UEFA Champions League

April 5, 2006



2 - 0


UEFA Champions League

18:45 +00:00, April 5, 2006

Estadio Camp Nou, Spain

2nd Leg: 2 - 0 (Agg)

  • 92'

    FULL-TIME: Barcelona set-up a mouth-watering semi-final clash with Milan after surviving a scare or two to beat Benfica.

  • 91'

    GREAT EFFORT! A long-range shot from Miccoli dips just over the crossbar.

  • 90'

    All the tension has been relieved; Barcelona deserve to go through, but they haven't made it easy for themselves.

  • 89'

    GOAL! Eto'o puts Barcelona through to the semi-final. Poor defending leaves Guily free to play in Eto'o, who smashes past Moretto from six yards out.

  • 88'

    That wasn't a great piece of goalkeeping from Valdes; he could have pushed the ball out for a corner, but instead pawed it in to the path of the on-rushing Luisao.

  • 87'

    ALMOST! Karagounis fires in a low, bouncing shot from 30 yards; Valdes palms the ball back in to the danger area, but the ball bounces off the legs of Luisao for a goal-kick.

  • 86'

    Even at this stage, Van Bronkhorst is making a lung-bursting run down the left wing from his full-back position. Admireable, but perhaps a little niave from the home side?

  • 85'

    BARCELONA SUB: Larsson is given a standing ovation from the home fans as he is replaced by Giuly.

  • 84'

    BARCELONA SUB: Edmilson replaces Van Bommel; a defensive change from Rijkaard, who takes off the more-attackingly minded player to give his side a buffer in front of the back four.

  • 83'

    BLOCK! Moretto makes another good save as he is faced by Eto'o, one-on-one; Petit makes a crucial block as Van Bommel tries to put away the rebound.

  • 83'

    Miccoli is pulled up for a push on Puyol as they chased a hopeful pass down the right touchline.

  • 82'

    BENFICA SUB: Fernandes is replaced by Marcel. A final change from Koeman, who brings on another striker to give his side more to aim for up front.

  • 81'

    Benfica, although they have improved markedly since the break, have still looked well short of their best; they have been fairly dreadful going forward this evening.

  • 80'

    Karagounis is caught by a flailing arm from Ronaldinho, who stops play to allow the Greek international some treatment.

  • 79'

    Iniesta does superbly to rob Miccoli inside his own half and set-up a Barcelona counter-attack. He has played very well this evening.

  • 78'

    ...He chips the ball in towards the run of the tall centre-back, Luisao, but the ball drops over the top of the crossbar. Goal-kick, says the referee.

  • 77'

    ...The former Portmouth set-piece specialist takes a long run-up...

  • 77'

    Miccoli is pushed by Puyol as the two contested a bouncing ball, 40 yards out. Free-kick, and Robert is looking very interested...

  • 76'

    Eto'o feeds Van Bommel on the right-edge of the penalty area, but his low cross in to the middle is deflected behind for a home corner.

  • 76'

    Belletti is still making long, surging runs forward from the back for Barcelona; they do need to be careful that they don't leave themselves exposed.

  • 75'

    Just about a quarter-of-an-hour to play here in Spain. Benfica have been better in this second half, but missed an absolute sitter that would have put them on top. They must be desperately hoping for just one more chance.

  • 74'

    BENFICA SUB: Robert enters the fray for the visitors. He played in the first leg, but was dropped for this game; can he influence it as a substitute?

  • 73'

    SHOT! Miccoli again manages to get in between the Barcelona centre-halfs but the angle is against him as he skies his shot high and wide from the corner of the penalty area.

  • 72'

    OVER! Deco chips a great little pass in to the area for Eto'o; he opts not to bring the ball down and tries an over-head kick but skies it well over the crossbar.

  • 71'

    SHOT! Miccoli cuts inside Puyol on the left and fires in a low shot, but Valdes saves easily.

  • 70'

    Ronaldinho is still playing with that infectious smile on his face, despite the tension. I say 'infectious,' it must be horribly annoying for opponents to see that constant smirk on his face.

  • 69'

    What is perhaps most amazing about this tie is that over the course of the two legs we have seen so many chances, and yet only one goal.

  • 68'

    The night's other Champions League quarter-final tie is still in the balance - Juventus and Arsenal are at 0-0 in Turin, 2-0 to the English side on aggregate.

  • 67'

    There is just an air of tension inside the ground; despite Barcelona's dominance, the tie is still on a knife-edge.

  • 66'

    Barcelona are getting back on top again after that scare at the other end. They are having all of the ball, and beginning to look a little more threatening again.

  • 65'

    ...but he strikes it straight at Moretto.

  • 65'

    ...Ronaldinho lines up the shot...

  • 64'

    Luisao is booked for barging Ronaldinho as he tried to pass him, 25 yards out. Free-kick to the home side, in a very dangerous spot...

  • 63'

    Eto'o plays a nice one-two with Belletti, but his cross is over the head of Larsson and the danger passes.

  • 62'

    The Benfica fans inside the Camp Nou are doing their best to get behind their players and spur them on. The home fans, meanwhile, grow more and more restless.

  • 61'

    What a let-off for the home side - that was the one chance that the visitors had been hoping for, but their skipper blew it. A real warning for Barca - they need the second goal to seal this tie.

  • 60'

    WHAT A CHANCE! Miccoli finally manages to stay on-side; he picks out Simao in the area, but the Benfica captain slides the ball wide from right yards out.

  • 60'

    Ronaldinho and Eto'o exchange passes down the left, but the low cross to the near post is cut out by Beraldo. Good defending.

  • 59'

    The game has slowed a little over the course of the last couple of minutes; Benfica are trying to re-organise themselves as they search for that crucial opening.

  • 57'

    There is just a little bit of tension creeping in to the crowd; they see how on top their side have been, but for all their chances, the tie is still in the balance.

  • 56'

    BENFICA: Karagounis replaces Geovanni; a first attacking change from Koeman, who recognises that his side need to go for broke if they are to progress.

  • 55'

    Barcelona won't mind that Benfica have come out with a bit more attackign intent at the start of this second half, for it means there is even more space for them to expose in the final third.

  • 54'

    Miccoli is again caught off-side as he tries to get on the end of Beto's cute pass with the outside of his right boot; this must be getting frustrating for Koeman.

  • 53'

    Eto'o is booked for a blatant dive in the penalty area as he tries to beat Luisao close to the by-line. The little striker pats the referee on the bum, by way of an apology.

  • 52'

    Larsson's hold-up play has been superb tonight; he is an excellent target man for the likes of Deco and Ronaldinho; they know that if they play the ball in to him, he will keep it.

  • 51'

    CHANCE! Eto'o gets in behind after being released by an exellent pass from Larsson, but his low cross towards the rampaging Belletti is cut out at the near post by the sliding challenge of Leo.

  • 50'

    Benfica win a corner after Geovanni's attempted cross is defelected behind, but Simao's set-piece doesn't beat the man at the near post.

  • 49'

    Geovanni swaps passes with Petit down the right, but Van Bronkhorst shows good pace to get across and put the ball out for a throw.

  • 48'

    The linesman's flag again stops Miccoli in his tracks; the third time so far this evening, I believe. If he can time his runs better, Benfica have a slim chance of success.

  • 47'

    Benfica didn't look like they had a goal in them during that first half; they'll have to, if they are to progress to the semi-final and a tie against the mighty AC Milan.

  • 46'

    Barcelona kick off the final 45 minutes of this quarter final tie. No changes at half-time, from either side.

  • 47'

    HALF-TIME: Barcelona completely on top. Benfica have offered absolutely nothing. But as long as the tie remains at just 1-0, the Portuguese side are just an away goal away from going through.

  • 46'

    Rocha goes over on his ankle. He looks in some pain, but will at least have half-time to get himself right again.

  • 45'

    Barcelona should be out of sight by now; they have really turned up the heat at the end of the half, but just can't get that crucial second goal.

  • 44'

    ALMOST! Deco picks out Larsson with a lofted chip to the far post, but the former Celtic man just can't stretch high enough to direct his header on target.

  • 43'

    GOOD CLEARANCE! Eto'o brilliantly beats Beraldo down the left, but his low cross is cleared inside his own six-yard box by Luisao. Good defending.

  • 43'

    Benfica scramble clear a Ronaldinho free-kick, sent in towards the back post. Barcelona will be keen to get a second goal, just to put this tie to bed.

  • 42'

    Benfica are so careless on the few occasions they are getting the ball; their midfield is too deep, meaning their attempted passes up to the front three are too difficult.

  • 41'

    If the Barcelona strikers and midfielders had been on better form over the course of these two legs, the Spanish side would be five or six goals to the good by now.

  • 40'

    Van Bommel should really have scored with that chance; he allowed the ball to bounce to give him some more time, but he should have buried his shot.

  • 39'

    SAVE! Another mis-cue from Leo; he mis-kicks in the area, the ball spins away to Van Bommel, but his low shot from eight yards is brilliantly saved by the legs of Moretto.

  • 38'

    Barcelona are in complete control of this tie; they are knocking the ball about with real confidence, and Benfica can't get a look-in.

  • 37'

    Fernandez is having a torrid time down the Benfica left; three or four times he has lost his footing and Barcelona are piling the pressure on him.

  • 36'

    Deco, who has already picked up a yellow card this evening, leaves Luisao on the floor after a mis-timed tackle. He needs to be a little bit careful.

  • 35'

    Benfica are having trouble keeping the ball; their passing has been poor in this first half, and the front three have had absolutely nothing to work with.

  • 35'

    Rijkaard looks very calm on the touchline. He and Koeman were old team-mates at Ajax, many years ago.

  • 34'

    Another slip from a Benfica defender almost lets in Ronaldinho; they have been the architechts of their own downfall so far this evening.

  • 33'

    Ronaldinho and Eto'o have switched positions at the moment; the Brazilian has moved in to the centre, and the little Cameroonian has gone out to the left wing.

  • 32'

    Beto and Puyol remain down on the grass after both fearlessly challenged for a loose ball in midfield. They are soon on their feet and shaking hands. Nice touch.

  • 31'

    Ronaldinho swings a free-kick in deep, towards the back post, where Puyol had come up to lend some support; the referee spots a push by the curly-haired centre-back and gives a free-kick.

  • 30'

    Benfica haven't managed to threaten Valdes' goal once in the first half-hour; they aren't getting enough players forward to support their front man.

  • 28'

    Van Bommel is off the pitch at the moment, taking treatment on what seems to be a thigh strain.

  • 27'

    Benfica look so shakey at the back; it wouldn't surprise me if Barcelona score a couple more before half-time and wrap up this tie.

  • 26'

    CHANCE! A long ball over the top is allowed to bounce by Leo; Eto'o nips in behind him, but can only loft the ball over the top of Moretto and the crossbar from the edge of the area.

  • 25'

    Simao is brought down by Belletti, Barcelona's tough-tackling, Brazilian right-back. Free-kick to the Portuguese side, who send forward a couple of defenders for the set-piece.

  • 24'

    Ronaldinho's confidence looks sky-high at present; he looks a little down after the penalty miss, but the smile is back on his face after he slotted home the opening goal.

  • 23'

    HANDBALL! Ronaldinho breaks past Luisao, who handles the bouncing ball, though the referee rules that the offence took place on the very edge of the penalty area. Free-kick, not a penalty.

  • 23'

    The linesman's flag stops Geovanni in his tracks as he looked to run through on Valdes' goal. Barcelona are playing a very high line - they need to be careful of that.

  • 22'

    Ricardo Rocha is down holding his face after a tussle with Ronaldinho as the competed for a bouncing ball.

  • 22'

    That goal means that we now can not have extra-time this evening.

  • 21'

    It's Ronaldinho's seventh goal in nine Champions League games this season; a remarkable record, especially for someone who sets-up so many goals as well.

  • 20'

    GOAL! The breakthrough! Eto'o gets to the by-line after a horrible mistake from Fernandez; he picks out Ronaldinho, who side-foots past Moretto.

  • 20'

    Time and time again, the Van Bommel and Deco are making unchecked, late runs through the heart of the Benfica defence; all it takes is for one accurate pass to find them...

  • 19'

    At the moment, it really does look like just a matter of time before Barcelona manage break down this Benfica back-four, who look little short of shambolic at the moment.

  • 18'

    Ronaldinho plays a pass in to the run of Deco, but the ball skids off the turf and up in to the grateful hands of Moretto.

  • 17'

    The Nou Camp crowd are already getting a little frustrated; Petit takes his time over a free-kick, prompting irate whistles from the home fans.

  • 16'

    Van Bronkhorst plays a great, long pass from the left-back spot after seeing the run of Van Bommel, but the Dutchman can't find a team-mate after bringing the ball down well.

  • 15'

    Of course, the winner of this tie will play AC Milan in the semi-final after the Italian giants overcame Lyon last night.

  • 14'

    Benfica are playing with just Miccoli up front, and he looks very isolated at the moment; the visitors just can't get the support up to him.

  • 13'

    Petit sends a long back-pass back to his goalkeeper; Eto'o senses a chance to cut it out, but Moretto gets there just in time to clear the danger.

  • 12'

    Barcelona have got Iniesta in a holding midfield role this evening; it's not his natural position, but he is a combative player and is doing a good job in the early stages.

  • 11'

    Eto'o sends over a very tempting cross from the right, but it is inches from the head of Van Bommel, who had made a late run in to the penalty area.

  • 10'

    Miccoli is again caught off-side as he tries to get on the end of Beto's through ball over the top of the high Barcelona defence.

  • 9'

    Moretto needs some treatment after Deco leaves his foot in during that challenge with the goalkeeper; the Barcelona man is booked.

  • 9'

    OOH! Eto'o releases Larsson inside the penalty area; he cuts it back, trying to pick out Deco, but Moretto bravely dives at his feet to save.

  • 8'

    A rather crude tackle from behind from Larsson results in a pressure-relieving free-kick for the visitors.

  • 7'

    Benfica have made a rather nervy start as Barcelona pile on the pressure, attempting to put the memory of that penalty miss behind them.

  • 6'

    What a start we've had here; Barcelona must be thinking that it might not be their night...

  • 5'

    SAVE! Moretto guesses correctly and palms away Ronaldinho's firmly-struck effort!

  • 4'

    PENALTY! A slick passing move ends with the ball at the feet of Van Bommel. He tries to clip the ball in towards Eto'o, but it strikes the arm of Rocha and the referee points to the spot!

  • 4'

    Geovanni tries to help the ball over the top towards Miccoli, but the linesman's flag is raised for off-side.

  • 3'

    Some facts for you, readers: Barcelona haven't won for three games, and have also failed to score during that time. They have also only ever won the European Cup or Champions League once before. Their match-winner, in 1992? Ronald Koeman - manager of Benfica...

  • 2'

    The first leg was a sensational game; both sides attacked relentlessly, and it was only a combination of excellent goalkeeping and poor finishing that kept the score at 0-0.

  • 1'

    Benfica get us underway. It's a mild, dry night in north east Spain, and the pitch looks impeccable.


    Hi, welcome to our coverage of Barcelona's second leg Champions League quarter final tie against Benfica at the Camp Nou. I'm Alex. Let's roll.