Arsenal and Liverpool left the Emirates Stadium in a tie (1-1) at the end of a high quality game. Chelsea went down in Istanbul against Fenerbhaçe, losing 2-1. No teams are guaranteed a spot in the semi-finals yet.
Arsenal - Liverpool: 1 - 1
A moment of genius from Steven Gerrard gave Liverpool the narrowest of advantages in their Champions League quarter-final tie with Arsenal after a pulsating first leg at the Emirates finished 1-1 on Wednesday.
Headed into the lead by Emmanuel Adebayor mid-way through the first half, Arsenal had the chances to have won here and will long complain after being denied what appeared to be a clear penalty 20 minutes from the end of a second half they overwhelmingly dominated.
But it will be Liverpool who kick off at Anfield next week as marginal favourites to progress to the last four after Gerrard brilliantly set up Dirk Kuyt for the precious away goal that levelled the match three minutes after Adebayor's strike.
"That was really important," said Kuyt, referring to his goal.
"We had a few other little chances and were a bit unlucky not to get another goal," added Kuyt, who also scored for Liverpool in the previous Champions League round against Inter Milan.
However, Kuyt insisted that he had not deliberately fouled Hleb.
"It is a split second thing and you have to decide, but I didn't pull his shirt or anything. It was close but it wasn't a penalty."
Opening skirmishes that were far less guarded than anyone had anticipated generated a couple of minor alarms in both goalmouths before Mathieu Flamini produced the match's first moment of real quality.
From the centre circle, the Frenchman's forward chip fell invitingly for Robin van Persie in between Liverpool's back-pedalling centrebacks and Jose Reina but the Dutchman's attempt at a volleyed finish comfortably cleared the Liverpool goalkeeper's bar.
Reina was forced to make a save from van Persie a minute later, after neat build-up work by Cesc Fabregas and Adebayor, and it was from the resulting corner that Arsenal claimed the lead.
After a quick tap to Fabregas, van Persie's delivery was a straightforward inswinger to the edge of the six-yard box. But with Reina rooted to his line and the Liverpool centrebacks missing in action, Adebayor was able to nod his side into the lead.
Sami Hyypia in particular will not enjoy watching the replays. The Finn, who had spurned the best of Liverpool's early half-chances when he miscontrolled Xabi Alonso's cute ball into the box, was conspicuously static as Adebayor rose unchallenged in front of him.
The home side's celebrations were quickly curtailed however by the brilliant improvisation of Gerrard at the end of a counter-attack that the Liverpool captain had launched himself.
The move appeared to be running out of steam when Ryan Babel over-ran the ball on the left of the box. Fortunately for Liverpool, it trundled into the path of Fernando Torres and the Spaniard's lay-off gave Gerrard the platform to work his magic through the inside-left channel.
Emmanuel Eboue bought a dummy, Kolo Toure was side-stepped and Flamini was left trailing before the Liverpool captain cut the ball back across goal for Kuyt to bundle the equaliser over the line from close range.
Manuel Almunia did well to deny Kuyt a second goal in the opening minute of the second half after the Dutchman had latched on to a Martin Skrtel knockdown.
Theo Walcott, a half-time replacement for van Persie, responded with a flash of his exhilarating pace followed by a drive that whistled past Reina's left hand post from over 30 yards.
Understandably wary of travelling to Anfield without a lead, Arsenal began to turn the screw and, after Skrtel had cleared Adebayor's hooked shot off the line, the Londoners were unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty when Hleb appeared to be manhandled by Kuyt as he wriggled into space deep in the box.
Arsenal's frustration was understandable but it was only to be exacerbated as Fabregas fired a 20-yard effort then prodded an Adebayor cross goalwards only to see his own team-mate, substitute Nicklas Bendtner, block the ball on his own line in a near comical moment that pretty much summed up the Gunner's night.
Fenerbahçe - Chelsea: 2 - 1
Fenerbahce midfielder Deivid went from zero to hero as his side came from behind to beat Chelsea 2-1 in Wednesday's Champions League quarter-final, first leg.
Deivid had looked like the villain of the peace when he gifted Chelsea the lead with an early own goal at the Sukru Saracoglu stadium.
But the Turkish champions snatched an equaliser through Colin Kazim-Kazim midway through the second half and Deivid made amends for his earlier blunder with a breath-taking winner nine minutes from full-time.
How Chelsea left Istanbul empty-handed only they will know. They were in complete control and should have been further in front before Kazim-Kazim struck.
Avram Grant's side will still believe they can overturn the deficit in the return at Stamford Bridge next week but the task is far harder than it should have been.
Fenerbahce had never been this far in the competition before and Chelsea's visit was billed as the biggest match in their history.
As the club's volatile fans crammed into the stadium hours before kick-off, whipping the atmosphere to fever pitch, it was easy to see why they were unbeaten in the last 11 home European matches.
In such a seething cauldron of noise, Grant needed Chelsea's stars to show their greater experience at this rarified level.
Every touch by a Chelsea player was greeted with an ear-splitting barrage of whistles, but Grant's side have survived equally hostile environments many times before.
They made an assured start and scored with their first serious attack in the 13th minute.
Frank Lampard cleverly dummied Ashley Cole's pass, allowing Florent Malouda to find space on the left side of the penalty area. He drove a low cross towards Didier Drogba and Deivid tried to clear but only succeeded in deflecting the ball past by wrong-footed keeper Volkan Demirel into his own net.
Confidence now flowing, Michael Essien almost doubled Chelsea's lead moments later with a swerving 25-yard strike that skimmed the crossbar.
Fenerbahce were struggling to match their fans' fevour and Drogba threatened midway through the half when he headed Essien's cross past the far post.
Drogba's muscular presence unsettled Zico's team time and again. He easily turned Gokcek Vederson to fire in a powerful shot that Demirel pushed away.
With the hosts in disarray, Michael Ballack had yards of space to produce a majestic defence-splitting pass to Drogba. The Ivorian striker was only denied a goal by Demirel's charge from his line to hack clear.
The hosts could only improve after half-time and finally put together an attack of note when Alex glanced a header wide from Onder Turaci's cross.
Kazim-Kazim was an unlikely savour for Fenerbahce. He was called Kazim-Richards when he was bought by Brighton with a transfer fee donated by a fan who won a League Cup competition but changed his name after moving to Turkey last year.
He certainly added some fizz to his side and Mateja Kezman responded with an overhead kick which Carlo Cudicini blocked at his near post.
Ballack's long-range effort drew a fine save from Demirel as Chelsea responded. Then out of nowhere Fenerbahce equalised as Grant's side were caught sleeping at the back in the 65th minute.
Mehmet Aurelio's pass cut out Chelsea's centre-backs and Kazim-Richards timed his run perfectly before lashing past Cudicini.
Ballack should have restored Chelsea's lead moments later but Demirel saved well to frustrate the German again. How Chelsea would rue that miss.
There seemed little danger when Deivid took possession 30 yard out in the 81st minute. He quickly disproved that theory with a stunning strike that arrowed into the top corner. Now Chelsea have it all to do.
Date created : 2008-04-02