Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Inter, Barca and Chelsea on brink of last 16

Victories on Tuesday evening will see Barcelona, Chelsea and Inter Milan qualify for the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League with two games to spare.

Inter coach Jose Mourinho was doing a good job of rehabilitating Adriano.
Serie A champions Inter will guarantee their place in the last 16 if they can record a win at Anorthosis Famagusta thanks to a superior head-to-head record with their Group B rivals.
However, Inter will again be without striker Adriano after coach Jose Mourinho decided not to reinstate the striker to his squad after several incidents of indiscipline.
The Brazilian scored the winner in Inter's 1-0 home victory over the Cypriots in the reverse of the fixture two weeks ago.
Also playing in Group B on Tuesday are Werder Bremen and Panathinaikos, who meet in Germany after drawing 2-2 in their previous encounter.
Barcelona will expect to progress to the knockout phase when they take on FC Basel at the Camp Nou. Their Swiss visitors are bottom of Group C having lost all three of their group stage games, have scored just once and were taken apart by Barca losing 5-0 in their last game.
A win will give Barcelona a maximum 12 points from four games but the Spanish club could be prevented from qualifying if third place Shakhtar Donetsk win at second-placed Sporting Lisbon in the other Group C game.
Chelsea, last year's Champions League runners-up and the current Group A leaders, travel to Serie A's surprise strugglers AS Roma.
The Italian side are 17th in the league standings with just two wins from nine games, and go into the match against in-form Chelsea on the back of a 2-0 defeat to Serie A rivals Juventus.
Chelsea know that three points will seal their progress if second-placed CFR Cluj defeat Girondins Bordeaux in Romania.
In Group D Liverpool are hopeful that Fernando Torres will be fit to face his former club when Atletico Madrid with a place in the last 16 the prize for the winners, unless PSV Eindhoven win at point-less Olympique Marseille in the other Group D match.
Torres has missed Liverpool's last five games and is only rated at 70% by manager Rafael Benitez, but could feature from the bench as Liverpool look to end a poor run against Spanish opposition in the Champions League: Liverpool have failed to beat Spanish sides at home in their last five home UCL fixtures and are without a goal in the last four of those.

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