From Viva_I created Giraffes on 606:
"First half an hour, Milan could have been out of sight. Once we got back into it, through Scholes' lucky and yet somewhat skilful strike, we took control. However, Clarence Seedorf has brought this tie back to life. It's still very much on."
Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson: "There was a carnival at the end of the game and their second goal has made it a game when there shouldn't have been a game. At half-time I wanted us to use Wayne Rooney more, because he had the beating of them and he was fantastic in the second half. It was a catalogue of mistakes at the start of the game, but their start with the goal helped them."
2152: Milan coach Leonardo might just need a miracle in the second leg at Old Trafford on Wednesday 10 March. Shame the game is so far away, isn't it? Another re-think at Uefa headquarters, methinks.
From Anon, via text to 81111: "Worst referee ever! We've been robbed by the ref. No wonder he wore blue! Disgrace! Also, why wasn't Vieira sent off for an elbow in the face? Stoke won today."
Man Utd's Wayne Rooney, after being asked about Milan's dominance in the first half: "Well, some people just weren't doing their jobs."
2145: Football League Danny: "Extraordinary finish at Ashton Gate. David Clarkson scored in the 90th minute to put Bristol City 1-0 up on Leicester - yet there's still time for Leicester to level with Lloyd Dyer. It's 1-1. It's Derby 5-3 Preston in tonight's goal fest and Blackpool are 2-0 up on Middlesbrough. And Leeds have lost, 2-1 at home to Walsall. Huge credit to the Saddlers who become the first team to win at Elland Road in the league this season."
2142: Full-time Stoke City 1-1 Manchester City
2140: Ryan Shawcross has the ball in the Manchester City net with a header from a corner, but it's ludicrously ruled out for a "foul" on City keeper Shay Given. Poor refereeing.
BBC Radio 5 live's Graham Taylor: "In terms of chances, you got to look at AC Milan and say if they had been clinical, Man United would have been beaten today. But fair play to United for coming back - and Wayne Rooney's first header took an awful lot of skill. The visitors must be pleased with this result."
2138: They are still playing injury time at the Britannia Stadium in the Premier League, where it is Stoke 1-1 Man City.
2137: Full-time AC Milan 2-3 Manchester United
2137: Full-time Lyon 1-0 Real Madrid
2137: Michael Carrick must have booted the ball away after Patrice Evra was adjudged to have fouled Alex Pato inside the United half. That was his second yellow card and he will miss the return, now.
2136: SENDING OFF (Michael Carrick, Man Utd)
2135: We're deep into stoppage time in Milan. Is there a late goal to come? United take Rafael off and send on Wes Brown.
2134: Football League Danny: "I'll keep it brief. Plymouth 1-1 Swansea. Damien Johnson with the late equaliser for the Pilgrims."
2133: What a chance for Milan. A corner is swung in from the right and Thiago Silva powers a header wide from six yards. Alessandro Nesta was in the mixer too, probably getting in his way. Gilt-edged, to say the least.
2132: Into the last minute in Italy as the referee has a word with Milan coach Leonardo.
Man City goal: The 10 men are beaten finally. A punt into the Stoke box is flicked on by Emmanuel Adebayor and after Gareth Barry's first hooked shot hits the post, his second effort beats Thomas Sorensen and creeps into the net. They will go fourth if it stays like this.
2130: GOAL Stoke 1-1 Manchester City
2129: Ronaldinho has come to life at the end and he feeds Pippo Inzaghi, who spanks a right-foot shot just wide from 18 yards.
Milan goal: The ball is played forward to Ronaldinho down the Milan left with Rafael out of position and the Brazilian jinks into the area, clipping in a low cross for Clarence Seedorf to beautifully back-flick past Edwin van der Sar and into the net. This game.
2128: GOAL AC Milan 2-3 Manchester United
2128: Football League Danny: "Hear this - Leeds 1-2 Walsall. Clayton McDonald with that one. Leeds are unbeaten at home in the league this season. It's also Derby 5-2 Preston and Scunthorpe 1-1 Barnsley."
2126: Wayne Rooney wants a hat-trick and curls a 30-yard free-kick just wide. Milan have gone in a massive way, here. United are toying with them, as Italians stream out of the stadium.
From Nathozz on Twitter:
"Rooney, best player in the world at the moment. Whatever Ferguson said at half-time must have worked!"
2122: Ronaldinho is adjudged to have fouled Park as he went for an overhead kick in the Man Utd box. The Brazilian is furious, but it's more out of frustration. He probably knows he'll never win this competition again.
2120: Actually, this tie is dead already. When will Milan realise you cannot win competitions like this with a side past their best? United are just all over them, it's embarrassing now. Pippo Inzaghi, 36, is on for Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. Milan coach Leonardo is booed.
United goal: United are rampant all of a sudden, and Wayne Rooney gives them a potentially precious two-goal advantage as he rises completely unmarked to head home Darren Fletcher's delightful clipped pass. This tie is there for the taking for United right here, right now.
Stoke goal: Remarkable - the 10 men have gone in front at the Britannia. A ball in from the Stoke left is not cleared and then Adam Johnson completes mis-kicks his attempted hoof away. It falls for Glenn Whelan 22 yards out and his right-foot shot beats Shay Given's dive - the keeper has got to do better, but he can only push it into the corner of the net.
2117: GOAL AC Milan 1-3 Manchester United
2117: GOAL Stoke 1-0 Manchester City
2116: United are carving Milan open at will now and from 20 yards, Wayne Rooney slams a right-foot shot a fraction wide of a sprawling Dida's right-hand post. The ageing team are struggling for legs, here.
2115: Football League Danny: "Even Football League Danny's quickfire fingers can't cope with the events at Pride Park. Suffice to say, it's a goal frenzy, and it's now Derby 4-2 Preston."
2114: David Beckham is taken off by AC Milan and Clarence Seedorf comes on in his place.
From IlCucchiaio on 606:
"As a Chelsea fan I admit Rooney is probably the best footballer in the world at the moment. It just amazes me how Milan haven't put this game to bed."
2112: Real Madrid's Karim Benzema comes off the bench against his former team Lyon. Can the young French striker ruin the night for his old team-mates? Madrid have looked really short of ideas so far.
2111: Man United have never previously won in the San Siro. They might be about to end that particular hoodoo.
United goal: Remember Lionel Messi's header in the Champions League final? What Messi can do, Wayne Rooney can do. Luis Valencia gets down the right and lifts a high cross to the far post and Rooney climbs miles above Daniele Bonera to power a header into the corner past Dida. Super stuff from the England striker.
2109: GOAL AC Milan 1-2 Manchester United
2108: And yet more Football League Danny: "Just one win in 10 before today for Peterborough - but they've come from behind to lead Ipswich 2-1, Lee Frecklington with the goal."
From Harry, Southgate, via text to 81111: "Nani proving form, is indeed temporary. Utter rubbish."
2107: Manchester United bring Luis Valencia on for Nani, who gets a handshake from his manager.
2106: In France, Lyon nearly make it 2-0 as Jean Makoun goes through and forces a decent save from Iker Casillas. In Milan, Wayne Rooney is forced wide and his low shot from an angle is saved by Dida.
2103: Made in Brazil. Alex Pato controls the ball brilliantly and tees up Ronaldinho, who hits a shot that is arcing into the far corner until Edwin van der Sar parries it away.
2101: His keyboard is on fire. It's Football League Danny: "You can look again, Leeds fans. Gary McSheffrey has levelled and you're now 1-1 against Walsall."
2100: More Andrea Pirlo genius. Like a quarterback, he roves menacingly sideways about 45 yards from the United goal before pinging a sublime pass into the path of Alex Pato, but the Brazilian just cannot quite control it and get a shot in.
2058: SENDING OFF (Abdoulaye Faye, Stoke) The Stoke captain is shown a straight red card for hauling down Emmanuel Adebayor as the striker latched on to a long ball from the back. He was the last man, and can probably have few complaints.
2058: Wowzers, even more Football League Danny: "Derby are 2-1 up on Preston thanks to Kris Commons. Meanwhile, it's still Nottingham Forest 1-0 Sheffield United, but the Blades are down to 10 men after Darius Henderson saw red for an alleged elbow. One more for you - it's Scunthorpe 1-0 Barnsley."
2057: A prolific Football League Danny: "Swansea retain their own hopes of breaking into the top two in the Championship, and Darren Pratley's just put them 1-0 up at Plymouth."
2055: Outrageous. Andrea Pirlo hits a sensational 40-yard free-kick that is dipping into the top right-hand corner of United's net until Edwin van der Sar sticks out a big Dutch hand and tips it away. That would have been a truly magnificent goal from the Italian schemer.
2053: More Football League Danny: "Leeds 0-1 Walsall. Does no-one (apart from Norwich) want to get promoted from League One? Dwayne Mattis has put the Saddlers ahead at Elland Road. Elsewhere, in the Championship, beleaguered Peterborough have levelled at home to Ipswich thanks to Liam Dickinson. It's 1-1."
2052: Alex Pato should restore Milan's lead from Giuseppe Favalli's pin-point cross, but despite getting in between Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra the striker can only head high and wide from 12 yards out.
2052: They are back under way in the Premier League by the way - it's Stoke 0-0 Man City, remember.
Lyon goal: Surely the Spaniards aren't going out at this stage again? Jean Makoun picks the ball up inside the centre-circle and runs at the Madrid defence, spannering in a sublime right-foot shot into the top corner from 25 yards with Iker Casillas beaten. Stunner.
2050: GOAL Lyon 1-0 Real Madrid
2049: Under way at Lyon 0-0 Real Madrid too. In Italy, Darren Fletcher heads Nani's deep right-wing cross behind for a goalkick.
2048: Back under way at Milan 1-1 Man Utd.
Man Utd manager Sir Alex Ferguson: "I'm glad we're back in it, though Paul's goal was a bit fortuitous. The start was a killer with the deflection, but we recovered after a bit. We'll go for more, that's the nature of the club, we won't hold on to what we've got."
From Andy, Southport, via text to 81111: "Could and should have been out of the tie before the Scholes fluke. Rio and Evans look like pub players who have won a raffle to play tonight."
2045: Crackerjack, this one, from our friends at Infostrada Sports: "Paul Scholes also scored the equaliser against Inter at the San Siro just under 11 years ago on 17 March 1999. Tonight's goal makes him the only player to score against both Inter and AC Milan in this stadium in the Champions League."
From IAMsterdam on 606:
"It would be great to see United really play aggressively away from home in Europe. Milan's weakness is their defence and if United go at them like they do at home they would create a lot more chances."
2039: Football League Danny: "Big goal in the Championship. On the stroke of half-time, West Brom have levelled at Cardiff through Gianni Zuiverloon."
2035: It's been all Stoke at the Britannia - Man City are lucky to be level still. But if they do hold out, they will go ahead of Liverpool in the race for fourth place.
2034: Half-time Stoke 0-0 Man City
2033: Half-time AC Milan 1-1 Manchester United
2032: Much to everyone's surprise, it's been pretty scrappy stuff in France so far. Apart from Cesar Delgado's volley against the woodwork there's been no genuine chances at all for either side. Real won't be too disappointed though - 0-0 will suit them just fine as they search for their first Champions League quarter-final spot in six years.
2032: Half-time Lyon 0-0 Real Madrid
From Anon, South Croydon, via text to 81111: "Wonder how many times Ronaldinho has attempted that wrong-footed nutmeg trick shot into the corner that Scholes just pulled off..? Beautiful stuff"
2029: David Beckham curls it over the wall and over the crossbar. The referee goes up to Wayne Rooney straight after and books him, no idea why.
2026: Cesar Delgado goes perilously close to an opener at Lyon, his stunning right-foot volley slapping into the post with Real Madrid keeper Iker Casillas watching on.
2025: Football League Danny: "Big goal for fans of the mix-up just outside the play-off positions in the Championship. Brett Ormerod puts Blackpool 1-0 up on Middlesbrough. Those two are very close - another goal and Blackpool move above Boro in the table. Elsewhere it's Derby 1-1 Preston. And in League One, it's still Leeds 0-0 Walsall."
2024: Luca Antonini has gone off injured, with the 38-year-old Giuseppe Favalli coming on in his place.
United goal: You won't see a luckier goal tonight, that's for sure. Park sends Darren Fletcher away down the United right and his cross falls for Paul Scholes. He totally misses it with his right foot, the ball hits his standing left leg and rolls agonisingly over the line. Remarkable, after what has gone before it tonight.
2022: GOAL AC Milan 1-1 Manchester United
2020: Edwin van der Sar is fuming and he should be. Jonny Evans gifts possession away this time and Massimo Ambrosini plays Klaas-Jan Huntelaar in. The Dutch striker has got the wrong side of Rio Ferdinand, but he slips his shot from 18 yards inches wide of Van der Sar's right-hand post. Could easily be 3-0 to Milan.
2018: Rio Ferdinand is struggling here. Another muddled piece of defending lets in Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, but his shot is deflected behind for a corner.
From Few But Ripe on 606:
"It's in games like this that you realise how significant good, sharp passing is. Beats power and pace any day."
2015: Wayne Rooney screams at Nani for the second time tonight after a cross from the winger flies over everyone's head in the Milan box. I wouldn't make him too angry, Nani.
2014: Talking of missing players... Cristiano Ronaldo is pulling out all the skills against Lyon. Unnecessary step-overs, dancing round the ball, passing while looking the other way. Absolutely no end product though so it all looks a bit silly. Still 0-0 in France.
2013: The pace has slowed a bit at the San Siro, but then it had to after a frantic start to the game. United have settled a bit, but they still look a little vulnerable to Milan on the break. They are missing Ryan Giggs, the visitors.
From Nick the Gooner in Watford, via text to 81111: "Nani is looking like the Nani we've seen for the past three years, not that fake Nani that played against Arsenal."
2008: We're halfway through the first half already, and it's flying by in Milan. What a fabulous game of football thus far.
2005: A quiet start at the Stade Gerland between Lyon and Real Madrid. Sidney Govou has thumped a couple of volleys into the side-netting for the hosts while Gonzalo Higuain just fails to control in the box for Real after a brilliant move full of flicks and tricks.
2005: Wayne Rooney rifles a half-chance just wide with his left foot from 22 yards. Good hit.
2004: It's lollipop o'clock. Paul Scholes' poor ball lets in Ronaldinho and he is one-on-one with Rio Ferdinand - he does about 12 stepovers and goes down under a Ferdinand challenge just outside the box, but the referee gives nothing.
2003: Better from Manchester United and Park nearly gets into the Milan area down the left, but Massimo Bonera makes a crucial interception.
2002: Stoke have made an excellent start against Manchester City at the Britannia, where Roberto Mancini's men have barely had a sniff. Mamady Sidibe spurned a golden opportunity early on, firing weakly at Shay Given from the edge of the six-yard box after a Liam Lawrence free-kick had wreaked havoc in the City area.
2000: Man United have improved in recent minutes and Nani is starting to see some of the ball down their right. One cross drifts past the United players in the box, causing Wayne Rooney to glare at his Portuguese colleague.
Everton manager David Moyes: "We are deflated. It's a game we controlled and probably should have won by at least two goals."
1957: I love him (conditionally). Football League Danny: "Here's a lively Championship minute for you. Nottingham Forest are 1-0 up on Sheffield United thanks to Robert Earnshaw's 11th of the season - and his 150th career league goal. Promotion rivals West Brom are 1-0 down at Cardiff after Peter Whittingham's penalty. Drama on."
1956: What are United playing at? Thiago Silva marauds forward from the back and beautifully slips in Luca Antonini, but the defender shoots wide on the fall after cutting in from the left.
BBC Radio 5 live's Graham Taylor: "I cannot get out of my mind where Park-Ji Sung is playing. When Milan have the ball he is marking Andrea Pirlo, but when United are attacking I'm not sure where he's supposed to be."
From andy pints on 606:
"When did own goal switch teams?? Milan must have signed him outside the transfer window..."
1952: United need to shore up, otherwise they'll leave themselves with a mountain to climb. Alex Pato is allowed to run at their defence from the right and he tees up Ronaldinho, who jinks inside and hits a right-foot shot that Edwin van der Sar gets down well to save.
1950: Ronaldinho is rolling back the years here, with an outrageous behind-his-legs flick to tee up a colleague down the left. My word is he in the mood for this.
Milan goal: What a start. I mean, what a start. David Beckham's floated ball into the United box sees Patrice Evra try a strange overhead kick clearance, but it falls to Ronaldinho 16 yards out towards the left-hand side and the Brazilian hammers in a right-foot volley that takes a cruel deflection off Michael Carrick and wrong-foots Edwin van der Sar.
1948: GOAL AC Milan 1-0 Manchester United
1947: And they've kicked off at the Britannia in the Premier League as Stoke host fourth-chasing Manchester City.
1946: Under way in Italy as AC Milan take on Manchester United and in France as Lyon entertain Real Madrid.
1944: Champions League, I've missed you. Welcome back.
1943: Greeted by a cauldron of noise, the AC Milan and Manchester United players emerge from the tunnel at the Giuseppe Meazza Stadium and line up for the Champions League anthem.
Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson: "When people say players are world-class, that is a misused quote at times. But in the case of Wayne Rooney, we're now getting to the point where you have to consider him as one of the best players in the world."
1940:AC Milan v Man Utd:
On paper, what a game this must be. Nesta, Gattuso, Pirlo, Beckham, Ronaldinho, Pato, Van der Sar, Evra, Ferdinand, Scholes, Fletcher, Rooney - there is no doubt about the quality on show. Milan have history on their side, having won all four of the two-legged sides in this competition,
the most recent coming with a Kaka-inspired drubbing three years ago.
But since then United have won this competition and reached another final, and Milan's ageing side is on the wane. Talking of Wayne...
1938: Full-time Everton 2-1 Sporting It's a victory and Everton deserve it, but those last few minutes mean the Portuguese side are right in this tie. Decisive leg - nine days from now, in Lisbon.
From Joe in Norwich, via text to 81111: "So it's Ronaldo Vs Boumsong in France, then. Arguably the Premier League's best and worst-spent millions matching up. Surely one winner?"
1933: Into injury time on Merseyside and we're gonna get about four minutes of the stuff.
1931: Got about two minutes left plus stoppage time at Goodison Park. What a different complexion that puts on the tie.
Sporting goal: You've got to feel sorry for Sylvain Distin. Jack Rodwell, for some unknown reason, hammers a pass at him and he struggles to control it as Liedson takes advantage. As the striker races through, Distin, trying to catch him, brings him down in the box. It's a penalty, and it's a red card. Miguel Veloso coolly steps up and slots the spot-kick past Tim Howard.
1929: GOAL Everton 2-1 Sporting
1928: SENDING OFF (Sylvain Distin, Everton)
1928: PENALTY TO SPORTING
1926: Everton take off Louis Saha and send on Russian winger Diniyar Bilyaletdinov.
1926: From our friends at Infostrada Sports: "David Beckham is one of only six players to have play for AC Milan and Manchester United. The others are Joe Jordan, Ray Wilkins, Massimo Taibi, Jesper Blomqvist and Jaap Stam. Prior to this evening only Stam had played for both clubs in the Champions League."
From castrolfootball on Twitter:
"All the pre-game focus has been on Wayne Rooney, but he has only scored one goal in his last 10 Champions League games. Big game."
1921: After Carlos Saleiro's header is well blocked by Leighton Baines, Everton go up the other end and Yakubu's right-foot shot is saved down to his left by Rui Patricio. Everton take Mikel Arteta off, with Jack Rodwell on.
1920: Stoke manager Tony Pulis makes four changes to the side that drew 1-1 in the fifth-round Cup tie at Eastlands on Sunday, with Abdoulaye Faye, Rory Delap, Dean Whitehead and Liam Lawrence all given the nod. Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini likewise makes four changes. Javier Garrido starts in place of Wayne Bridge, who drops to the bench, while Adam Johnson, Patrick Vieira and Roque Santa Cruz are also included.
1917: Mikel Arteta curls over. Doh!
1917: Daniel Carrico, who has blood pouring from a wound on his head, brings down Louis Saha cynically on the edge of the Sporting box. Predo? Leighton Baines, 3-0...
From milkybar63 on 606:
"I am a United fan but Jonny Evans doesn't really fill me with confidence against the likes of Ronaldinho bursting forward from midfield."
1914: It's gone a bit quiet at Goodison. Sporting have come into it a little more, but they don't look too threatening. Just under 20 minutes remaining.
1912: Real Madrid coach Manuel Pellegrini has named Karim Benzema on the bench for the clash with his former team Lyon. As expected, Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka start for the Spanish side alongside midfielder Mahamadou Diarra, who plays against his old side. Anthony Reveillere misses out for Lyon with a stomach upset but Jean II Makoun comes back in after serving a suspension at the weekend.
1910: In the Championship, the game between QPR and Watford has been postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. Not surprising really, as it's been hammering it down here all day. Grrr.
From Joe in Manchester, via text to 81111: "Made up for Beckham that he's starting. Let's hope Fletcher et al destroy their midfield though (just realised 'Beckham' is on predictive text. You must know you've made it when that happens)."
1907: Stoke v Man City line-ups: Stoke: Sorensen, Huth, Shawcross, Abdoulaye Faye, Higginbotham, Delap, Whitehead, Whelan, Lawrence, Sidibe, Fuller. Subs: Begovic, Beattie, Kitson, Pugh, Diao, Sanli, Collins. Man City: Given, Richards, Toure, Lescott, Garrido, Adam Johnson, Vieira, De Jong, Barry, Santa Cruz, Adebayor. Subs: Taylor, Bridge, Onuoha, Zabaleta, Ireland, Wright-Phillips, Petrov. Referee: Alan Wiley (Staffordshire)
1905: Lyon v Real Madrid line-ups: Lyon: Lloris, Reveillere, Cris, Boumsong, Cissokho, Toulalan, Govou, Makoun, Pjanic, Delgado, Lopez. Subs: Vercoutre, Kallstrom, Michel Bastos, Ederson, Gomis, Gassama, Gonalons. Real Madrid: Casillas, Arbeloa, Sergio Ramos, Albiol, Marcelo, Mahamadou Diarra, Alonso, Granero, Kaka, Higuain, Ronaldo. Subs: Adan, Gago, Raul, Lassana Diarra, Benzema, Drenthe, Garay. Referee: Martin Atkinson (England)
1905: Yakubu comes on for Tim Cahill at Everton.
1903: Tim Cahill has hobbled off down the tunnel after pulling up with no-one anywhere near him. Another huge blow for Everton in what has become a ridiculous season of injuries.
1902: Sporting are struggling badly now, lacking any real fluency and giving the ball away far too frequently. They'll be lucky to get away with 2-0 if this continues.
1901:Stoke v Man City:
I haven't even mentioned the Premier League yet. Please forgive me. Could be a bad night for Liverpool - and they aren't even playing. As if missing out on the Champions League last 16 wasn't bad enough, they could find themselves fifth by close of play with City needing a point at Stoke to jump over them. The last time City won at the Britannia, it was January 1999 and was in the third tier of English football. Gerard Wiekens got the goal.
From CatsmeatP_P on Twitter:
"I've got a few riding on three or more goals in the Everton match. Let's hope that early second goal portends more to come." Great word in a tweet. Really, well done.
1856: Sporting are angry that Everton's second was allowed to stand and Joao Moutinho sums up their frustration by launching himself at Landon Donovan. He's booked.
1855: So David Beckham makes his first ever start against Manchester United seven years after leaving Old Trafford after being named in the AC Milan starting XI for the last-16 first-leg clash at the San Siro. Rio Ferdinand makes only his 10th club start of the season at the heart of the Manchester United defence, with Nani, serving a domestic ban, back in the side and Ji-Sung Park replacing the injured Ryan Giggs. Rafael is preferred to Wes Brown at right-back.
Everton goal: Sylvain Distin doesn't really celebrate - not because he used to play for Sporting, but because of slight embarrassment at the goal. A corner from the left sees Tim Cahill jump up with keeper Rui Patricio and after they both miss it, it hits Distin and rolls into the net. Patricio is furious, but it's great to see referees not overly-protecting goalkeepers.
1852: GOAL Everton 2-0 Sporting
1852: AC Milan v Manchester United line-ups: AC Milan: Dida, Bonera, Nesta, Thiago Silva, Antonini, Beckham, Pirlo, Ambrosini, Ronaldinho, Alexandre Pato, Huntelaar. Subs: Abbiati, Gattuso, Inzaghi, Seedorf, Flamini, Favalli, Abate. Man Utd: Van der Sar, Rafael Da Silva, Ferdinand, Jonathan Evans, Evra, Nani, Carrick, Scholes, Fletcher, Park, Rooney. Subs: Kuszczak, Neville, Brown, Owen, Berbatov, Valencia, Gibson. Referee: Olegario Benquerenca (Portugal)
1845: AC Milan team to play Man Utd: Dida, Bonera, Nesta, Thiago Silva, Antonini, Beckham, Ambrosini, Pirlo, Pato, Ronaldinho, Huntelaar.
1844: Man Utd team to play AC Milan: Van der Sar, Rafael, Evra, Ferdinand, Evans, Carrick, Park, Scholes, Fletcher, Nani, Rooney.
From Ed in Venice, via text to +44 7786200666: "I was meant to be at the game tonight in Milan, however my lovely general manager decided to put me on duty tonight. I will be watching the game from the presidential suite and will order lots of room service, see if he's still smiling then! Come on United, this time please!"
1839: Hearing rumours that David Beckham does start for AC Milan against Manchester United. Will try to firm that up when we can.
1838: As we await team news from the 1945 GMT kick-offs, how about some preview chat for later? Here's Football League Danny to whet our appetites: "Two huge games in the Championship promotion/play-off mix-up tonight. Fifth-placed Cardiff host second placed West Brom. And third-placed Nottingham Forest host Sheffield United, who are seventh. In League One, Leeds host Walsall, knowing a win will move them within one point of leaders Norwich..."
From henrywinter on Twitter:
"At San Siro. Milan staff's affection for Becks is huge. He's just walked from coach to dressing-room, stewards smiling and shaking his hand."
1832: Half-time Everton 1-0 Sporting It might have started slowly, but that quickly became a very, very good game. Everton deservedly ahead, but I don't think Sporting are as bad as we were told they might be.
1831: Into injury time. Hope the second half is this good.
1829: Stunning free-kick into the Sporting mixer from Leighton Baines - who really is playing his way into World Cup contention - and Louis Saha heads over from about eight yards.
1828: This has become a cracking little game, you know. End-to-end, chances aplenty - and we're already a couple of minutes away from half-time.
1825: Brutal. If you're fond of woodwork, look away now. Liedson plays in Marat Izmailov, inside the Everton box, out on the right, and his ferocious right-foot drive smashes against the post and flies miles away to safety.
1824: Leighton Baines goes on a mazy run from left-back, weaving his way in and out of a couple of tackles before firing wide with his left foot from 20 yards.
1822: Pedro Mendes goes so close to an equaliser almost immediately, his right-foot shot forcing a fine save low down to his right from Tim Howard after a good break down the Sporting right.
Everton goal: Goal of the night, all wrapped up. Phil Neville plays Tim Cahill into the Sporting box on the right-hand side and just as he looks set to shoot, he comes over all Guti on us and backheels brilliantly into the path of Steven Pienaar, who side-foots into the roof of the net with his left foot from 12 yards. Fabulous, fabulous invention from Cahill.
1820: GOAL Everton 1-0 Sporting
1819: Landon Donovan has a decent opening, but lifts over the keeper and wide with a couple of Sporting players surrounding him, while at the other end Tim Howard comes quickly off his line to thwart an attack.
From Gorey, Montreal, via text to 81111: "Re: 1749: Everton are 23 points behind leaders Chelsea and lie 9th!! Don't make it out that they are far weaker than us! We still have a lot of injuries to boot." Good point. I'm holding my hands up, trust me.
1815: David Moyes is screaming from the touchline and Steven Pienaar responds by sending Tim Cahill away down the right, but his cross is booted away. The Everton fans respond too, with a surge in volume.
1812: When he shapes to hit it, I'm thinking 'don't be so ridiculous, son, you've got no chance'. But from 35 yards, to the right-hand side, Sporting's Abel hits a screamer that briefly threatens to fly into the top corner before bending away at the last moment. Almost sensational.
1811: It's threatening to burst into life, this one. A few decent openings at either end, but still Everton 0-0 Sporting with 25 minutes gone in the first half.
From MUFC_4_E3VER on 606:
"As long we don't lose by more than two and score one goal then I think it's a good result go back to Old Trafford."
1805: Interesting. Louis Saha's feet get tangled up with Daniel Carrico's on the edge of the Sporting box and the striker goes down, but referee Darko Ceferin gives nothing. Would have been a free-kick, not a penalty, just to clarify.
1804: Better from Sporting. First they make decent progress down the right and Matias Fernandez's shot is blocked, before Pedro Mendes's effort from range is saved low down to his right by Tim Howard.
1802: Leighton Baines whips over a corner from the right and Tim Cahill rises highest, as he usually does, to glance a header wide from about six yards.
1758: Tim Cahill needs a bit of treatment as he has claret streaming down the right-hand side of his Australian face.
1757: Magnificent double save from Sporting keeper Rui Patricio. Louis Saha plays a fine one-two with Tim Cahill and is clean through, his right-foot shot expertly saved by the advancing keeper and Leon Osman's shot on the rebound equally well dealt with by Patricio, diving away to his left.
1756: Remember the brilliant Portuguese fans at Euro 2004? Well this lot from Lisbon have not shut up yet, which at least gives me something to write about in a quiet opening period.
From HugoScheckter on Twitter:
"Fellaini out for six months? It's going to be tough to get into the Europa spots this year now... Unless we keep Donovan!!"
1750: Sporting midfielder Joao Moutinho lets fly from 25 yards, his right-foot shot flying comfortably wide of Tim Howard's right-hand upright.
1749: Decent start from Everton, but let's not forget they are facing a team struggling at the moment. Sporting lie fourth in the Portuguese Liga, a whopping 21 points behind leaders Benfica.
From Bet Premier, Runcorn, via text to 81111: "Everton and Liverpool cannot play at home at the same time and the Europa League is not allowed to clash with Champions League in TV contracts, hence the stupid kick-off time. Liverpool got the Thursday because they finished above Everton in the Premier League last season."
1745: The Europa League anthem's nothing like as bouncy as its Champions League counterpart, but after getting it out of the way we're very much under way at Goodison in the first game of the day.
From jadekelsall on Twitter:
"My mum is v.excited - we're United fans, and she's been obsessed with Beckham for years. She cried for a week when he left."
Everton boss David Moyes: "Confidence plays a big part in football and we go into this one with a lot of confidence, but we must be careful too. As for Marouane Fellaini, he has a very serious injury and needs an operation. It's the same as Robin van Persie's, so he will be out for six months."
From gunner-zp on 606:
"Will Rafael start at right-back? Will be up against his compatriot Ronaldinho, I remember he did very well against Robinho and I think would do a better job than Neville or Brown."
1730: Stevo's Predos: Everton 2-0 Sporting AC Milan 1-2 Man United Lyon 1-2 Real Madrid Stoke 1-1 Man City
1725: Everton boss David Moyes makes two tweaks to the side which beat league leaders Chelsea last week. Joseph Yobo comes in for John Heitinga, who is ineligible, and Steven Pienaar returns from his domestic suspension at the expense of Diniyar Biyaletdinov. Sporting's team includes Brazilian-born striker Liedson, their top scorer for the past six season, highly-rated midfielder Miguel Veloso and Pedro Mendes, who joined from Rangers during the January transfer window.
1715: He's back. Having spent more than a decade at the club of his dreams before moving to pastures new, one of the world's premier footballers faces his old employers for the first time tonight, bidding to put emotion to one side and help his current outfit progress in one of the greatest sporting competitions on earth.
But more about Karim Benzema's return to Lyon later...
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