Champions League: Man U, Chelsea advance

Manchester United and Chelsea advanced to the semifinals of the Champions League on Tuesday.

updated: April 12, 2007 17:17 IST
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Manchester United and Chelsea advanced to the semifinals of the Champions League on Tuesday, putting at least two English teams into the last four of Europe's top club competition.

United routed AS Roma 7-1 in the second leg of the quarterfinals to advance 8-3 on aggregate.

Chelsea came back from a goal down to edge Valencia 2-1 and advance 3-2 on aggregate. Michael Essien scored the winning goal in injury time.

Liverpool, which beat PSV Eindhoven 3-0 in the first leg, could make it three English teams in the semifinals when it hosts the Dutch team in Wednesday's second leg.

Bayern Munich hosts AC Milan in the other match after a 2-2 draw in Italy.

United will face either Milan or Bayern in the semifinals on April 24 and May 2. Chelsea will take on either Liverpool or PSV on April 25 and May 1.

United on rampage

Two-time champion United got two goals each from Michael Carrick and Cristiano Ronaldo, while Ryan Giggs played a part in four of the seven.

Alan Smith, Wayne Rooney and Patrice Evra also scored for United at Old Trafford, where fans fought with police outside the stadium before kickoff.

"It was a fantastic performance. The play, (the) penetration (was) absolutely superb," United manager Alex Ferguson said. "We can't wait for the semifinals now."

Carrick took a cross from Ronaldo in the 11th minute and sent a shot in to the top right corner from just outside the area. Smith, who broke his leg in February 2006 and has played sparingly since recovering, scored the second in the 17th with an almost identical goal, but this time off a pass from Giggs.

Rooney made it 3-0 two minutes later, knocking a cross from Giggs in off the post from just outside the box, and Ronaldo dribbled into the center and shot the ball past Roma goalkeeper Alexander Doni in the 44th.

Ronaldo added his second goal in the 49th by tapping in a cross from Giggs from close range, and Carrick got his second in the 60th off a cross from Gabriel Heinze. Evra added the final goal in the 81st, 12 minutes after Daniele De Rossi scored for Roma.

"It was not the true Roma tonight. I don't understand why. The biggest problem was that after the first goal, we tried with all our energy to score immediately. Instead we should have waited and played calmly," said Roma coach Luciano Spalletti.

United is trying to repeat its 1999 performance, when it won the Champions League, the FA Cup and Premier League. This year, the English team leads the Premier League and is also in the semifinals of the FA Cup.

Chelsea stand tall

Chelsea, which trails United by only three points in the English league, is looking to win four trophies. The two-time defending English champions already have won the League Cup and are also in the semifinals of the FA Cup.

Essien, who has recently been sidelined with a knee injury, scored the winning goal Tuesday with a hard shot to the near post.

"I think it's a great performance, especially the second half," Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said. "I repeat, a great performance against a good team in a difficult stadium."

Fernando Morientes gave Valencia the lead in the 32nd, sliding to knock in a cross from Joaquin Sanchez. But Andriy Shevchenko equalized for Chelsea in the 52nd, scoring from close range after a free kick from Essien.

"A late goal hurts because it leaves you with no time to keep your chances alive. It's one of the worst fates a team can suffer," Valencia coach Quique Sanchez Flores said.

Valencia also took the lead in the first leg last week at Stamford Bridge but had to settle for a 1-1 draw.