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By Caroline Cheese
2257: As the great
would say, stick a fork in me, I'm done. I hope Big Sam's wife made him switch over to I'm A Celebrity... that game cannot have been good for a recovering heart. The good news is you can watch the highlights of tonight's action on BBC One at 2325 GMT and if you can't stay up that late, they'll be on the website in a day or so. Even better news: Stevo returns tomorrow for Europa League action. BYE!
2250: In case you missed it, the
pits Manchester City against Manchester United and Blackburn against Aston Villa. Those two-legged ties will be played on the weeks commencing 4 January and 18 January.
2247: Paul Robinson, whose mistake led to Chelsea's last-gasp equaliser, redeems himself with two penalty saves in the shoot-out. The first is a brilliant diving effort to push Michael Ballack's penalty on the post, but he doesn't need to move for the second as Gael Kakuta hammers his effort straight down the keeper's throat. Blackburn will face Aston Villa in the Carling Cup semi-finals.
2246: BLACKBURN BEAT CHELSEA 4-3 ON PENALTIES
Blackburn 4-3 Chelsea (Robinson saves from Kakuta)
Blackburn 4-3 Chelsea (Hoilett scores)
Blackburn 3-3 Chelsea (Zhirkov scores)
Blackburn 3-2 Chelsea (Hilario saves from Kalinic)
Blackburn 3-2 Chelsea (Malouda scores)
Blackburn 3-1 Chelsea (Grella scores)
Blackburn 2-1 Chelsea (Drogba scores)
Blackburn 2-0 Chelsea (Emerton scores)
Blackburn 1-0 Chelsea (Robinson brilliant save from Ballack)
Blackburn 1-0 Chelsea (McCarthy scores)
2236: Lordy, lordy, lordy. I'm scared to type anything in case it actually happens. This much is true though: we're about to have penalties. Who's your money on?
2234: FULL-TIME Blackburn 3-3 Chelsea (AET)
Chelsea goal: IT'S LIKE I MADE THAT GOAL HAPPEN! (Sorry, Blackburn fans) Incredible scenes. Florent Malouda pumps a free-kick into the box and Paul Robinson flaps at it disastrously, leaving Paulo Ferreira to sweep home from a tight angle.
2233: GOAL Blackburn 3-3 Chelsea
2232: Into two minutes of added time at the end of extra time. And David 'Junior' Hoilett has another chance to wrap it up, but laughably miscues his shot. If Chelsea score now...
2228: Chelsea substitute Jeffrey Bruma gives the ball away and David Hoilett is through on goal, with a chance to seal it for Blackburn. But he suffers from a massive rush of blood to the head, and blazes the shot wide. You don't get many footballers called Jeffrey do you?
2224: That's a very good point. What channel is Sam Allardyce is watching this game on (see 2215)? Maybe he's just got his earpiece in and Neil McDonald is giving him the running commentary.
2222: A groggy Didier Drogba is back on. Ten minutes remaining.
2220: Chelsea fans are screaming for a penalty as Didier Drogba goes down under the challenge from Chris Samba. Drogba's momentum takes him into keeper Paul Robinson and he has a head injury. Chelsea down to nine men for the moment. Looked like Samba got the ball too.
2219: Paulo Ferreira gallops down the right but his cross doesn't beat the first defender - which, as we all know, is one of football's 10 deadly sins.
2217: A few words from both managers and we're back under way in extra time.
2215: And that's half-time in extra time at Ewood Park. Sam Allardyce, recovering from heart surgery, is apparently at home watching the game on TV.
2213: Gael Kakuta tries a Hollywood pass out to Didier Drogba, and the striker can't reach it, but he then sends over a teasing cross from the left, which the Rovers defender (not sure who) does well to head away from danger. By the way, in answer to a couple of queries, Football League Nathan insists his spirited/Spirites pun at 2131 was entirely deliberate.
2209: While Didier Drogba is on the pitch, Chelsea surely have a chance. The Ivorian striker takes on four Blackburn defenders, but Chris Samba stands tall and wins back the ball.
2206: Arsene Wenger didn't bother to shake hands with Mark Hughes at the final whistle. He has just been asked about it, and the Arsenal boss responded: "I'm free to shake hands with whoever I want."
Manchester City manager Mark Hughes: "We're just taking in the events of the evening so we're on a high at the moment, but I'm sure the whole of Manchester will be looking forward to those two games in the semi-final. We'd have fancied our chances against anyone in the draw so bring them on. We played really well tonight and ran our comfortable winners."
2203: Carlo Ancelotti's bold move in making three half-time subs looks like it might come back to bite him. Chelsea down to 10 men and it looks like there are some tired legs out there. On the plus side, Ancelotti has finally put his funny little hat on.
Blackburn goal: Yuri Zhirkov sticks out a leg to trip David Hoilett, and Alan Wiley correctly points to the spot. Benni McCarthy buries the penalty in the bottom corner, sending Hilario the wrong way - and the home fans into ecstasy.
2201: GOAL Blackburn 3-2 Chelsea
2200: PENALTY TO BLACKBURN
2159: While we digest that news, they're under way in extra time at Ewood Park.
2157: CARLING CUP SEMI-FINAL DRAW MAN CITY v MAN UTD BLACKBURN/CHELSEA v ASTON VILLA
2157: All square at Ewood Park where they're getting ready for extra time. But the semi-final draw is coming up RIGHT NOW...
2155: A first win for Celtic in the Europa League this season - but it's not enough to keep alive their hopes of progress to the last 32 thanks to Hamburg's 2-0 win against Rapid Vienna.
2154: FULL-TIME Blackburn 2-2 Chelsea (extra time to follow)
2153: FULL-TIME Celtic 2-0 Hapoel Tel-Aviv
2151: Frantic stuff. Chris Samba heads on for Nikola Kalinic, but his toe-poked shot is well saved by Hilario.
2150: Benni McCarthy slots the ball past Hilario, but the cheers are caught in the throats of the Blackburn fans as they spot the offside flag. He was perhaps about 6cms offside.
2149: Five minutes of injury time at Ewood Park. Maybe the officials don't fancy extra time...
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Eastlands: "Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has finally retreated from the technical area to his seat in the dug-out - a beaten manager who has watched his much-admired youngsters over-powered by Manchester City. Mark Hughes even finds time to oblige the elated Eastlands gallery with a wave as the pressure is released after that recent run of unsatisfactory stalemates."
2147: We're into the 90th minute at Ewood Park. Extra time looms, and maybe even penalties.
2146: As things stand, Hapoel Tel-Aviv and Hamburg will progress to the round of 32 in the Europa League. Celtic and Rapid Vienna are both out, so the final round of games in Group C will effectively be dead matches, although Hapoel and Hamburg will slug it out for top slot.
2145: Poor back header from Chelsea defender Paulo Ferreira but Hilario is onto it quickly, saving at the feet of David Hoilett.
2143: Blackburn sub David Hoilett picks up Steven Nzonzi's flick-on but he doesn't catch his volley quite well enough and Hilario collects.
2141: FULL-TIME Man City 3-0 Arsenal
2140: Chelsea, down to 10 men after that injury to Salomon Kalou, force Paul Robinson into a decent save from Florent Malouda's long-range effort.
2138: Fran Merida is unlucky to see his dipping, left-footed shot ping back off the bar. About halfway through four minutes of added time at Eastlands.
Man City goal: Brilliant work by Craig Bellamy, sprinting down the left, squeezing in between two defenders and squaring for Vladimir Weiss to put the seal on City's win.
2135: GOAL Man City 3-0 Arsenal
2133: Salomon Kalou has limped off for Chelsea... but they've already made their three subs, so if he doesn't return, the Blues will be down to 10 - with extra time looming.
2132: A super stat from my BBC Scotland colleague Martin Conaghan: "Barry Robson becomes the first Scottish Celtic player to score against an Israeli side. Previously, Celtic's only goals against Israeli opposition were in 1999 - and all three were scored by Sweden's Henrik Larsson, against none other than Hapoel Tel-Aviv."
2131: Football League Nathan is back... "Cracking game at Chesterfield sees Crewe hold on for a 3-2 win after a spirited second-half fightback from the hosts."
Celtic goal: Celtic win a free-kick and Barry Robson curls it around the wall and inside the post. The Bhoys are still going out, but at least they're going out in style.
2129: GOAL Celtic 2-0 Hapoel Tel-Aviv
2127: Last night, De Laet puns, tonight, poor old Sanchez Watt is getting the treatment from you lot. "In answer to your question at 2114," texts Mick on 81111. "Was it an Arsenal player?"
Blackburn goal: Rovers back in it. Brett Emerton's cross from the right takes a deflection and though Nikola Kalinic jumps for the header in front of Hilario, he doesn't seem to get a touch and it goes straight in.
2122: GOAL Blackburn 2-2 Chelsea
BBC Scotland pundit Murdo MacLeod at Celtic Park: "Hapoel didn't really get fully settled into the game in the first half, but they look a bit more settled now. They're pushing Celtic and I reckon they're keen to get something out of the match now. A draw would put them through."
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Eastlands: "Great elation sweeps around Eastlands with that second Manchester City goal from Shaun Wright-Phillips and Mark Hughes' side have deserved it. No heroics so far from Arsene Wenger's youngsters. If Arsenal go out tonight, then Wenger's wisdom in playing this youthful side must be questioned. Arsenal have not won enough trophies in recent years to pass up the chance of winning the Carling Cup - principles or no principles."
2120: Mark Hughes decides it's time to shore up the midfield. Vincent Kompany replaces Carlos Tevez, who has put in a typically energetic shift tonight.
2117: It looks like Celtic are out of the Europe for this season. Hamburg are now 2-0 up against Rapid Vienna. It would take something extraordinary from the Austrians to turn it around in Germany.
2116: Salomon Kalou really should score for Chelsea with a free header but his effort is too close to Paul Robinson, whose save keeps Blackburn in the tie.
Man City goal: Stunning. Shaun Wright-Phillips drifts in off the right wing, and with Mikael Silvestre backing away and not knowing which way to turn, the England winger makes a yard of space and thumps a vicious shot into the top corner.
2115: GOAL Man City 2-0 Arsenal
2114: Arsenal bring on Sanchez Watt for Craig Eastmond. Watt scored in the win over West Brom in September.
2111: Hamburg are now 1-0 up against Rapid. It could be goodnight Vienna for Celtic...
Chelsea goal: All so simple. Yuri Zhirkov sends Salomon Kalou racing through and the Ivorian takes three touches, the third of which is an excellent slotted finish past keeper Paul Robinson.
2110: GOAL Blackburn 1-2 Chelsea
2110: Chelsea want a penalty for Chris Samba's shove on Michael Ballack, but they're out of luck... but wait...
2107: We're back off at Celtic Park. With the score at 0-0 in Hamburg between the Germans and Rapid Vienna, Celtic have everything to play for. Of course, they need Hamburg to lose both of their final matches, and they need to win this match against Hapoel, in addition to beating Rapid in their final match to have any hope of reaching the round of 32.
Chelsea goal: That didn't take long did it? Florent Malouda crosses from the left and Didier Drogba ignores the challenge of Ryan Nelsen to head into the corner. That's his 15th of a quite brilliant season so far.
2106: GOAL Blackburn 1-1 Chelsea
2104: Arsenal are nearly in all sorts of bother again as Mikael Silvestre twice fails to control the ball as it bounces off different parts of his body and lands at the feet of Emmanuel Adebayor. Silvestre rugby tackles the Togo striker to the ground but is only booked - thanks in part to Alex Song's positioning. Craig Bellamy curls the free-kick at Lukasz Fabianski.
2103: Good stuff. Chelsea are making a triple substitution at the start of the second half. Didier Drogba, Jeffrey Bruma and Gael Kakuta come on for Deco, Joe Cole and Juliano Belletti. And they're off.
2101: Seconds later, Craig Bellamy plays the ball in from the left for Emmanuel Adebayor, who is there just ahead of the keeper but shoots over with his left foot with the goal gaping.
2101: Arsenal's defence may be lightweight, but City's is no better. Carlos Vela plays in Aaron Ramsey, but he takes a touch and blasts well over.
2100: Shaun Wright-Phillips runs away from another half-hearted Arsenal challenge, but his cross is just too high for Emmanuel Adebayor.
Man City goal: Tomas Rosicky is robbed of possession by the touchline and Carlos Tevez picks up the ball, cuts inside, and just keeps going as several weak challenges fail to stop his progress. The finish is superb though, smashing it high into the corner.
2055: GOAL Man City 1-0 Arsenal
From emmetmcevoy on Twitter:
"Wright-Phillips is City's most dangerous player; Traore's been booked so it could be an uncomfortable second half."
2052: HALF-TIME Celtic 1-0 Hapoel Tel-Aviv
2050: They're on their way back out at Eastlands where Craig Bellamy is now laughing with referee Chris Foy. It's just so hard to keep up with his moods... And they're under way in the second half.
2047: HALF-TIME Blackburn 1-0 Chelsea
2046: Remember Football League Danny? And the Macca version? Yes? Well, they're not here, so you'll have to make do with Football League Nathan: "Terrific performance from Crewe keeper Steve Phillips in tonight's League Two match at Chesterfield. He's saved two first-half penalties, the first from Davide Somma, the second from Wade Small and his side lead 2-0 at the break after goals from Clayton Donaldson and Ashley Westwood."
2044: The camera at Ewood Park spies Didier Drogba lending his red hot water bottle to one of his team-mates. I'm saying nothing.
2041: Celtic should really be 2-0 up after Scott MacDonald works the ball across the face of goal from the left-hand side and Georgios Samaras strikes for goal. The ball rebounds off the left-hand post and falls to Barry Robson, who fires his shot straight at the Hapoel keeper Vincent Enyeama. Nervous times for the Israeli visitors at Celtic Park.
2040: Carlo Ancelotti doesn't look all that impressed with events at Ewood Park. Disappointingly, the Italian isn't wearing the funny little hat he had on at the Emirates on Sunday.
2037: Aiden McGeady goes on another powering drive down the left-hand side and works his way into the penalty area, but with five hooped jerseys waiting on him in the box, he takes a shot and strikes it straight at the Hapoel defence.
2035: Michael Ballack volleys into the side netting for Chelsea. Meanwhile at Eastlands, Craig Bellamy is bending the ear of referee Chris Foy as the players go off. Not sure what his problem is.
2034: HALF-TIME Man City 0-0 Arsenal
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Eastlands: "Composure and quality. Two things not in evidence at Eastlands. Lots of sound and fury, especially from Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger as he literally danced in anger on the touchline when Tomas Rosicky was penalised for fouling Gareth Barry, but little in the way of excellence."
2031: Celtic need to win tonight, and hope Hamburg lose. The German side are currently drawing 0-0 at home to Rapid Vienna.
BBC Scotland pundit Murdo MacLeod at Celtic Park: "Wonderful football and quick thinking from Aiden McGeady. He just flicked in a wonderful cross and all Samaras had to do was jump to meet it and head past the Hapoel defence who had clearly gone to sleep."
Celtic goal: Aiden McGeady gets to the byeline again, and this time his cross is met by Georgios Samaras's flying header. Celtic have to win tonight to keep their slim hopes of going through alive.
2028: GOAL Celtic 1-0 Hapoel Tel-Aviv
2026: Aiden McGeady powers to the goal-line and cuts across to the six-yard box where Scott McDonald stabs it goalward, but the Hapoel keeper Vincent Enyeama manages to claw a hand at it to keep the score at 0-0.
2025: Armand Traore is not so lucky, however, as he picks up a booking for a foul on Shaun Wright-Phillips. From the free-kick, Alex Song heads only inches over his own bar.
2024: Carlos Tevez skips into the area towards the byeline, but he is crowded out by the Arsenal defence, with Tomas Rosicky getting back to help out his team-mates. Tevez, in his annoyance, clatters into the back of Rosicky and is perhaps a little lucky to escape a yellow.
BBC Scotland pundit and former Celtic midfielder Murdo MacLeod at Celtic Park: "Hapoel are getting the ball down and passing it around. They look like they're enjoying the game and settling in."
2021: Arsenal looking threatening at Eastlands. Aaron Ramsey chips a lovely pass towards Carlos Vela, and Joleon Lescott's attempted clearance is unconvincing but he gets away with it.
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Eastlands: "Fourth official getting plenty of chat already from Mark Hughes and Arsene Wenger - who have both taken up position in their technical areas. Manchester City on top and Craig Bellamy should have given them the lead. Great chance missed. Emmanuel Adebayor predictably looks fired up, but will hopefully keep his emotions under control."
2017: Celtic are lucky not to be facing a penalty kick and a possible sending-off after Itay Shechter goes down under pressure in the penalty area from Landry N'Guemo, but the referee is having none of it and waves play on.
2017: Good chance for Chelsea. Juliano Belletti crosses from the right but Salomon Kalou heads wide at the far post.
2015: Long ball by Benni McCarthy headed back to Brett Emerton by Chris Samba but the Aussie smacks his shot wide for Blackburn.
BBC Scotland pundit and former Celtic midfielder John Collins at Celtic Park: "Celtic are trying to move the ball quickly, keep it on the ground and put Hapoel under pressure, but the opposition are moving fast and making it difficult. There might be an opportunity for Celtic to put them under more pressure with two strikers."
2011: Jack Wilshere plays a cracking pass with the outside of his foot into the path of Carlos Vela and, under pressure from Joleon Lescott, the Mexican striker cracks his left-foot drive over Shay Given's bar.
Blackburn goal: Interesting. Jason Roberts holds off the defender and lays the ball off to Morten Gamst Pedersen, who plays in Pascal Chimbonda on the left. Nikola Kalinic gets ahead of Yuri Zhirkov to slot in the ball across the box.
2009: GOAL Blackburn 1-0 Chelsea
2008: Over to Eastlands where Mikael Silvestre gets himself into all sorts of trouble on the byeline and Shaun Wright-Phillips capitalises to pull the ball back to Craig Bellamy, 12 yards out, with a free shot at goal. The Welshman somehow drags his right-foot effort wide.
2008: A fast, furious and frenetic start to the tie at Ewood Park but no clear-cut chances to report as yet.
2006: Away they go at Celtic.
2005: Craig Bellamy runs at pace into the area, and finds Alex Song in his way. Bellamy goes down, but no penalty.
2003: Micah Richards brings Carlos Vela to ground, giving Arsenal a promising free-kick out left. Tomas Rosicky's inswinger is overhit.
From Phil in Ipswich, via text on 81111: "Given the injuries, superb spirit by Everton. Well done Blues."
2001: City have bossed the opening 15 minutes at Eastlands, but Craig Bellamy carelessly loses possession in midfield, allowing Aaron Ramsey to have a shot, which is blocked.
2000: Not a great turn-out at Ewood Park for a cup quarter-final. Mind you, with Chelsea in this form, you can't really blame them... They're off!
1956: And in answer to your question, the Carling Cup semi-final draw takes place after tonight's games.
1954: Emmanuel Adebayor rises highest to meet a corner but he heads too close to Lukasz Fabianski.
1953: Everton qualify for the last 32 of the Europa League after that hard-fought win in Athens. Benfica join them after a 2-1 win at BATE.
1952: FULL-TIME AEK Athens 0-1 Everton
1951: Everton have the ball by the corner flag, trying to run down the clock. Seconds remaining.
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Eastlands: "More theatrics at Eastlands shortly before kick-off. All floodlights off and a giant Blue Moon beamed on to the stands as the rest of the stadium is plunged into darkness. Very dramatic. Great expectations inside Eastlands tonight, and with that comes added pressure for Manchester City."
1948: And they're under way at Eastlands.
1947: TEAM NEWS Blackburn v Chelsea Blackburn make five changes from the team that drew with Stoke on Saturday. Rovers are without David Dunn, who has a calf injury, while striker Franco di Santo cannot play as part of the terms of his loan move from Chelsea. Only Branislav Ivanovic, Jon Obi Mikel and Joe Cole remain in the Chelsea side from the XI that defeated Arsenal 3-0 on Sunday. Teenager Gael Kakuta has to settle for a place on the bench.
1946: Jose Baxter has the ball in the net for Everton- but the whistle has long gone for offside, so that's a yellow card for him. Looked like a marginal one actually. Three minutes remaining in Athens.
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Eastlands: "Manchester City are attempting to rev up the atmosphere by placing sky blue flags on seats around Eastlands. No need for that because City fans will require no second invitation to turn up the volume. Arsenal fans have already made their feelings clear about Emmanuel Adebayor when his name was read out. Big night for both managers. Mark Hughes is contending with huge expectations and increasing scrutiny after seven successive drawn league games while Arsene Wenger, for all his talk of potential, actually needs to win a trophy. Still going with youth though against City's expensively-assembled side."
From emmetmcevoy on Twitter:
"Fair play to Arsene, he's stuck with the policy he believes in despite the criticism. Hope the youngsters repay his faith."
From Andy, still bored at work, via text on 81111: "Drama! Lazio denied clear pen. Salzburg break and score a nice goal. Great game."
1940: TEAM NEWS Man City v Arsenal Manchester City include former Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor, while Craig Bellamy comes in for Robinho and Gareth Barry returns for Nigel de Jong. Arsenal unsurprisingly field a youthful team, but Tomas Rosicky, Emmanuel Eboue and Mikael Silvestre provide the experience.
1939: Man City team to face Arsenal: Given, Richards, Toure, Lescott, Bridge, Wright-Phillips, Ireland, Barry, Bellamy, Tevez, Adebayor. Subs: Taylor, Onuoha, Johnson, Robinho, Santa Cruz, Kompany, Weiss
1936: Arsenal team to face Man City: Fabianski, Eboue, Song, Silvestre, Traore, Eastmond, Merida, Ramsey, Wilshere, Rosicky, Vela. Subs: Mannone, Bartley, Gilbert, Coquelin, Frimpong, Randall, Watt
1933: Danger for Everton. The ball finds its way across the box and out to an unmarked Gustavo Manduca - but Jose Baxter provides the vital block.
1931: Jo is the latest player to give the motorised stretcher a spin. And he won't be coming back on either. The Brazilian has been excellent tonight, but he is replaced by Yakubu.
1930: TEAMS Blackburn v Chelsea Blackburn: Robinson, Salgado, Samba, Nelsen, Chimbonda, Emerton, Nzonzi, Pedersen, McCarthy, Roberts, Kalinic. Subs: Brown, Givet, Grella, Diouf, Van Heerden, Hoilett, Jones. Chelsea: Hilario, Belletti, Ivanovic, Paulo Ferreira, Zhirkov, Mikel, Ballack, Deco, Joe Cole, Kalou, Malouda. Subs: Turnbull, Drogba, Matic, Hutchinson, Bruma, Kakuta, Borini.
1924: TEAM NEWS Celtic v Hapoel Tel Aviv Celtic have made one change from the side that defeated St Mirren 3-1 at the weekend. Barry Robson comes into midfield in place of Zheng Zhi, who is ineligible for Europa League games. Artur Boruc has returned from injury but has only made the bench, with fellow Poland international Lukasz Zaluska retaining his place in goal.
1922: Benfica are now 2-0 up over BATE, so as it stands, Everton and Benfica will go through to the last 32 with one game remaining. Twenty-five minutes for Everton to hold out in Athens.
1920: AEK have both their big guns on now as Ismael Blanco replaces Michalis Pavlis up front.
1918: Excellent stuff from Jo now, running at the defender before unleashing a low shot which is destined for the bottom corner until the keeper gets a vital touch on it. Everton don't get the corner though. Is it time for a sixth and seventh official?
1917: That's as close as AEK have come. Youssouf Hersi's skimming shot zips off the turf and brushes the outside of the post on the way through.
1912: Tony Hibbert gets in a crucial block from a Panagiotis Tachtsidis shot. Everton weathering a mini-storm.
1908: AEK Athens putting the pressure on at the start of the half. Tim Cahill blocks a cross with his arm, and then clutches his face. No one's fooled by that, least of all the ref, who waves a yellow card in his direction.
1904: Second half under way. Nacho Scocco has come on for AEK Athens. Not sure who he came on for.
1859: There seems to be some suggestion that Everton will go through tonight if they win, and Benfica draw. I have no idea. As usual, I'm waiting for a clever maths person to put me straight. I'm like
the ATP in many ways.
From Chris, away from home in Barcelona, via text on 81111: "Come on you Blues! Surely we can't lose any more players to injury?"
1850: Good stuff from Everton, overcoming the loss of Sylvain Distin and Dan Gosling to hold onto the lead given to them by Diniyar Bilyaletdinov's fine strike. Rain appears to have eased off a touch too.
1848: HALF-TIME AEK Athens 0-1 Everton
1843: Sounds like my kind of game, Andy. Couple of minutes until half-time in Athens. Not much going on. Three substitutions, coupled with atrocious weather, have killed the game somewhat.
From Andy, bored at work in Aberdeen, via text on 81111: "Caroline, the game in Salzburg is mental! They're kicking, diving, elbowing! Nothing in front of goal though."
1840: Not a lot going on, so I'll tell you that if Everton win, and so do Benfica, the Toffees will qualify for the last 32. They could, however, still go through with as little as a draw from each of their last two games.
1837: Diniyar Bilyaletdinov escapes down the left - but his progress is halted by the offside flag. He looked level.
From Jack, Liverpool, via text on 81111: "If there's any more defensive injuries for the Blues, I think David Moyes is going to have to come on and roll back the years."
1832: Panagiotis Tachtsidis has AEK's first shot on target from distance. Tim Howard does well to palm it away from danger. Not a good night to be a keeper.
1827: An enforced change for AEK now as Grigoris Makos is replaced by Gustavo Manduca. Decent Everton build-up ends with Jose Baxter shooting well wide - Tim Cahill tries to head it goalwards but he's offside.
1824: There may not be many home fans around, but they're making their presence felt. Some tinker has been flashing one of those laser pens at the Everton players, and we've had a couple of terrifying explosions. European football eh? Love it.
1821: That Everton defence is now made up of Coleman, Duffy, Hibbert and Baines.
From peg_leg5125 on Twitter:
"Can you put out an announcement for any defenders in among the Everton fans in Athens? We need them, we are a little short."
1818: Shane Duffy is the man to replace Distin, making his first-team debut. He joins fellow 17-year-old Jose Baxter on the pitch.
1815: An excellent start... were it not for the fact that they're going to have to make another injury replacement. Sylvain Distin, who was a doubt before the game with a hamstring problem, has pulled up and is being driven off on a motorised stretcher.
1814: The home side are starting to come into the game a bit more. They win a corner, but Jo wins the defensive header and Tim Cahill completes the clearance. An excellent start by Everton here.
1810: If it continues to rain like this, I will be amazed if this game finishes. There are puddles all down one side of the pitch - Everton's right. More injury worries for Everton now as Dan Gosling pulls up after getting his studs caught in the turf. He is stretchered off to be replaced by Jose Baxter.
Everton goal: What a start. Tim Cahill heads on a long ball and Jo turns it round the corner for Diniyar Biliyaletdinov to lash the finish high into the net.
1806: GOAL AEK Athens 0-1 Everton
1802: The pitch is absolutely sodden. There's a puddle in the Athens half, which is holding up the ball, and Sylvain Distin has just slipped and almost let in the AEK forward. And it's still raining.
1800: Away we go.
1758: Did someone forget to publicise this game in Athens? Less than 15,000 of the 71,000 seats available have been taken at the Olympic Stadium. Looks very strange.
1755: Just as I was looking forward to seeing a horse called Jeremy running in the 5.55 from somewhere, it looks like I'll be forced to watch AEK Athens v Everton. The
Toffees thrashed this lot 4-0 at Goodison
back in September, but these are rather different circumstances for David Moyes's side.
From Lewis in Oxford, via text on 81111: "Looks like another depleted Everton line-up. Could go either way this one. AEK looked distinctly average at Goodison, yet they beat Benfica, who by all accounts have given us some free footballing lessons."
1749: Moving on, let's give a big live text shout-out to Tony Hibbert, who will equal Everton's European appearance record tonight. His 19th will put him level with Colin Harvey and Brian Labone. Looks like Hibbert will have to play alongside Sylvain Distin in central defence.
1745: Rather troubling, this... the TV channel that is meant to be showing me AEK Athens v Everton is instead bringing me live chariot racing. Apparently, it's called harness racing these days. But believe me, it's chariot racing.
1742: TEAM NEWS AEK Athens v Everton Everton, without Joseph Yobo (hamstring), Lucas Neill, John Heitinga (both ineligible) and Leon Osman (foot) are, however, able to call upon Sylvain Distin after the defender shook off a hamstring strain. That sees Toffees boss David Moyes make just two changes to the side that lost to Liverpool at the weekend, with youngsters Dan Gosling and Seamus Coleman drafted in. AEK Athens boss Dusan Bajevic springs a bit of a surprise by leaving no fewer than four regular starters on the bench in striker Ismael Blanco, midfielders Nacho Scocco and Gustavo Manduca, and defender Carlos Araujoy. However, Sweden defender Daniel Majstorovic returns after injury.
1736: As you may already have guessed from that brief opening, the deadly combination of an early kick-off (I'm looking at you, AEK Athens v Everton) and a busy afternoon of breaking news (I'm looking at you, Sepp Blatter) means I'm a little under the cosh. Kick-off in Athens in a little under half an hour. The referee has just give the game the go-ahead after heavy rain in the Greek capital, but any more rain and there could be trouble ahead...
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