Another Nice Day for the Home Sides


Paolo Guerrero and Hamburg Push City to the Brink

Three of the four UEFA Cup ties in the first leg of the quarterfinal round went to the home sides while the fourth ended in a harmless nil-nil draw.

After Stephen Ireland scored in literally the first minute of action for Manchester City, Hamburg responded with three goals of their own and gave Hamburg a 3-1 home victory at the AOL Arena. Joris Mathijsen answered almost immediately with his 9th minute goal while Piotr Trochowski (penalty) and Jose Paolo Guerrero broke the match open with their mid-late second half goals. The fact that City lost away is not at all surprising as that has been their regular status domestically. Perhaps salvaging an away goal will give them an advantage on the return at Eastlands.

At the RSK Olimpiyskiy, Tomas Hubschman and Rodrigues Jadson straddled half-time with their goals as Shakhtar Donetsk defeated Olympique Marseille 2-0 in Ukraine. Amazingly, at this late stage in a European competition, the biggest rivalry in Ukraine could come to pass in a final in Istanbul (Shakhtar-Dynamo).

Diego continued his fine run of form for Werder Bremen in the UEFA Cup by tallying a brace at the Weserstadion in a 3-1 victory over Udinese. Hugo Almeida gave Bremen a 3-0 lead before Fabio Quagliarella scored a very late goal to at least tack one away goal on the board for Udinese. This match up is a very important one for Italy in general as Udinese are the last Italian club left in Europe. If they cannot earn a spot in the semi-finals or finals, it is possible that Italy would earn only three Champions League positions rather than the four they currently enjoy (I think not until the 2010-11 season though).

Finally, a relatively calm match saw Paris Saint-Germain host a nil-nil draw with Dynamo Kiev. While PSG have to be pleased that their efforts resulted in a clean sheet at home, they’ll need to be more active while in Kiev to advance through to the semi-finals.

The return legs will be played next week.

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