Champions League Roundup - Messi Sinks Milan; Chelsea Narrowly Defeat Benfica
Messi converted twice from the spot in the first half, as Antonio Nocerino's brilliant equalizer was rendered useless by the end of the first half. Andres Iniesta ended Milan's slim hopes by scoring early in the second half, and Barcelona held on to progress to the semi-finals for the fifth season in a row.
The tie was not without dispute however, as the decision to grant Barcelona a second penalty was criticized by many.
The penalty was given for Alessandro Nesta's push on Sergio Busquets, just after a corner was taken. However, the chances of Busquets getting into a scoring position were slim, and Carlos Puyol had a hand in the foul, as replays showed the Spanish international pushing Nesta onto Busquets.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic in particular was vocal about the alleged unfair decisions Milan faced, saying in a post-match interview, "I'm just disgusted. They are the best team in the world but at 1-1 and, playing with intelligence, you can do something. (But) I understand better why Mourinho gets upset every time he plays here - in my opinion it was not fair."
Bayern Munich are now two games away from a Champions League final at home, as they comfortably beat Marseille 2-0 at home, and 4-0 on aggregate. Two first half goals from Ivica Olić were enough to seal their berth in the semi-finals.
The Bavarians will face Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid in a mouth-watering tie as Madrid demolished APOEL 5-2 at the Bernabéu, and 8-2 on aggregate. Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Angel Di Maria all scored world-class goals that left the Cypriot outfit helpless, as Mourinho's men are one step closer to a possible El Clásico in the final of the Champions League. Jose Callejon also got on the score sheet for the Galácticos.
And in the last quarterfinal tie, Chelsea held off a Benfica side that battled admirably despite playing a little over one full half with just ten men to win 2-1 (3-1 on overall aggregate).
Maxi Pereira was sent off in the 40th minute after receiving two yellow cards. Frank Lampard scored from the spot in the 21st minute, and Raul Meireles scored a screamer in the 92nd minute to end the game and secure Chelsea a semi-final berth, where they will face the defending champions Barcelona.
Chelsea's last game against Barcelona in 2009 was also a semi-final in the Champions League, and was extremely eventful, with Chelsea being denied a number of legitimate penalty claims. Iniesta scored in the dying minutes to secure a spot in the final, and Barcelona went on to win the Champions League that year.
Clearly, the Blues have not forgotten, as Frank Lampard stated later, "Everyone’s got unfinished business with them. They’re the greatest team in the world. They have been and still are. That game is still in our minds but it’s a different year and we have to try to beat them."