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Page last updated at 21:05 GMT, Tuesday, 6 April 2010 22:05 UK

Tuesday football as it happened


To get involved use 606, Twitter or text us your views & comments on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide). (Not all contributions can be used. Messages will be charged at your standard operator rate)

By Jonathan Stevenson

2204: I think I've gone on for quite long enough now, I'm sure you'll agree. Thanks for your top-class involvement, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. What a treat Lionel Messi gave us - let's hope Man Utd and Bayern Munich can similarly entertain on Wednesday. Cheesy's back then, while I dream of coming back as little Leo in my next life. Sleep tight.

From Andrey 'The Small Giant' Arshavin on 606: "On the bright side, the rest of our season will be easy in comparison."

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger: "We had chances, but when you have players like Lionel Messi you pay for any mistakes you make. He's the best player in the world by a large distance. He's not always in the game, but when he gets on the ball he's unstoppable. When he changes direction at such pace no-one can stay with him. Congratulations to Barcelona, they are better than us."

BBC Radio 5 live
Ossie Ardiles on BBC Radio 5 live: "For Lionel Messi, the World Cup coming up is so, so, so important. He says he would give up all his medals for a World Cup medal and this World Cup could be how he is remembered."

Arsenal goalkeeper Manuel Almunia: "I think he's the best player I've ever faced and he's the best player in the world, yeah. It's very difficult to stop someone who has so many skills like that, who can do whatever they want with the ball."

BBC Radio 5 live
Ossie Ardiles on BBC Radio 5 live: "There are no words to describe that performance, Lionel Messi is out of this planet. He's so far ahead of everyone else on the pitch and even historically."

2153: Barcelona have now reached their 26th semi-final in European competition, drawing level with their arch rivals Real Madrid.

2151: Football League Danny: "Here's to you Mr Robinson. It finished Huddersfield 2-0 Oldham thanks to Theo Robinson's brace. Oldham had a man sent off, lost and are firmly in the relegation mixer. The Terriers are well-placed for the play-offs."

BBC Sport's David Ornstein at the Camp Nou: "Seldom will you see an entire stadium rise to applaud one team at full-time. Barcelona are roared off the pitch by their own fans, while most of the Arsenal supporters can't help but show their appreciation. There are even members of the travelling contingent chanting Messi's name as he leaves the field, I kid you not. In truth Barca cruised into the semi-finals after an early scare. Arsenal will regroup and focus on the Premier League, their last hope of preventing their trophy drought extending to five years. Arsenal fans surprisingly buoyant and they'll need to be after just being told they're be held in the top tier - where it's now very cold and windy - for another hour."

2148: I wonder what Cristiano Ronaldo's thinking. Not even close to being the best player in the world anymore, on Saturday Ronaldo and Real Madrid will welcome Lionel Messi and Barcelona to the Bernabeu for El Clasico at the top of the Spanish league. Don't forget to join us from 2030 BST for live text commentary.

Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner: "If you are going to lose a game, you want to do it by another team playing you off the pitch. We did well, but they were just too strong. Lionel is a phenomenal player and he showed it again tonight."

From Isaac, Manchester, via text to 81111: "Somehow I don't feel sick losing 4-1 to Barcelona, like I might with any other Premier League team. It feels like the universe always intended it."

2141: Holders Barcelona will now play Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan in the semi-finals of the Champions League. The first leg in Italy will take place in a couple of weeks, with the return a week after that.

BBC Radio 5 live
BBC Radio 5 live's Graham Taylor: "Diego Maradona must have seen a lot of himself in Lionel Messi, so it's difficult to understand why he doesn't use Messi in the same way as he was used for Argentina. Today we saw a very special display from a very special footballer."

Full time
2135: Full-time Barcelona 4-1 Arsenal (agg: 6-3)
Lionel Messi grabs the ball from the referee for the fourth time this calendar year and the little man is all smiles as he bounces it up and down. He hasn't just beaten Arsenal on his own, but that was almost too good to be true.

2135: Of course that's not the first time Lionel Messi scored in a game. It is the first time he has scored four in a game, though. Thanks for being so understanding.

2134: How can people leave this early? Sickening.

BBC Sport's David Ornstein at the Camp Nou: "Camp Nou already emptying by the time Lionel Messi scores his and Barcelona's fourth goal. Applause everywhere you look. Barca deserved victors. Barcelona fans bowing down to their idol in unison, stadium jumping. Incredible scenes."

2131: Into injury time. Lionel Messi is the first man to score four goals in a Champions League game since Andriy Shevchenko did it for AC Milan in 2005. He's also only the sixth man to score four in a CL game.

Barca goal: This is the first time he's scored four in a game, the little genius. Lionel Messi takes a Xavi pass 40 yards out with the Arsenal defence at sixes and sevens, he races past one challenge, gets into the box, speeds past Thomas Vermaelen, fires in a low shot that Manuel Almunia saves and then hammers the rebound through the keeper's legs. You've just watched The Lionel Messi Show.

2129: GOAL Barcelona 4-1 Arsenal (agg: 6-3)

2128: Maxwell plays a one-two with Seydou Keita and fires a shot in at the near post, forcing Manuel Almunia to make the save.

2127: Wayne Rooney's favourite player Andres Iniesta comes on for the last few minutes, replacing Pedro. The roar that greets Iniesta's arrival tells you everything.

2126: About six minutes left and it's still Barca 3-1 Arsenal, 5-3 on aggregate. Andres Iniesta is getting ready to come on.

2124: Lionel Messi shows super strength and skills to weave his way past a couple of Arsenal challenges and get into the box, before Bacary Sagna holds him off and stops him shooting. "That was Maradona and more," says Alan Green on BBC Radio 5 live.

2122: Pedro twists on to his right foot outside the Arsenal penalty box and drags his shot wide of Manuel Almunia's right-hand post. Is there a late twist to this remarkable tale?

From hawick on 606: "There's just a latent anxiety around the Nou Camp now. Barca not creating much and Arsenal having lots of possession. A goal now for the visitors would make this very interesting."

BBC Radio 5 live
BBC Radio 5 live's Graham Taylor: "Barcelona are missing a yard of pace on their movement from the first half, they've just dropped their level a bit."

2118: Gael Clichy wins the ball well from Daniel Alves on halfway and surges forward, but with passing options a touch limited the left-back fires a shot well wide from 20 yards.

From Anon, via text to 81111: "Has Xavi EVER misplaced a pass?"

2115: Arsenal bring Eduardo on for Tomas Rosicky.

2114: Nicklas Bendtner heads Gael Clichy's left-wing cross against a post from six yards - but it wouldn't have counted as the Dane had got himself offside anyway.

2113: Denilson fouls Sergio Busquets and the referee lets Lionel Messi play a quick free-kick, totally catching Arsenal out. Pedro races on to the pass but lifts the ball over Manuel Almunia and wide of the far post from outside the box.

From Aizlewood on Twitter: "Trying to stay optimistic - worth remembering Arsenal's knack for late, late goals this season..."

2110: Abou Diaby fires in a cross from the Arsenal right and it falls to Tomas Rosicky on the edge of the Barca box, but the Czech midfielder lifts it harmlessly over the crossbar.

2109: Emmanuel Eboue is shown a yellow card for shoving his hand in Sergio Busquets' face as the Arsenal man ran down the right. Bit harsh really, seemed a bit innocuous.

BBC Sport's David Ornstein at the Camp Nou: "Barca bringing on Toure has invited Arsenal forward. Bendtner dwells in front of goal, chance wasted. Wenger brings on Eboue for Silvestre and pushes Sagna in. It's all or nothing for the Gunners now but the all too apparent confidence among the home fans suggests Barca know they're heading into the last four."

2107: So Bacary Sagna is playing in the middle now with Thomas Vermaelen, but Emmanuel Eboue down the right and Gael Clichy down the left are going to get forward as often as the can when Arsenal have the ball. Just over 65 minutes gone, still Barca 3-1 up on the night, 5-3 on aggregate.

2105: Arsenal aren't doing badly this half, you know. They're knocking it around a bit more - one goal and suddenly we have got a real game on our hands again. Emmanuel Eboue comes on for Mikael Silvestre.

From Quagmire on 606: "If Arsenal want to use Walcott's pace, then I suggest that someone passes to him..."

2102: The ball bounces fortuitously for Nicklas Bendtner inside the Barcelona area, but the Dane cannot sort his feet out quickly enough and Gabby Milito gets in another well-timed challenge to avert the danger.

2100: Arsenal keep the ball for a while and the home fans don't like it at all as the ferocious whistling suggests. Manuel Almunia promptly boots it out of play and the Catalans cheer, as Eduardo goes through his paces on the touchline.

BBC Sport's David Ornstein at the Camp Nou: "Three substitutes warming up for Arsenal. Wenger clearly going to throw everything at Barca late on but the original XI have made a solid start to the second half and there's plenty of space out there. Crowd boo extra loud when Walcott collects ball; they know he's a threat. Guardiola replaces Bojan with Toure - very defensive move."

2057: Another change for Barca with only 55 minutes on the clock - striker Bojan Krkic is hauled off and midfielder Yaya Toure comes on in his place.

2056: Bojan Krkic, who has been pretty quiet tonight, plays a one-two with Pedro and volleys wide from the edge of the Arsenal 18-yard box.

From Pete, London, via text to 81111: "I seem to remember Steven Pienaar scoring a very similar goal to Messi's third also against Arsenal. Don't remember the hype."
Was it his 38th goal of the season? Did it complete a hat-trick? Pipe down

2054: Eric Abidal, who has been out for quite a while this year, trudges off with another injury, so Maxwell comes on to fill in at left-back.

2052: Our friends at Infostrada Sports have unearthed a few more bits of info about this Lionel Messi character. He's just scored the sixth hat-trick of his career. At 21 minutes, it was the fourth fastest Champions League hat-trick (behind Mike Newell, Joseba Llorente and Marco Simone) ever. He's the youngest Champions League hat-trick scorer since Wayne Rooney in 2004-05. And his 38 goals match his tally from last season. Barcelona's top goalscorer in a season was Ronaldo with 47 in 1996-97.

2050: Dani Alves sends Pedro into space down the Barca right and his cross is just too far ahead of Lionel Messi, with Manuel Almunia gathering at his near post.

2049: Barca had just under 70% of the ball in that first half and they're in the ascendancy already since the restart. Arsene Wenger stalks his technical area.

2047: We're back under way in the Camp Nou. Arsenal need to score two unanswered goals to go through to the semi-finals of the Champions League.

From jamesplayer on Twitter: "Even as a Gooner I've decided I'm not too upset or gutted, I'm just in complete awe. What a player."

2044: Almost forgot. Dear oh dear - Football League Danny: "In the rather more prosaic setting of Huddersfield's Galpharm Stadium, for Leo, read Theo. The Terriers' Theo Robinson has made it Huddersfield 1-0 Oldham at half-time. Huddersfield will be sixth, Oldham 19th if it stays the same..."

From Medieval-Evil on 606: "I do have to say how disappointed I am in the antics of some of Barcelona's players and the ref's atrocious home decision-making. But we are being beaten by the better player."

2041: Great reminder, Ian, below: On Saturday, it's the most important match of the Spanish league season as Real Madrid host Barcelona in El Clasico at the Bernabeu. It's pretty tight at the top, with both teams on a remarkable 77 points from 30 games going into the fixture. I'll bring you live text commentary from about 2030 BST, after the Premier League and FA Cup games are done and dusted.

From Ian, Wigan, via text to 81111: "Bring on Saturday night at the Bernabeu!"

2037: It's not too early to talk about Lionel Messi being one of the greatest footballers of all time, of course it's not. What's the point in being a football fan if you can't have such discussions? The memories this young man is leaving us with this season alone are simply unforgettable. He's scored 38 goals already, and some of them are beautiful beyond belief.

BBC Sport's David Ornstein at the Camp Nou: "'Messssi, Messssi' rings out around Nou Camp as the Argentine magician races through to scoop over Almunia for a first-half hat-trick. Gasps from both sets of supporters as the goal is replayed six times on the big screens. Difficult not to applaud the wonder of Messi."

Half time
2032: Half-time Barcelona 3-1 Arsenal (agg: 5-3)
Strange half of football. I mean Barca's performance wasn't anything like as good as last week's, but they find themselves on the brink of the semi-finals after a hat-trick from the imperious Lionel Messi.

2029: Lionel Messi has now scored four hat-tricks in 2010. He's like the new Dixie Dean, or Jimmy Greaves. I wonder if he's heard of those boys.

Barca goal: 98,000 people are bowing to Lionel Messi, and you couldn't blame the Arsenal fans for joining in. The Gunners give the ball away on halfway and Seydou Keita heads it forward for Messi, who is suddenly racing away, clean through. When Manuel Almunia comes out to meet him, the world's finest footballer chips gloriously over the Spanish goalkeeper. He's astonishing.

2026: GOAL Barcelona 3-1 Arsenal (agg: 5-3)

2024: Infostrada Sports, take a bow: Lionel Messi has scored in 83 Barcelona games and they have only ever lost one - 4-3 against Atletico Madrid on 1 March, 2009.

Barca goal: At first it looks like bad defending, but Arsenal have been a bit unlucky. Lionel Messi plays a fabulous pass down the left to Eric Abidal and his low cross along the six-yard box is half-cleared by Thomas Vermaelen, but only to Pedro, who lays it off to Messi, the Argentine racing past a flat-footed Mikael Silvestre and coolly lifting it over Manuel Almunia from eight yards.

2021: GOAL Barcelona 2-1 Arsenal (agg: 4-3)

2021: Fabulous early ball into the box from Daniel Alves down the right, but Thomas Vermaelen gets in a brilliant block to prevent Bojan Krkic sliding it home.

BBC Sport's David Ornstein at the Camp Nou: "Who said Arsenal had nothing to lose? Arsene Wenger is doing a superb impression of Basil Fawlty right now, his anger with the referee almost uncontrollable. He's dancing around the technical area with rage. Walcott cynically fouled during a counter-attack, no booking. Messi cleanly tackled, booking for Nasri. Barca fans enraptured by Messi's skills at present."

2017: Lionel Messi dances into the Arsenal box from his familiar starting position out on the right, turns inside Mikael Silvestre and fires a shot into the side-netting. He's in the mood, to be fair to the World Football of the Year.

2016: Daniel Alves tries his luck with a 30-yard free-kick, but Manuel Almunia gets his body behind it.

Yellow card
2015: Denilson is booked very, very harshly for winning the ball from Lionel Messi after the Argentine had skipped past three or four Arsenal players. Silly refereeing from Wolfgang Stark.

2014: Theo Walcott races past Sergio Busquets and the Barca midfielder, who has been lavished with some ridiculous praise in the past week, is unbelievably lucky to escape a yellow card.

2013: We're approaching half an hour gone already in Catalonia, it's absolutely flying by this one. Barcelona 1-1 Arsenal, 3-3 on aggregate.

From Riquelminho on 606: "I'm supporting Arsenal. Barca are such a one-man team it's unreal. And I thought we relied on Rooney too much. Sheesh."

BBC Sport's David Ornstein at the Camp Nou: "Barcelona fans getting extremely frustrated with Arsenal's fairly persistent fouling. Their mood dampens when Nicklas Bendtner opens the scoring but the noise is deafening as Lionel Messi levels. What a match we have in store. Arsenal fans furious with Mikael Silvestre after Messi's equaliser. Camp Nou now a cauldron of noise."

2008: It's being played at one million miles per hour, this, an astonishing pace to the game. We're 3-3 on aggregate, and as it stands Barcelona are still going through.

Barca goal: Think of every superlative imaginable, and you're still miles away. Lionel Messi conjures an immediate response, hammering in a fierce left-foot shot from 20 yards into the top left-hand corner of Manuel Almunia's net. To be fair it was preventable, as the ball fell back to Messi courtesy of a terrible bit of miscontrol from Mikael Silvestre. This is wonderful.

2005: GOAL Barcelona 1-1 Arsenal (agg: 3-3)

Arsenal goal: Controversial, but who cares? Abou Diaby appears to commit a foul on halfway, but referee Wolfgang Stark waves play on. Diaby sends Theo Walcott through and they can't catch him - he tees up Nicklas Bendtner, who has done really well to keep up with Walcott, and the Dane's first shot is saved by Victor Valdes before he keeps his cool to poke in the rebound. GAME. ON.

2003: GOAL Barcelona 0-1 Arsenal (agg: 2-3)

2001: Samir Nasri needs a bit of treatment after a heavy - but fair - challenge from Gabriel Milito inside the Barca half. Let's hope the Frenchman is OK, Arsenal could do without yet another injury problem.

From WhoaSriLawi on Twitter: "Messi looking awfully ominous so far. All he needs is a yard..."

BBC Sport's David Ornstein at the Camp Nou: "Arsenal fans fairly pleased with their side's start. A million miles off the start they made in last Wednesday's first leg. Travelling supporters singing their hearts out but it's futile - they're up in the heavens in tier three of the Camp Nou, from where the pitch resembles a match box."

1957: Another warning shot. The balls breaks to Lionel Messi 22 yards out and after a touch to move it into space, his left-foot curler arcs towards the top corner, eventually flying over only an inch or two too high.

1956: Bojan down the right finds Pedro just inside the Arsenal area, but the 22-year-old turns and fires tamely wide with team-mates in decent positions.

1955: Remember, away goals count after 90 minutes. So if it stays like this, Barcelona will go through. But if it's 3-3, then the Gunners progress. A 2-2 is the only way we can get to extra-time and penalties tonight.

From darkanddom on 606: "So far so good... we need to close them down sooner, though. Giving them too much room to line up shots."

1950: Tomas Rosicky goes down under a heavy shoulder-to-shoulder with Rafael Marquez on the edge of the Barca box, but Wolfgang Stark surprisingly waves play on. That would have been a perfect position to take a free-kick from.

1949: Lionel Messi fires in a warning shot from the left-hand corner of the 18-yard box, the Argentine's fizzing effort tipped behind by Manuel Almunia.

1948: First half-attempt of the evening comes from a Xavi backheel which flies comfortably wide after Eric Abidal's cross from the Barca left.

1947: My mate Pearlo, who is a Spurs fan, reckons tonight might just be redemption night for Thierry Henry. The Frenchman sits on the bench, waiting for his chance, as his team-mates knock the ball around the giant Camp Nou pitch.

1945: In the most eagerly-anticipated football match of this season, we are under way in Barcelona.

1943: The players shake hands and the Arsenal ones get booed by large sections of the Catalan crowd. The camera just panned to Johan Cruyff, who is at least partly responsible for the stunning football this Barcelona team plays.

1942: The teams are out. Arsenal fans, are you still breathing OK? What a spectacle the Camp Nou is.

1941: Shorn of the services of £60m duck-breaking hitman Zlatan Ibrahimovic due to injury, the goalscoring onus falls upon Bojan Krkic for the holders Barcelona. Still a teenager despite having been in and around the first team for the best part of three years, Krkic bagged a brace at the weekend and will be hoping for more on what could turn out to be the most important night of his precocious young life.

From Craig, London, via text to 81111: "Come on Arsenal! Any team wanting to win the CL at the moment will have to beat Barca so let's make it our year!"

BBC Sport's David Ornstein at the Camp Nou: "The hosts headed back into the dressing room about 15 minutes before kick-off. Arsenal were still out on the pitch warming up. The Gunners fans spent much of the day singing Emmanuel Eboue's name in the Port Olympic fan fest but he's not in the starting XI and the disappointment at that decision is quite widespread among the travelling contingent."

1935: All going off tonight. Football League Danny: "Even I admit tonight's domestic programme is a bit overshadowed by Barcelona v Arsenal (or, to save time, Barsenal). Nonetheless, it's a decent League One clash as Huddersfield host Oldham with both sides desperate for a win - the hosts want the play-offs, the visitors are fighting relegation."

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: "We want to start stronger than last week, stay strong and finish stronger than we started. We will try to dictate the pace, but it's difficult to predict what might happen. Either we've learned from last week or we'll be a little inhibited. But I think we have belief. In a one-off game, it's possible to beat a great team."

1931: Gunners, take heart. Barca haven't won any of their last five meetings at the Camp Nou with English sides, drawing four and losing one. They also haven't won a Champions League game refereed by Wolfgang Stark, with three draws and a defeat, while Arsenal have won all three of their Stark-officiated games in Europe. Omen?

From ujuice on Twitter: "Am dreaming of a 3-3 tonight with Theo scoring two goals and sealing his World Cup place. Come on Arsenal."

1926: Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola, not for the first time, has done his homework: apparently, Arsenal flier Theo Walcott can run the 100 metres in 10.37 seconds. But here's the biggest challenge for the Gunners tonight: can they win the ball enough to get Walcott into positions where he can hurt Barca?

1923: So, Barcelona make four changes from the first leg, with Eric Abidal replacing Maxwell in a bid to cope with Theo Walcott's pace and Gabriel Milito and Rafael Marquez called into the centre of defence as both Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique are suspended. Zlatan Ibrohimovic's calf problem means he does not get the chance to add to his first-leg double, with Bojan Krkic preferred to Thierry Henry in his absence. Walcott's reward for his match-changing cameo at the Emirates is a starting place for the second leg, one of four Arsenal changes. Mikael Silvestre comes in at centre-back and Denilson and Tomas Rosicky start in midfield in place of the injured Alex Song and Cesc Fabregas.

Full time
1920: Full-time CSKA Moscow 0-1 Inter Milan (agg: 0-2)
Whoever wins out of Barcelona and Arsenal will meet Jose Mourinho and Inter Milan in the semis after a two-legged performance of such dominance it defied belief at times. It was just never a contest, either in Italy or in Russia.

1918: Into injury time in the Luzhniki and thankfully there will only be two minutes of it.

1916: Samuel Eto'o is desperate for a goal in Moscow and he almost gets one, only for Sergei Ignashevich to make a quite brilliant last-ditch challenge.

From Im_partial on 606: "Another joke of a free kick from CSKA. They've been so poor tonight, I guess they were overawed by the Inter players who have been in complete control throughout this match. Wonder who Mourinho will prefer to face in the semi-final?"
Um, is that a serious question?

1913: CSKA's shooting has been rubbish. Don't expect to see them in the Champions League for a while, by the way - they finished fifth in the Russian league last season, so they won't be in it next term.

BBC Radio 5 live
BBC Radio 5 live's Graham Taylor: "If Arsenal do not approach the game with a positive frame of mind, then we will see what many people are expecting to see - a match totally dominated by Barcelona."

1910: Into the last 10 minutes in Moscow, mercifully. Jose looks almost as bored as everyone else, but he's probably delighted inside. Internazionale are cruising into the Champions League semi-finals.

1908: Our friends at Infostrada Sports (really, we are friends. In a new-age, t'interweb sort of way) have been super busy. Apparently, in all the times that the first leg of a two-legged Champions League tie has finished 2-2, the away team (so Barca in this instance) has progressed 83.7% of the time. Uh-oh.

From Richard, London, via text to 81111: "Anyone else thinking that the Barca teamsheet looks ordinary? Barring Alves, the defenders are terrible, and barring Messi and Xavi, the attacking unit is less than good. Bojan is not good enough at all. I really think Arsenal could win this."

1903: News just in: Ian Poulter quit after nine holes of practice for The Masters at Augusta on Tuesday - but it was all planned. Poulter is a huge Arsenal fan and was off the course in time to see the entire second leg against Barcelona.

1901: Diego Milito has a shot saved from close-range by Igor Akinfeev, as Mario Balotelli warms up menacingly on the touchline. He eventually replaces the Argentine hitman.

From JamieCutteridge on Twitter: "Bojan starts ahead of Henry. Interesting, very young front three of Messi, Pedro and Bojan, plenty of excitement to come from them."

1857: Toying with them now, the Italians, as they play keep-ball before Dejan Stankovic's 30-yard piledriver is acrobatically tipped away by Igor Akinfeev. It's like a walk in the park.

1855: Still CSKA Moscow 0-1 Inter Milan. There are cheers in the office as we lose pictures from Russia momentarily. It's been that disappointing.

1854: Full Barcelona v Arsenal line-ups:
Valdes, Dani Alves, Marquez, Milito, Abidal, Busquets, Xavi, Keita, Pedro, Bojan, Messi.
Subs: Pinto, Iniesta, Henry, Maxwell, Toure Yaya, Fontas, Jeffren.
Arsenal: Almunia, Sagna, Vermaelen, Silvestre, Clichy, Denilson, Diaby, Walcott, Nasri, Rosicky, Bendtner.
Subs: Fabianski, Eduardo, Eboue, Traore, Campbell, Merida, Eastmond.
Referee: Wolfgang Stark (Germany)

From ArsenalArseneArshavin on 606: "Why do people think starting the game with Silvestre is stupid? It's not like we have a choice is it? Campbell not ready for tonight and Gallas and Djourou are already out. We are forced to start with Silvestre."

1848: Deividas Semberas's cross evades everyone and comes to Mark Gonzalez, whose well-struck half-volley is collected by Julio Cesar.

1848: Yep, Andres Iniesta is on the bench for Barca, alongside Arsenal legend Thierry Henry.

1847: Barcelona team: Valdes, Dani Alves, Abidal, Marquez, Milito, Busquets, Keita, Xavi, Pedro, Messi, Bojan.

1846: Arsenal team: Almunial, Sagna, Clichy, Silvestre, Vermaelen, Diaby, Denilson, Nasri, Rosicky, Walcott, Bendtner.

1845: Breaking news: Mikael Silvestre and Theo Walcott start for Arsenal in Barcelona. There's an hour to go. How can life get this exciting?

1844: Great add to 1841: Louis van Gaal will equal Jose on Wednesday if Bayern Munich beat Manchester United.

1842: Pictures from the Camp Nou of the Arsenal squad rocking into the stadium are beamed around the world. In Moscow, a CSKA player takes a tumble in the Inter box, but nothing doing there.

1841: Infostrada Sports reckon Jose Mourinho is on the brink of becoming the first man to lead three different clubs into the semi-finals of the Champions League. Maybe that'll raise a smile?

1838: Chidi Odiah gets a pat on the back from his coach Leonid Slutsky as he trudges off. Hmm. Inter could win this 4-0 now if they can be bothered.

Red card
1837: SENDING OFF (Chidi Odiah, CSKA)
How stupid can you be? The Nigerian, who was booked in the first half, slides in on the halfway line on Samuel Eto'o, gets nowhere near the ball and takes the Cameroonian out. Referee Stephane Lannoy has no choice but to show him a second yellow and send him off.

From Teddy in Barcelona, via text to +44 7786200666: "Well Stevo, I'm at my hotel afraid to leave the room in my Arsenal shirt - not because of hostility, rather embarrassment... this really could be a drubbing. However, we shall leave Spain with our heads held high, whether it be a loss or win, knowing we have just played the best team in the world. In Arsene We Trust."
Nice sentiment (eventually). Now leave your room and get stuck in.

1834: Inter will let CSKA have plenty of the ball, expecting that they won't be able to really hurt them. A cross from the right is glanced wide by Tomas Necid.

1833: In the absence of a contest in Moscow (cue to quick CSKA goals, hopefully), you wouldn't mind if the chat was dominated by Barca-Arsenal, would you? Oh, they've kicked off again in the Luzhniki, arguably incidentally, after Jose is booed.

1828: Hey Arsenal fans, you feeling nervous? Just over an hour now until your brave boys will walk past the chapel inside the Camp Nou and walk out in front of 98,000 supporters for arguably the biggest match of most of their lives.

From optajoe on Twitter: "Before tonight, CSKA had conceded the first goal in three of their four CL games at home, but had lost just one of them (v Man Utd). Comeback?"

From JGardiner on 606: "So... seems like a fairly good day for away sides so far..."

From Chelsea fan Holly, via text to 81111: "Well Stevo, I hope tonight's Arselona showdown (it'll catch on) is as good as last week's epic! Must confess I really want Arsenal to win this. I feel like I'm cheating on a partner. Best of luck Gunners!!"

Half time
1816: Half-time CSKA Moscow 0-1 Inter Milan (agg: 0-2)
I would put an awful lot of money on Jose Mourinho's side reaching the last four, were I a betting man. There's no coming back from this for the Russians.

1814: CSKA have been reduced to hitting shots from long range and this one's not bad, Chidi Odiah hammering in left-footed from fully 30 yards, his swerving effort forcing Julio Cesar to tip around his post at full stretch. Good save, too.

1812: Barcelona v Arsenal will make up for this. I mean, that one can't possibly be a rubbish match...

1810: A CSKA goal before half-time and it might threaten to get interesting. But the Italians look so dangerous on the break, you can easily see them scoring again. And then the Russians would need four.

1808: Two whipped Mark Gonzalez crosses from the CSKA right are brilliantly headed away by the Inter defence, who might not be impregnable but aren't in the mood to concede three goals tonight. Chidi Odiah is booked for a mis-timed challenge on the brilliant Wesley Sneijder.

From Logos on 606: "Does anyone like playing on artificial pitches? I think they're pretty good if you're on a good quality one. Does hurt to slide, though fortunately I am rubbish at tackling anyway."

1804: Pavel Mamaev gets his contender in early for scuffed shot of the season award, totally miscuing his left-foot effort from an angle 10 yards out. Up the other end, and Diego Milito's low shot from 12 yards is saved by the legs of Igor Akinfeev.

1804: Just over 10 minutes to go until half-time and it's still CSKA 0-1 Inter, so 2-0 to the Italians on aggregate. The Moscow team need three goals to progress.

1802: CSKA look like they are paying the Inter players too much respect. Jose isn't, as he storms to the edge of his technical area and slaughters one of them for giving the ball away. Maybe the hosts know that no Russian team has reached the last four of this competition since Spartak Moscow in 1991.

From brasseye on Twitter: "The absolute perfect start for Inter. This Mourinho guy really should start blowing his own trumpet more."

1756: ... Haha. Keisuke Honda takes a backseat as Mark Gonzalez takes aim and spanks his own rubbish left-footed effort miles over and wide. Useless.

1755: CSKA have a free-kick 35 yards out. If Keisuke Honda shoots, I won't be held responsible for my actions...

1753: Agonising. Great build-up from the Russians and Tomas Necid takes a fabulous touch on the edge of the Inter box before crashing in a low drive that flies inches wide of Julio Cesar's right-hand post with the Brazilian beaten. That would have made it interesting.

1751: Inter are bossing it - and unless CSKA rapidly improve, this tie is horribly over. Maybe Jose will even smile at the end.

From henrywinter on Twitter: "At Camp Nou. Pitch good, groundsman painting lines. Given Barca obsession with Theo's pace it's surprising they're not putting speed camera in."

1747: Ridiculous. Keisuke Honda has just smashed two free-kicks - one from 40 yards, one from 35 yards - miles away from Julio Cesar's goal. I mean, does he even know who Julio Cesar is? Someone needs to have a word.

From Richard in Cwmbran, via text to 81111: "Arsenal can't win tonight. Barca will paralyze them both in attack and defence. They're better all over the pitch. So why does a little part of me fancy the Gunners?"

1744: With less than 14 minutes gone, CSKA make a change as Nigerian defender Chidi Odiah comes on for Vasily Berezutsky.

1742: Don't forget - the winners of CSKA Moscow v Inter Milan will play the winners of Barcelona v Arsenal in the semi-finals, with the first leg (in either Italy or Russia) due in a couple of weeks' time. If Barca beat Arsenal, Infostrada tell us, it'll be the first time since 2003/04 (FC Porto, Chelsea, Monaco, Deportivo) that teams from four different countries will be in the Champs League semis.

From Ebrahim on 606: "Game, set, match. Inter the first team into the last four."

Inter goal: Shocking goal to concede - and it gives CSKA an absolute mountain to climb. Inter have a free-kick 25 yards out, right of centre, and Wesley Sneijder slams it goalwards. It's low, and the wall jumps as it goes through Keisuke Honda's legs and swerves past Igor Akinfeev, who stuck his left leg out to try and save it. Not very good defending, not very good goalkeeping.

1736: GOAL CSKA Moscow 0-1 Inter Milan (agg: 0-2)

From ojl on Twitter: "The answer to your question is surely "no". You only have to look one year back to find a better team: Barcelona with Eto'o."

1734: How lucky are Brazil to have Maicon and Daniel Alves to pick from at right-back? The Inter man goes marauding down the wing but his cross is blocked before it can reach Samuel Eto'o.

1733: Jose's been furious for days now. Here's his take on the plastic fantastic: "With the synthetic pitch we have all the disadvantages. If the Champions League began with 31 teams who play on natural grass and one who plays on a synthetic pitch, have the 31 teams made a mistake or instead is it CSKA?"

1731: Lively opening from the hosts, with Tomas Necid laying the ball off on the edge of the box and Keisuke Honda slamming a left-foot shot a couple of yards wide. Jose's off the bench already.

1730: Bang on time we're under way in Russia, with French referee Stephane Lannoy blowing the whistle.

1727: The teams are out in Moscow, led by their captains Igor Akinfeev and Javier Zanetti.

Jose Mourinho at Inter's pre-match news conference
Come on Jose, give us a smile
1725: CSKA Moscow v Inter Milan: Stay tuned for a full build-up of Barcelona v Arsenal, but it kicks off on the plastic pitch at the Luzhniki Stadium in 10 minutes, so lots to talk about there too - including Inter coach Jose Mourinho's amazing pre-match comments after CSKA's scheduled league game against Zenit St Petersburg at the weekend was cancelled for security reasons following the double Moscow suicide bombings last week: "CSKA have already done something to win - they didn't play on Saturday," said Mourinho. "They used a slightly sad excuse but they did it well. Of course they could just have told the truth. Would I coach in Russia? Only for CSKA, because they have the ability to reschedule matches as they want."

From Anon, via text to 81111: "Arsenal will create chances, let's hope they can put them away. Also tonight is the night where Nasri books his flight to SA."

1720: Stevo's Predos:
CSKA Moscow 1-1 Inter Milan
Barcelona 4-2 Arsenal

1716: I'm so pumped about what's in store I keep needing the toilet. If you're bursting with excitement and have to drop me a wee line, here's how: thumb me a missive to 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide); Twitter me up @Stevo_football; and join in the fun on the fans' thread the players read* on 606.
* I'd be hugely surprised if they do. But you never know.

1712: CSKA Moscow, who had the benefit of a rest at the weekend after their league game against Zenit St Petersburg was postponed, are without suspended midfielders Milos Krasic and Yevgeny Aldonin, so Alan Dzagoev and fit-again winger Mark Gonzalez slot in. Key Inter Milan midfielder Wesley Sneijder passed a late fitness test on his ankle injury so the only change to Jose Mourinho's side from the first leg sees Lucio return after suspension to replace Marco Materazzi. Thiago Motta, who was also suspended for the first leg, does not make the squad despite scoring twice in the weekend win over Bologna. Temperamental striker Mario Balotelli is on the bench.

1709: CSKA Moscow v Inter Milan line-ups:
CSKA Moscow:
Akinfeev, Alexei Berezutsky, Vasili Berezutsky, Ignashevich, Shchennikov, Honda, Semberas, Mamaev, Dzagoev, Gonzalez, Necid.
Subs: Chepchugov, Nababkin, Odiah, Guilherme, Piliev, Rahimic, Oliseh.
Inter Milan: Julio Cesar, Maicon, Samuel, Lucio, Zanetti, Cambiasso, Sneijder, Stankovic, Eto'o, Milito, Pandev.
Subs: Orlandoni, Cordoba, Quaresma, Muntari, Materazzi, Chivu, Balotelli.
Referee: Stephane Lannoy (France)

1706: There are two games tonight, and two berths in the semi-finals of the Champions League at stake in Barcelona and Moscow, two of Europe's great cities. Here's when it will unfold:
1730 BST: CSKA Moscow v Inter Milan
1945 BST: Barcelona v Arsenal

1700: Questions: is this Barcelona side the greatest football team of all time? And whether they are or not, can an injury-ravaged Arsenal really dump them out of the Champions League in the Camp Nou?

FC Barcelona
Top: Marquez, Ibrahimovic, Yaya Toure, Sergio Busquets, Pique, Victor Valdes Bottom: Lionel Messi, Maxwell, Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Carles Puyol

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Champions League results

6 Apr 2010 23:59 UK

see also
Champions League photos
06 Apr 10 |  Europe
Arsenal 2-2 Barcelona
31 Mar 10 |  Europe
Inter Milan 1-0 CSKA Moscow
31 Mar 10 |  Europe
Football on the BBC
11 Aug 10 |  Football

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