Liverpool smack Real for four; Drogba stars as Chelsea eek past Juventus; Bayern pummel Sporting for seven; Plucky Pana fall to Villarreal

Liverpool 4 – Real Madrid 0 (Agg. 5-0) (Champions League, March 10, 2009) (Longer highlights here, extended highlights here.) Liverpool came flying out the traps against Real, Iker Casillas was forced to make two superb saves to deny Torres and Mascherano from scoring inside the opening five minutes. Liverpool’s pressure paid off after 16th minutes as awful Real defending allowed Kuyt to steal the ball off Pepe and set up Fernando Torres for the opener. The Reds then doubled their lead when Gabriel Heinze was adjudged to have handled in the box, Steven Gerrard stepping up to dispatch the penalty with aplomb. (First half highlights here.) The match was killed off in the opening minutes of the second half, Babel teased his way past Sergio Ramos down the left and his cross found Steven Gerrard who side-footed home the third in front of the Kop. Liverpool sent Real packing with their tails between their legs with a goal at the death, Mascherano passed to Andrea Dossena to bag a humiliating fourth.

Juventus 2 – Chelsea 2 (Agg. 2-3) (Champions League, March 10, 2009) (Extended highlights here.) Brilliant link up play between David Trezeguet and Vincenzo Iaquinta tore the Chelsea defence apart with Iaquinta finishing expertly past Cech. Didier Drogba tested Buffon with a free-kick in the 44th minute that questionably crossed the line. But it was not to matter as Chelsea hit back with the crucial away goal in injury time at the end of the half, a 25-yard shot from Frank Lampard rebounded off the bar and Michael Essien stormed in to equalise. (First half highlights here.) Juve came out all guns blazing after the break, Trezeguet forcing Cech to tip over a point-blank header. The Old Lady were reduced to 10-men after Giorgio Chiellini picked up a second booking but that did not hold back the Italians. Juliano Belletti handled the ball in the box from a free-kick and Alex Del Piero took responsibility from the spot. The Blues then showed their resilience, hanging on in the game and then striking the killer blow as Didier Drogba claimed the second in the 82nd minute turning home Belletti’s cross.

Bayern Munich 7 – Sporting Lisbon 1 (Agg. 12-1) (Champions League, March 10, 2009) (Extended highlights here.) Bayern ripped Sporting to shreds in the first half in Munich. Lukas Podolski crashed home a wonderful 25-yard effort for the opener and, after Klose hit the post, woeful defending from the visitors to fail to deal with a long ball was was punished when Podolski notched up his second. Anderson Polga then embarrassed himself putting a corner through his own net, before Joao Moutinho pulled a goal back for the Portuguese. But it was little help, Bastian Schweinsteiger adding a fourth for the Germans before the break. (First half highlights here.) Mark van Bommel bagged a fifth in the second half and Miroslav Klose hit the sixth from the spot. There was still enough time for 19-year-old Thomas Muller to mark his Champions League debut with a last-gasp seventh.

Panathinaikos 1 – Villarreal 2 (Agg. 2-3) (Champions League, March 10, 2009) (Extended highlights here.) Giuseppe Rossi had a goal chalked off for a questionable foul in the first half at Panathinaikos. The Yellow Submarine broke the deadlock after the break with a fabulous first-time strike from Ariel Ibagaza inside the near post, but the Greeks were soon level as Evangelos Mantzios headed home a Karagounis corner. With twenty minutes remaining Villarreal found the winner, a fine strike from Joseba Llorente to take them to the quarters.