Saturday, December 16, 2006


Liverpool Stand in Barca's Way

FC Barcelona have been paired with Liverpool FC following today's UEFA Champions League first knockout round draw in a meeting of the last two trophy winners.

Camp Nou return
The holders and Spanish champions will welcome the five-time European champions to Camp Nou for the first leg of the tie before making the return trip to Anfield. In another eye-catching fixture, European football's most successful club, Real Madrid CF, who have lifted the trophy nine times, face FC Bayern München, German champions and winners of the European Champion Clubs' Cup on four occasions, the last in 2001. The matches will be played over two legs on 20/21 February and 6/7 March.

Mourinho reunion
Elsewhere, FC Porto have been drawn against English title-holders Chelsea FC, managed by their former coach José Mourinho, who led the Portuguese standard-bearers to their second continental crown in 2004. Celtic FC, Britain's first kings of Europe in 1967 who have progressed beyond the UEFA Champions League group stage for the first time, will encounter AC Milan, who have claimed the trophy six times. French champions Olympique Lyonnais, losing quarter-finalists in the last three seasons, tackle AS Roma, finalists in 1984 yet knockout phase debutants. Meanwhile, FC Internazionale Milano, twice tournament supremos in the 1960s, will travel to Valencia CF, finalists in 2000 and 2001, for their first leg.

Arsenal task
The Netherlands' finest, PSV Eindhoven, who collected the European Cup in 1988, will take on last year's runners-up Arsenal FC – the teams were also drawn together in the 2002/03 and 2004/05 group stages. Finally, LOSC Lille Métropole, in their third UEFA Champions League campaign, are the opposition for Manchester United, European champions in 1968 and 1999, who finished behind the French side in last term's group stage.

Fascinating ties
In the ceremony conducted at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, the eight winners of the group stage pools were paired with teams that finished second. No clubs from the same association could be pitted together, while sides that met in the group stage were also kept apart. This year's final will be staged in Athens on 23 May 2007.

The Draw is Shown Below

FC Porto (POR) v Chelsea FC (ENG)

Celtic FC (SCO) v AC Milan (ITA)

LOSC Lille Métropole (FRA) v Manchester United FC (ENG)

PSV Eindhoven (NED) v Arsenal FC (ENG)

AS Roma (ITA) v Olympique Lyonnais (FRA)

FC Barcelona v Liverpool FC (ENG)

Real Madrid CF (ESP) v FC Bayern München (GER)

FC Internazionale Milano (ITA) v Valencia CF (ESP)

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