal. Relying on you til then! Come on United!"

1920: No shortage of confidence from Villarreal boss Manuel Pellegrini either, despite being without key midfielders Santi Cazorla and Marcos Senna. "We are really confident of getting a result. We don't think Arsenal are a better side than us. This will be a 50-50 tie, it will depend on the small details but hopefully we can do it."

1917: The Porto boss may be absent from the game, but he's been having his say in the lead-up to this game. "There is no way I'd swap places with Sir Alex Ferguson," he said. "I like my team and I don't feel any pressure. Manchester United are the best team in the world but we proved they are only human and aim to do the same again."

1915: Ferreira, by the way, was banned for "making a gesture" at Britain's finest Howard Webb during Porto's win over Atletico Madrid in the previous round.

1911: This is nice. Apparently, Porto boss Jesualdo Ferreira - who is serving a touchline ban tonight - is not even planning to stick around for the game. I cannot believe that is true, but a good rumour nonetheless.

1908: TEAM NEWS Arsenal v Villarreal
Arsenal's defence is decimated. Bacary Sagna has a virus and joins William Gallas, Gael Clichy and Johan Djourou on the sidelines as well as keeper Manuel Almunia. In come Lucasz Fabianski, Mikael Silvestre, Emmanuel Eboue and Keiron Gibbs. Robin van Persie has passed a fitness test and so plays in place of Denilson, who drops to the bench. As expected Villarreal are without influential midfielder Marcos Senna due to injury. He is replaced by Bruno. Robert Pires starts against his former side in place of Joseba Llorente whilst Mati Fernandez starts in place of Ariel Ibagaza.

1906: Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher has a hamstring injury, according to BBC 5 Live.

From tef_afc_08 on 606: "I've no problem with Eboue at right-back, the position he used to do so well in. I'm more concerned with Silvestre and particularly Gibbs, who could be caught out tonight. Prediction: Arsenal 2-1. Very strong United team and can see them winning 2-1."
Join the debate on 606

1902: TEAM NEWS Porto v Man Utd
Man Utd make four changes from the team that drew with Porto at Old Trafford, with Paul Scholes, Darren Fletcher, Ji-Sung Park and Jonny Evans making way for Anderson, Ryan Giggs, Dimitar Berbatov and Rio Ferdinand. Porto are unchanged.

From Kez, Man U fan, Derbyshire, via text on 81111: "Good squad there for us. I say 3-1 United with Rooney, Ronaldo and Berbatov scoring."

1852: Some confusion about the Arsenal team, and the whereabouts of Bacary Sagna. Looks like Emmanuel Eboue will fill in at the back in very much a makeshift Gunners defence.

1850: Ji-Sung Park, who was widely expected to start, does not even make the bench - must be an injury surely. That means Anderson gets a chance to strut his stuff against his former club.

1847: TEAMS Arsenal v Villarreal
Arsenal: Fabianski, Eboue, Toure, Silvestre, Gibbs, Walcott, Song Billong, Fabregas, Nasri, Adebayor, Van Persie. Subs: Mannone, Diaby, Eduardo, Vela, Denilson, Ramsey, Bendtner.
Villarreal: Diego Lopez, Angel, Rodriguez, Godin, Capdevila, Cani, Eguren, Bruno, Fernandez, Pires, Rossi. Subs: Viera, Ibagaza, Nihat, Llorente, Javi Venta, Fuentes, Pablo.

1846: TEAMS Porto v Man Utd
Porto: Helton, Sapunaru, Rolando, Alves, Cissokho, Gonzalez, Fernando, Meireles, Lopez, Hulk, Rodriguez. Subs: Nuno, Stepanov, Guarin, Mariano Gonzalez, Costa, Madrid, Farias.
Man Utd: Van der Sar, O'Shea, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Anderson, Carrick, Giggs, Ronaldo, Berbatov, Rooney. Subs: Foster, Neville, Evans, Nani, Scholes, Tevez, Macheda.

1843: Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is calling on the spirit of 1999 when United came back from 2-0 down in the second leg at Juventus to win 3-2 after drawing the home leg 1-1. Porto, of course, don't have to go back quite so far in their history for inspiration…
When Porto shocked Man Utd

From Dean_Machine89 on 606: "I'm expecting our game to be open with both sides looking for the win. I cannot see Porto parking the bus and we have to go for the win. I'm saying: Arsenal 1-0 Villarreal, Porto 1-2 Man United."
Join the debate on 606

1838: Arsenal, meanwhile, only need a win or a goalless draw to be sure of going through against a Marcos Senna-less Villarreal. With an unbeaten home record of 23 matches in the Champions League, that shouldn't be a problem should it?

1834: I'm sure I don't need to remind you that no English team has won at Porto's Estadio do Dragao. Manchester United have to, unless they decide to go all Chelsea-Liverpool on us with a high-scoring draw.

1830: Well, last night was a bit dull wasn't it? Shall we see if tonight can do any better?

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see also
Arsenal 3-0 Villarreal (agg 4-1)
15 Apr 09 |  Europe
FC Porto 0-1 Man Utd (agg 2-3)
15 Apr 09 |  Europe
Man Utd 2-2 FC Porto
07 Apr 09 |  Europe
Villarreal 1-1 Arsenal
07 Apr 09 |  Europe
Half-time anger inspires Chelsea
14 Apr 09 |  Europe

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