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Page last updated at 21:26 GMT, Tuesday, 12 April 2011 22:26 UK

Tuesday football as it happened


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By Sam Lyon

2220: So Man Utd reach the Champions League semi-finals for the seventh time in their history with that defeat of Chelsea - one short of Barcelona, the night's other European success story following their cruise past Shakhtar. What odds on Tottenham joining them? Well, not good. Real Madrid, 4-0 up from the first leg, are 1-100 to see off the Londoners and reach the last four - but Harry Redknapp hasn't earned the nickname 'Houdini' for nothing, and I wouldn't write Spurs off just yet. Jonathan Stevenson is back in the chair to talk you through a potential stormer tomorrow, as well as all the chat from Schalke-Inter, of course, while I - Sam Lyon - will join you again at the weekend for Premier League and FA Cup semi-final action. The hits just keep on coming don't they? Until then, see ya!

danmckinnon on Twitter: "Drogba will be gone in the summer. Expect Kalou and Anelka to go too. Torres and Sturridge up front for Chelsea next year."

James via text: "Whatever anyone says, we need stability, keep Ancelotti. Roman must not meddle with the management again after Wilkins saga."

SamadGigii on Twitter: "As a Man Utd fan, if I could have any non-United striker it would be Drogba. Why he doesn't start for Chelsea is beyond me..."

2217: MAN UTD 2-1 CHELSEA (agg 3-1)
Chief football writer Phil McNulty at Old Trafford:
"Man Utd seal their place in the Champions League semi-final and will have high hopes of making it a Wembley date in the final next month. What now, though, for Chelsea and manager Carlo Ancelotti? Will that ill-fated decision to favour Fernando Torres ahead of Didier Drogba in attack start the credits swiftly rolling on his Chelsea reign?"

2214: SHAKHTAR 0-1 BARCELONA (agg 1-6)
Jonathan Stevenson reports:
"Champions League quarter-final masterclass complete, Barca now turn their attention to a possible four Clasicos against Real Madrid in the next three weeks. If your mouth isn't already watering, there's something wrong with you."

2211: Let's see what our match reports made of tonight then...

2208: Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti on Sky Sports 2: "When we had good control of the game we were unable to score. We did well when we had 10 men but we were unable to score again. Manchester United deserved to win. Drogba played a fantastic second half using power and strength - he did well. [But] we have to believe and have patience in Torres and have faith that he will improve. It will be difficult to pick the players up but we have to move on and look forward to the next game."

fakefifthdriver on Twitter: "Will Torres be Ancelotti's downfall as Shevchenko was Mourinho's?"

kkartic on Twitter: "We were not good enough - season over. Time for a mass clear-out, all the creaking bones out and, dare I say, John Terry too."

2200: Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson on Sky Sports 2: "It was a very very good performance against a very good Chelsea side. Chelsea played a big part in the game and they really had a go at 1-0 down. But Drogba's goal was a cheap goal for us to concede so I was delighted that we got that break when Park Ji-sung scored. Tonight's game was a great advert for the Premier League - and I think it showed English teams always do well in Europe now because of the quality of the Premier League. I think we've hit our form now, I don't think there's any doubt about that."

nycfreed on Twitter: "After doing a tremendous job at Brighton, any odds on Gus Poyet for next Chelsea manager?"

Lee, a depressed Chelsea fan in Bristol via text: "Ancelotti hasn't got a 'Kalou'. Bad substitutes, and bad decision to not start Drogba."

Der_Wanderfalke on Twitter: "Well done to Brighton. Gus Poyet has done a fantastic job there."

2153: Man Utd winger Ryan Giggs on Sky Sports 2: "It was a tough game tonight. We expected they would come at us. We knew we had to try to score as well. We played well down there and had a good game plan. Tonight we scored a couple of great goals. My job in the centre was made easier with Michael Carrick next to me, who had a fantastic two games. It's easier as you get older because you pick your moments."

2150: Anyone fancy checking Ryan Giggs' passport for us please? After strolling imperiously through two legs of Champions League quarter-final football, there's no way the Welshman can really be 37 as he claims, right? Performances almost as impressive as his chest hair from the midfielder.

Football League Macca: "Forest ensure a much-needed win with a late second through David McGoldrick at home to Burnley and their play-off push is back on. QPR edge closer to promotion, Cardiff move into second, Reading continue to fly but Norwich, Swansea and Leeds all slip up. No goals at Millwall but they finish with 10 men as Steve Morison is sent off for serious foul play late on."

WeBeGreater on Twitter: "Magic Number - QPR need just six points to guarantee top spot in Championship."

Lenny via text: "So Spurs are only London side left in CL! What were the odds for that a year ago?"
I might make the most of the next 22 hours if I were you mate.

joeliomendez93 on Twitter: "The next thing Carlo Ancelotti will be signing is a P45."

BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at the Withdean Stadium:
"A thrilling match ends Brighton 4-3 Dagenham & Redbridge. Albion are up and appeals asking fans not to invade the pitch are very much ignored."

AloysiusTeo on Twitter: "Rooney - what a performance. Dropping deep, precise cross-field passes, held possession when needed... Simply brilliant."

2140: We have two halves of our Champions League semi-finals, then. Man Utd will go on to face either Schalke or Inter Milan, with the former leading 5-2 from the first leg, while Barcelona will play Real Madrid or Tottenham, who need an absolute miracle to overturn a 4-0 first-leg deficit. As for Chelsea, it's another quarter-final exit for them. Penny for Roman Abramovich's thoughts anyone?

Full time
2136: FULL-TIME Shakhar 0-1 Barcelona (agg 1-6)

rish_vrma on Twitter: "Taxi for Ancelotti, anyone?"

Full time
2135: FULL-TIME Man Utd 2-1 Chelsea (agg 3-1)

2134: Why not I suppose? Wayne Rooney, looking to stick the hundreds and thousands on top of the cherry on top of the cake, tries to catch Petr Cech off his line with a shot from inside his own half - the Chelsea keeper just about getting back in time to save.

2131: We'll have three minutes of stoppage time at Old Trafford.

2130: The seconds ticking down not only on this match but possibly Chelsea's season - Frank Lampard skewing a header wide from a Didier Drogba cross the only sign that the Blues are not done and dusted in this tie.

BBC Sport's Pete Shuttleworth at Bramall Lane: "Another goal, another on-loan Premier League striker scores as high-flying Cardiff City highlight their clinical edge at Bramall Lane to devastating effect to go 2-0 up. Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, borrowed from Arsenal, scores as the Bluebirds enhance their promotion push by plunging the Championship's bottom club Sheffield United deeper into the mire."

2128: Save! With Chelsea giving it one last push at Old Trafford, Florent Malouda pings a stinging effort at goal that Edwin van der Sar does excellently to palm away on the stretch low to his left. Top stop.

2127: One man who has yet to give up the Chelsea dream is Didier Drogba - what might Chelsea have achieved had the Ivorian, impressive since his half-time introduction, started? The big striker's latest effort, on the back of a bustling run, is held well by Edwin van der Sar.

Football League Macca: "The goals are flowing still in the Championship and Norwich have levelled at Watford, 2-2, while Hull have pegged back Swansea, 1-1. Ipswich have bettered that with two quick goals and it's 3-3 against Boro now. Forest have finally breached the defence of 10-man Burnley to lead 1-0. Pompey's Hayden Mullins received his marching orders for a handball and Marlon King banged in the resulting penalty to make it 3-0 to Coventry. No comebacks there, probably. Doncaster and Preston have traded quick goals. 1-1 there. Bury are winning 1-0 against Burton."

2124: Man Utd totally bossing this now, the life sucked out of Chelsea like a popped balloon following that Park Ji-sung strike.

Chief football writer Phil McNulty at Old Trafford: "The swings in football's emotions summed up in a moment. Didier Drogba, who has been a real threat since he came on, gives Chelsea and their fans hope with an equaliser but Ji-Sung Park restores Manchester United's lead almost instantly. United's supporters, suddenly anxious, now see the semi-final in sight."

Man Utd goal: What a response that is from the boys in red - and Chelsea's unlikely comeback is over almost before its begun. Wayne Rooney and Ryan Giggs are involved on the right, the latter's cross finding Park Ji-sung unmarked, the South Korean slamming a low shot into the corner. Game over, again?

2119: GOALFLASH Man Utd 2-1 Chelsea (agg 3-1) (Park)

Chelsea goal: Hold the phone, game on at Old Trafford? Michael Essien's clipped pass over the top is a delight and Didier Drogba's control and finish - with his chest and then right-footed under Edwin van der Sar - even better. Can 10-man Chelsea turn this around yet?

2117: GOALFLASH Man Utd 1-1 Chelsea (agg 2-1) (Drogba)

2116: The tie is over in Ukraine, but Barcelona keeper Victor Valdes will not let Shakhtar score - he pulls off a stunning one-handed save to keep out Henrik Mkhitaryan's drive and keep the Catalans 1-0 ahead on the night, 6-1 in front on aggregate. That's just a bit mean if you ask me.

2115: What fight left in Chelsea now? They have 15 minutes to find two goals, a man down. Judging by the Old Trafford crowd, Man Utd are already in the Champions League semis.

BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at the Withdean Stadium: ""Another twist in this rollercoaster ride of a match and Brighton sub Ashley Barnes heads his team in front. It is 4-3 now and promotion is back on - as things stand."

Red card
Chelsea red card: Not what Chelsea needed. At all. Already on a yellow card, Ramires goes through the back of Nani and referee thingymajig has no hesitation in producing a second booking and then a red. Chelsea's mission improbable just edged nearer mission impossible.

2112: RED CARD, Ramires, CHELSEA

2111: Oh it should be game over for sure now - Wayne Rooney's wonderful approach play down the right ending with a cross right on to the head of the unmarked Ryan Giggs in the Chelsea box, but the Welshman fumbling his effort and allowing Petr Cech to make a save.

Football League Macca: "Reading lead at Scunthorpe with two quick goals from Shane Long and an Ian Harte penalty for the red-hot Royals. Leeds had took the lead at Derby through Max Gradel but the Rams responded with goals from Jamie Ward and Ben Davies to take a 2-1 lead. Swansea are in front at Hull thanks to Mark Gower, Middlesbrough have given themselves some breathing space at Ipswich with Andrew Taylor putting them 3-1 up, as have Coventry with a second at Pompey, while Leicester have levelled against Palace. Yeovil are 2-1 up against Notts County and it's Walsall 3-2 Brentford."

2109: And that was almost tie over - Petr Cech just about scrambling Nani's low long-ranger around the Chelsea post. Close.

2107: Chelsea doing their darndest to get back into this tie at Old Trafford, but with Man Utd ensuring the midfield is tigher than a fat man's hatband they're just getting a touch frustrated.

BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at the Withdean Stadium: "This is turning into a very memorable match. A rasping long-range strike from Liam Bridcutt flies into the top corner. Brighton 3-3 Daggers - and Albion are now one goal away from promotion."

2102: Chelsea change - Salomon Kalou, looking about as fired up as an ice lolly, coming on for Nicolas Anelka.

2101: And now Edwin van der Sar is called into action, the Dutchman palming Didier Drogba's cross-come-shot from a free-kick away from danger. Drogba definitely looking a darn sight more dangerous for Chelsea than Fernando Torres.

BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at the Withdean Stadium: "Interesting. Jon Nurse's strike deflects off Inigo Calderon to level for Dagenham & Redbridge. Then John Akinde is fouled in the area and Danny Green steps up to put Daggers in front again. Put that Brighton champagne back on ice."

2059: Wonderful save in Ukraine as Andriy Pyatov keeps Shakhtar just the five goals behind, the home keeper getting down brilliantly to his left to palm Ibrahim Afallay's goalbound curler away. Dani Alves drills the follow-up inches wide.

2058: Didier Drogba gets his first real effort of note in on goal, but despite a good turn on the edge of the box his left-foot shot skims past the far post.

2057: Predictably quiet in Ukraine, where Barcelona - who are quite good at keeping the ball, FYI - are passing the spirit and belief right out of Shakhtar's system.

2055: Ooh, Javier Hernandez gets up to just get a touch on Ryan Giggs' swinging free-kick inside the area - it flies way off target, and had he not got a touch I think Nemanja Vidic behind him would've had a free header.

Chief football writer Phil McNulty at Old Trafford: "Fernando Torres' Chelsea career has hit a desperate low with his removal at half-time. Doesn't say a lot for Carlo Ancelotti's team selection either as Torres failed to back his manager's faith. Some story as Didier Drogba tries to rescue this Champions League quarter-final."

2052: And now Florent Malouda volleys a stinging shot wide of the same upright from outside the area. A Chelsea goal here would certainly put the pussy among the pigeons.

2051: Half-decent effort from Chelsea, Frank Lampard's effort from 20 yards after cutting in from the left slipping tamely past Edwin van der Sar's near post.

2049: Man Utd defender Rio Ferdinand still doesn't look comfortable with the leg problem that was troubling him earlier, you know.

2047: We've restarted, too, in Ukraine, Shakhtar 0-1 Barcelona (agg 1-6).

2046: Back under way at Old Trafford, Didier Drogba on for his 300th Chelsea game - Fernando Torres the man replaced. Man Utd 1-0 Chelsea (agg 2-0)

RobbieMathias on Twitter: "United doing what they do best - outplayed for large parts but lethal in the final third."

Jared via text: "Sir Alex needs Scholes on, experience and stability. Why keep the worlds best player on the bench anyway?"

mUtEl0_PR on Twitter: "The £6m paid for "Lil Pea" [Javier Hernandez] in this day and age - that should be classed as a free transfer."

2042: Guess who's warming up for Chelsea during the half-time break? Only Didier Drogba. Fernando Torres, your time would appear to be up...

BBC Sport's Pete Shuttleworth at Bramall Lane: "Cardiff are benefitting from the Craig Bellamy show here at Bramall Lane as the Wales striker in running bottom club Sheffield United ragged. His drive, work-rate and enthusiasm is inspiring his promotion hopefuls and had created two great chances as well as his goal. HT Sheffield United 0-1 Cardiff City."

Hose, Windsor via text: "Of Messi's 48 goals, how many has he scored with his head?!"

Football League Macca: "I don't know what the fuss is with Leo Messi. Middlesbrough have scored more than 50 goals this season. The Boro added two more in as many minutes at Ipswich as Andy Halliday and Scott McDonald put them 2-1 up. It's rocking at Rochdale as they double their advantage against Southampton."

Half time
2035: HALF-TIME Man Utd 1-0 Chelsea (agg 2-0)
Chief football writer Phil McNulty's HT snap-shot:
"Chelsea will be devastated by the manner and timing of Manchester United's goal. Carlo Ancelotti's side had been accomplished throughout but missed the chances that came their way and Javier Hernandez, a predator supreme, has inflicted serious damage."

Half time
2033: HALF-TIME Shakhtar 0-1 Barcelona (agg 1-6)
Jonathan Stevenson's HT snap-shot:
"Just like in the first leg, Barca keep Shakhtar at bay for 20 minutes before asserting their dominance. Messi has ended this as a contest."

2031: The half-time whistle blows in Manchester and Donetsk.

2030: "Glory glory Man Utd" is the cry from the Old Trafford faithful - and once again Sir Alex Ferguson's selection reaps its dividends. Still, Chelsea's task hasn't changed a great deal... they needed two goals at the start of the night, right?

Man Utd goal: What a time to score. Chelsea have bossed the half - but they face an uphill struggle to reach the semis now and no mistake. John O'Shea plays his part in the build-up with a lovely reverse pass to release Ryan Giggs down the right and the Welshman lays it on a platter for Javier Hernandez to tap in at the far post with a delightful slide-rule cross.

Barcelona goal: Barca's pressure pays off - and just after Ibrahim Afellay had forced a panicked parry away by Andriy Pyatov in the Shakhtar goal. It's that man Lionel Messi who gets the opener, latching on to a Dani Alves pass from the right and slotting coolly past Pyatov from 12 yards. It's 6-1 on aggregate, and Messi's 48th of the season - a Spanish record.

2028: GOALFLASH Man Utd 1-0 Chelsea (agg 2-0) (Hernandez)

2027: GOALFLASH Shakhtar 0-1 Barcelona (agg 1-6) (Messi)

Football League Macca: "Huge turnaround for Norwich as goals from Danny Graham and Don Cowie have given Watford the lead. All of which means Cardiff are nudging ahead of them in the as-it-stands table. Just as crucially, struggling Palace have taken the lead at Leicester in what would be a massive result for the Eagles. Coventry are leading at Pompey. In L1, Rochdale are helping their cause as well as Brighton's by beating Southampton. Walsall are holding Brentford 1-1 and Yeovil are 1-0 against Notts Co."

2026: Off! Off! Off! Is the cry of the Old Trafford crowd - but referee whathisname is having none of it, producing only a yellow card after John Terry catches Javier Hernandez with an elbow in the header.

2025: A spell of Man Utd pressure now with five minutes of the half left, but a couple of minutes camped in the Chelsea half ends only with Nani slapping a left-footed 18-yarder wide of the Chelsea goal.

Yellow card
2022: Third booking of the night at Old Trafford - Florent Malouda catching Javier Hernandez with a trailing leg in the centre circle and going into the referee's notebook as a result.

2021: Plenty of noise being made by the Chelsea section at Old Trafford - they're liking what they're seeing right now.

Chief football writer Phil McNulty at Old Trafford: "Ramires really leading the charge for an impressive Chelsea, but Wayne Rooney also looks menacing for Manchester United. Top quality, flowing game and this first half is just flying by. Rio Ferdinand still flexing his right leg but running a little more easily now."

Yellow card
2017: Ramires ends a promising Man Utd break with a trip on Nani outside the box on the United left - earning himself a booking that will rule him out of the first leg should Chelsea get to the semi-final.

2016: Two great chances for Barca, but they cannot quite wrap the tie up. Moments after Adriano has a shot cleared off the line by Yaroslav Rakitskiy, Lionel Messi wriggles his way through the Shakhtar defence only to chip tamely into the arms of Andriy Pyatov. Poor finish from a man with 47 goals this season.

BBC Sport's Pete Shuttleworth at Bramall Lane: "Craig Bellamy is showing what Manchester City lacked at Liverpool last night as the Cardiff captain smashes his loan side in front at Sheffield United. The hard-working Welsh international, on a season-long loan from Eastlands, is leading by example here at Bramall Lane as his relentless efforts have inspired Cardiff into a deserved lead against the Championship's bottom club."

2015: Great play by Edwin van der Sar as the United keeper, just as it looked like he'd be beaten to the ball outside the area by Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka, gets the ball away with one of his outstretched, Inspector Gadget-like legs.

2014: That chance just now for Javier Hernandez aside, I imagine Chelsea boss Carlos Ancelotti is still rather pleased with his team's start. Ramires is having a stormer.

2012: Goal disallowed! Man Utd striker Javier Hernandez sends a doozy of a diving header home from a beaut of a Wayne Rooney cross - but the linesman's flag is raised. Replays suggest the Mexican might just - just - have been offside as his upper body was past the last defender. But it was so, so close.

BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at the Withdean Stadium: "Brighton score twice inside a minute and their promotion party is suddenly bang on track, Inigo Calderon and Glenn Murray with the goals. Fireworks go off outside the stadium, perhaps a touch prematurely."

2008: And a decent chance - again - from Shakhtar, who are bossing things against Barcelona despite their first-leg disadvantage. Vasyl Kobin this time gets free down the right and his cross is met by the unmarked Jadson, whose shot on the run is well held by Barca keeper Victor Valdes.

2007: Another good effort from Chelsea - Nicolas Anelka almost making up for a Fernando Torres air shot in the box, but seeing his 20-yard half-volley zip narrowly over the Man Utd bar. Good open stuff at Old Trafford.

Yellow card
2004: John O'Shea is the first man into the book at Old Trafford as he goes in late on Florent Malouda and brings the Frenchman down by the left touchline. He'll have to tread carefully now the United defender.

2002: I've been told you will want to refresh this page for a Radio 5 Live sports extra commentary on Sheffield United v Cardiff. We don't have online rights for Man Utd v Chelsea, I'm told.

Chief football writer Phil McNulty at Old Trafford: "Chelsea will be happy with the start they have made, creating chances for Nicolas Anelka and Frank Lampard. Manchester United clearly have a concern over an injury picked up the limping Rio Ferdinand, who is attempting to run the problem off while Chris Smalling warms up."

2000: Close again for Chelsea! The Blues enjoying a fine spell now, Florent Malouda dancing through the Man Utd defence and squaring to an unmarked Frank Lampard 16 yards out - it's an excellent chance for the England midfielder, but he can't put his foot through it and Edwin van der Sar is able to get down to his right to stop his side-footed shot. Let-off for United.

1959: And that's lovely stuff from Shakhtar too as Jadson and Douglas Costa play a neat one-two down the right - but when the ball comes back to Jadson he can only slice a shot off target. Barca haven't got going at all so far.

1959: Ooh and I tell you what, that's close too - Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka's snap-shot from Fernando Torres's lay-off 18 yards out curling inches wide. Edwin van der Sar was rooted to the spot.

Football League Macca: "The big boys aren't hanging around tonight. Leaders QPR go in front through Adel Taarabt after 47 seconds and Norwich's Sam Vokes has popped them in front at Watford. Meanwhile, Ipswich lead through a Grant Leadbitter strike at home to Boro."

BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at the Withdean Stadium: "Dagenham & Redbridge are not following the script at Brighton, as John Akinde's deflected strike puts them in front with the game just seconds old. Remember if Albion win they are promoted."

1957: First real glimpse of Chelsea in an attacking sense, Fernando Torres rising well to meet Nicolas Anelka's cross and sending a header narrowly wide. Rio Ferdinand, by the way, looks to be really struggling with an injury in the Man Utd defence here, he's been limping for a good five minutes or so.

1955: Sir Alex always picks him for the big games and Ji-Sung Park causes a flutter in the Chelsea defence here, latching on to Wayne Rooney's clipped pass, turning into the box, and only seeing his progress stopped by a slip and the attentions of John Terry. United on top.

1954: And, hello, only a smart Victor Valdes stop in the Barca goal keeps things even early on in Ukraine, the Spanish stopper getting down well to stop Douglas Costa one-on-one after the Brazilian had been set through the box. Good chance, good save.

1952: Fairly quiet opening at the Don Bass Stadium, but it's Shakhtar who have settled the quicker in front of a hugely pumped home crowd. Four goals and none against tonight and they go through, of course. Stranger things have happened at sea, so I'm told.

1950: Man Utd just about edging the early play at Old Trafford, Nani almost getting in behind the Chelsea defence down the left until his progress is halted by a Branislav Ivanovic ankle-tap. The Portuguese winger's free-kick is swung straight into the arms of Petr Cech.

1948: It does indeed look like it won't be a rigid 4-3-3 formation from Chelsea, with Ramires and Michael Essien shielding the back four, allowing Frank Lampard freedom to push on from central midfield. A 4-2-1-3 if you like. Or possibly a 4-2-1-2-1. Or even a... oh forget it.

1945: We've also kicked off in Ukraine, Shakhtar 0-0 Barcelona (agg 1-5).

1945: Ladies and gentlemen, we are up and running at Old Trafford, Man Utd 0-0 Chelsea (agg 1-0). Or, as Martin Tyler would foam... "IT'S LIVE!"

1944: This Man Utd-Chelsea match, by the way, boasts the most Champions League caps between two starting XIs ever in the competition, Infostrada Sports tells us. Man Utd (676) and Chelsea (612) share 1288 - beating the record set between them in the first leg by 160 caps. Experience.

1941: Here come the players at Old Trafford. The atmosphere is getting going nicely - despite road problems on M6 and the M24 ensuring there are still a few fans struggling to get into the ground on time to catch kick-off. Cue a rally of 'Utd fans live in London' gags.

steventang_514 on Twitter: "THIS IS NERVE-WRACKING!!!"

1939: Man Utd manager Sir Alex Ferguson: "We're at home and tactically we'll be much the same as the first game. Chelsea may change a bit but we can cope with that. I hope the team steps forward and produces a typical United performance. I guess I thought Drogba may have started but I'm not surprised that Torres has been picked. They've got a lot of good players."

halifaxhugh on Twitter: "RE: 1856 - Feel free to refer to the ref as OBB... then any suspect refereeing decisions can be blamed on Obb Job."
I laughed at that. Out loud. Geeze I'm easily pleased.

1936: The Chelsea team, of course, could tonight reunite former Liverpool team-mates Fernando Torres and Yossi Benayoun, who starts on the bench. I imagine you're wondering how how those two clicked at the Reds? Well OptaJoe tells us that in the course of three seasons... Benayoun assisted 10 of Fernando Torres' goals in the Premier League & Champions League combined. Definitely an option off the bench I'd say, then.

Football League Macca: "In League One we could see the return of Brighton to the second flight, but there are also crucial points to play for, none more so at Rochdale, where they host Southampton, and at the bottom, where Yeovil host Notts County. In League Two, there's just one game but it's a corker as promotion-hoping Bury host relegation-worried Burton."

1933: Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti, hinting the Blues won't start in a 4-3-3: "You'll have to watch the game to work out if we're going to play with a 4-3-3 formation. If possible we have to control the game by controlling the possession. I picked Fernando [Torres] un front because we want to play with a certain shape. The key is to win. We have to play 90 minutes at our best."

shadrackkalasa on Twitter: "This pounding in my heart, feels like am in theatre! Oh, it's the theater of dreams! Go United."

L.Ruge via text: "It's beyond me how Carlo Ancelotti can put our most threatening attacking player, Drogba, on the bench for arguably our weakest performing player, Torres."

Jonathan Stevenson reports:
"Let's start with Shakhtar, shall we? The Ukraines are shorn of injured captain Dario Srna and the banned Razvan Rat, so Vyacheslav Shevchuk and Vasyl Kobin slot into their defence. Luiz Adriano, who missed a glut of chances at the Camp Nou, keeps his place up top. Barca are missing the suspended Andres Iniesta, who produced a display of absolute genius in the first leg, with Dutch forward Ibrahim Afellay replacing him."

Football League Macca: "We are properly getting down to the nitty gritty in the Championship and with six games to go there are still titles, automatic promotion, play-off slots, relegation and reputations to play for. All 12 teams are in action tonight. Leaders QPR look to bounce back from their loss against Scunthorpe when they visit Barnsley. Plenty more besides and we'll try to bring you the best of what's going on."

1926: MAN UTD v CHELSEA (1945)
Chief football writer Phil McNulty at Old Trafford:
"So Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti makes a huge call by picking Fernando Torres ahead of Didier Drogba in attack, but that is still a strong looking side with Nicolas Anelka and Alex also restored from the first leg. If ever Ancelotti needed Torres to break his goalscoring duck it is now. Manchester United go with Javier Hernandez and Wayne Rooney as their spearhead with Nani getting the nod over Antonio Valencia to provide the width."

sahilsampat on Twitter: "Win this tie and either team are on their way to the final at Wembley, with all due respect to [semi-final opponents] Schalke and Inter Milan."

OLASAL, London via text: "Very much resigned to another night of European agony. Not sure Carlo has it in him to make the real Chelsea turn up. I'm daring to dream but it\'s looking grim, I have to say."

1920: If you give this page a refresh right now, folks, you'll find a Radio 5 Live link on the right-hand side of this very page. Which is nice.

Ger in Durham via text: "Re jadhamizan on twitter, Carrick had a brilliant game in the first leg! If he plays like that again tonight he won't be a weak spot."

shivamLM on Twitter: "As a Chelsea fan, whatever happens tonight Carlo Ancelotti must stay. Chelsea have only had one manager last more than four years since the 1980s."

1917: Hands up then, who's doubting a Shakhtar miracle against Barcelona tonight? Well bear this little beauty from Infostrada Sports in mind people - FC Barcelona have failed to win any of their seven Champions League away matches in the knockout phase with Josep Guardiola in charge (five draws, two defeats, outscored 8-11 by opposition). This is in heavy contrast with their KO home matches under Guardiola: seven wins, one draw, no defeats, outscoring opposition 26-5. Who said straw-clutching?

BBC Sport's Pete Shuttleworth at Bramall Lane: "There is understandable pre-match anxiety around Bramall Lane as both bottom club Sheffield United and promotion chasing Cardiff City need the points for differing reasons. The Blades are seven points from safety and hope to recover from back-to-back defeats as United aim to avoid dropping into League One 22 years after leaving the third tier. The rejuvenated Bluebirds, who left the top-flight in 1962, hope for a third successive win and could go second in the push for Premier League promotion with victory and if Watford hold Norwich."

1911: And re: 1905 - I definitely won't mention that Chelsea in fact beat Man Utd at Stamford Bridge, not Old Trafford as I'd previously stated. Good heavens no.

jadhamizan on Twitter: "RE: Man Utd line-up : Very attacking. O'Shea and Carrick are weak points, however."

Shakhtar Donetsk:
Pyatov, Kobin, Ischenko, Rakitskiy, Shevchuk, Hubschman, Mkhitaryan, Douglas Costa, Jadson, Willian, Luiz Adriano. Subs: Khudzamov, Fernandinho, Eduardo, Gai, Alex Teixeira, Kryvtsov, Moreno.
Barcelona: Valdes, Dani Alves, Busquets, Pique, Adriano Correia, Xavi, Mascherano, Keita, Afellay, Messi, Villa. Subs: Pinto, Jeffren, Pedro, Milito, Maxwell, Fontas, Thiago.
Referee: Florian Meyer (RSV Braunschweig )

Dave via text: "I'd like you to get the words 'metronomic' and 'omnipresent' in your commentary at some point."
There you go, done. That was easy.

redruairi on Twitter: "With Drogba on the bench, this is crunch time for Ancelotti. If it doesn't pay off, surely his spell at Chelsea is all but over."

1905: By the way, alongside mentioning Fernando Torres' goal drought and Roman Abramovich's "obsession" with winning the Champions League, I'll be at pains to point out the following, given their bizarre absence from all match previews of tonight's match at Old Trafford: United have been winning a lot this season despite not playing well; the fact that the only other European tie between these sides before this season was in the Moscow final 2008 that United won on penalties; the fact that John Terry missed a crucial spot-kick in that one; we'll ignore that Nicolas Anelka also missed one in that final; Sir Alex Ferguson and Carlo Ancelotti have both won the European Cup twice; oh and Chelsea beat Man Utd in the league over a month ago. You're welcome.

Anon via text: "If Shaktar overturn Barca's lead tonight, I will run down my street with my Millwall top on and I live very close to Upton Park with lots of Hammers!"

mcallaghanart on Twitter: "If ever there was a moment for Torres this it. Period (followed by 50 million periods)."

1856: Man I hope the referee is involved a lot at Old Trafford this evening. The prospect of typing Olegario Bartolo Benquerenca over and over again fills me with nothing but joy. Ahem.

1855: MAN UTD v CHELSEA (1945)
Man Utd:
Van der Sar, O'Shea, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Nani, Carrick, Giggs, Park, Rooney, Hernandez. Subs: Kuszczak, Brown, Berbatov, Smalling, Scholes, Valencia, Gibson.
Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Alex, Terry, Cole, Ramires, Essien, Lampard, Anelka, Torres, Malouda. Subs: Turnbull, Benayoun, Drogba, Mikel, Zhirkov, Ferreira, Kalou.
Referee: Olegario Bartolo Benquerenca (Leiria)

1852: Fernando Torres does, then, start for Chelsea - despite not having scored in his last 13 official matches for club and country, and passing 700 minutes without a goal for Chelsea since his £50m move. I'm not sure his goal drought has been covered much in the press so I thought it best to point that out. How many fans hoping the ol' footballing cliche 'form is temporary, class is permanent' rings true tonight? Fortunately for Blues fans, he is flanked by Nicolas Anelka - one goal short of nine goals in Europe this season, nine, which would be a record for a Chelsea player. A lot on the Frenchman's shoulders.

BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at the Withdean Stadium: "Brighton are unbeaten all season at home in the league and three points tonight against relegation-threatened Dagenham & Redbridge will see Albion promoted. The ricketey old Withdean Stadium is a sell-out and there is undoubtedly an air of expectation about the place as the sun sets over the trees in the background."

Kevin, Kenilworth via text: "Really looking forward to tonight!! Biggest game of the season so far! 2-1 United, 3-1 agg!"
Exclamation mark-tastic.

TheEnglishTom on Twitter: "Expecting Torres' first goal, United counter attacks, dodgy penalty calls and lots of Rooney swearing - big game time!"

Right then, the official word on Uefa is that Fernando Torres and Nicolas Anelka start for Chelsea, with Didier Drogba indeed on the bench. Man Utd start with Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez, Nani and John O'Shea in at right-back.

Jonathan Stevenson reports:
"In the history of Uefa competition only three clubs have ever overturned a four-goal first-leg deficit - and you don't need me to tell you none of those were against Arguably The World's Greatest Football Team™. Tonight, Shakhtar Donetsk face Mission Improbable against Barcelona after a 5-1 shellacking at the Camp Nou, but don't forget the Ukraines have only ever suffered one defeat in all competitions since moving into the Donbass Arena in September 2009 and have a 100% home record in this season's Champions League."

1841: MAN UTD v CHELSEA (1945)
Chief football writer Phil McNulty at Old Trafford:
"Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and his Chelsea counterpart Carlo Ancelotti have both been at pains to insist this Champions League quarter-final is still wide open despite the sides being separated by Wayne Rooney's crucial away goal at Stamford Bridge. Ancelotti wants his side to be disciplined in search of the goal they require while United know if they score it will take them a huge stride towards a place in the last four against Inter Milan or Schalke 04."

rog_og on Twitter: "Sir Alex is 'obsessed' with mindgames!"

SuperPav117 on Twitter: "As a Spurs fan I have an unhealthy obsession... with comebacks."

Ish. The word on the Tweet but five minutes ago was that Fernando Torres starts for Chelsea at Man Utd, with Didier Drogba on the bench. Now the word is that Drogba does in fact start alongside the Spaniard. Confusion reigns - official team news when I get it.

HenryWhitfield on Twitter: "Familiar foes meeting once again and with huge stakes on the line. What does this mean? United wins on penalties. Again."

Rob (Chelsea fan at Old Trafford) via text: "I feel "very" confident today and its the complete opposite to what I felt last week. A 2-1 (2-2 agg) win with Torres to get his first."

1834: Why am I telling you all this, you ask? Do I consider you all to be footballing cretins, you may wonder? Of course I don't. The thing is that not only is it my job (I know, right?), but also I'm hoping to pique your interest to such an extent that you can no longer resist the urge to contact me and spill your footballing thoughts and musings by way of Tweeting the commentary via the hashtag #BBCFootball, Tweeting me @sampatricklyon or texting in via 81111 (UK). How about it people?

1831: And, as if that wasn't enough, alongside all of that we've got a monster night of Championship and lower league football for you as well. The promotion and relegation battles are almost as hot as my pants right now, so I don't doubt Football League Macca will have his work cut out tonight - but if anyone can do it, it's him.

1829: So here is your line-up for tonight's European fare...
Man Utd v Chelsea (agg 1-0) (1945)
Shakhtar v Barcelona (agg 1-5) (1945)

1828: Welcome one and all, then, to the first of two stonking nights of quarter-finals, second-leg Champions League drama. Tonight it is the turn of Man Utd, Chelsea, Shakhtar Donetsk and Barcelona to prove they are worthy of a place in the last four of Europe's premier club competition - and while one of those matches has the potential of being about as competitive as a bareknuckle fight between a rhino and a dormouse, the other looks a right royal barn-stormer.

1826: Your word of the day? Obsession. Yep, this is the Champions League - the competition every club, owner, player and manager in European football is absolutely desperate to win, without anyone ever really wanting to admit it. And we're right slap bang in the middle of the do-or-die stage of the competition. Excited?

1823: "It's one thing to win three [European] cups with the same club, but a different one to win the cup three times with three different clubs in different countries, and in very different time periods. I would like to achieve it, of course, but without being obsessed by it. Until the end of my career, I will always be trying to win it one more time, but without it ever becoming an obsession."
Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho, 11 April 2011

1821: "I speak with Roman [Abramovich] a lot, but he is not obsessed with the Champions League. He wants to win everything, but he's not desperate. [Still], the normal step is to do things better than we did last season in the Champions League. The players have reached the semis five times and one final. They deserve to win one, but only if you do it better than others."
Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti, 12 September 2010.

1819: "It seems to be an obsession for them to win a European Cup. That is certainly why they signed Fernando Torres, there is no question about that in my mind. The owner [Roman Abramovich] has very much nailed his colours to the mast. To have an obsession to win a European Cup is stretching yourself a wee bit."
Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson on Chelsea, 11 April 2011.

1815: English lesson #101. Obsession. Noun.
1. the domination of one's thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, image, desire, etc.
2. the idea, image, desire, feeling, etc., itself.
3. the act of obsessing or the state of being obsessed

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12 Apr 2011 23:59 UK

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Champions League photos
12 Apr 11 |  Football

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