Inter and Manchester United play out a stalemate; Arsenal earn a narrow advantage over Roma; Lyon hold Barca; Atletico and Porto draw

Inter Milan 0 – Manchester United 0 (Champions League, February 24, 2009) (ITV highlights here.) Cristiano Ronaldo had the best chance in the early stages at the San Siro as the winger forced a point-blank save from Cesar with a header from Giggs’ corner. United continue to press for the opener and should have gone ahead when Ryan Giggs went one-on-one with Cesar, but again the keeper made the save. Ronaldo watched on as he sent a header narrowly wide of Cesar’s post before the keeper turned away CR7’s free-kick moments later.

Arsenal 1 – Roma 0 (Champions League, February 24, 2009) (ITV highlights here.) Arsenal headed into the break 1-up after Robin van Persie slotted home a 37th minute penalty after Mexes had brought down the Dutchman in the box. (First half highlights here.) The Gunners should have been 2-up early in the second half, Eboue danced into the box, picked out van Persie who in turn played in Nicklas Bendtner but the Dane ballooned his shot over the bar. Abou Diaby forced a neat save from Doni minutes later before Emmanuel Eboue missed another golden opportunity when through on goal, while at the other end John Arne-Riise dragged a shot wide. (Second half highlights here.)

Lyon 1 – Barcelona 1 (Champions League, February 24, 2009) (Longer highlights here and extended highlights here.) A terrible mistake by Victor Valdez saw the Barca shot-stopper get his angles all wrong from a Juninho free-kick, as the Brazilian watched his beautiful dead-ball gently sail over the keeper into the top corner. The Catalans drew level in the 66th minute, Xavi’s corner was met by Marquez whose header drifted to the back post and Thierry Henry flung himself at the ball to score a diving header.

Atletico Madrid 2 – Porto 2 (Champions League, February 24, 2009) Atletico raced into a third minute lead when Kun Ageuro’s pass found Maxi Rodriguez at the back post and he made mistake in beating Helton. The Portuguese equalised in the 22nd minute, the home defence made a hash of a looped header into the danger area and Lisandro Lopez exploited the situation burying the ball past Leo Franco. On the stroke of halftime Porto keeper Helton dropped a clanger of huge proportions as Diego Forlan’s tame shot when straight through the him for a horror goal. Atletico’s porous defence was opened up midway through the second half allowing Lopez to run across his marker and tap in the leveller.


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