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15.12.06

Barcelona to face Liverpool



December 16, 2006 - 9:36AM
The Sydney Morning Herald.

FC Barcelona and Liverpool, the last two champions of Europe, were drawn against each other for the first knockout round of the Champions League.

Barcelona, who qualified for the last 16 after a shaky group campaign, will play the first leg of the two-leg clash at their Nou Camp stadium in February.

Another mouth-watering two-leg match-up for the next phase of the competition will be FC Porto's clashes with English champions Chelsea.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho led the Portuguese side to the Champions League title in 2004 before joining the London club and leading them to two consecutive Premiership titles.

FC Porto general manager Antero Henrique said he was anticipating the chance to get one over on his club's former coach.

"Are we going to call up Jose Mourinho before the match? No, afterwards to perhaps tell him, 'sorry for winning'," Henrique quipped.

Manchester United, who lead Mourinho's side by five points in the Premiership race, were given a boost after being drawn with French side Lille, who are making their first appearance in the last 16.

Lille's assistant general manager Jerome Lestir said it was a dream tie but one which was tempered by the formidable challenge ahead of them.

"We've got a lot of respect for United, but we can't afford to give them too much either," Lestir said.

Group G winners Arsenal, beaten finalists last year, will also be happy having been drawn against Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven.

The fifth British side in the competition, Celtic, were drawn against AC Milan, who dramatically lost the final to Liverpool in 2005, having won the trophy two years earlier.

Elsewhere French champions Lyon, one of the big favourites to go all the way this season, were given a manageable draw to AS Roma.

On form Serie A leaders Inter Milan were drawn with Spanish side Valencia, twice beaten finalists of Europe's premier club competition while nine-times winners Real Madrid were drawn against German champions Bayern Munich.

Real and Bayern last met in the competition in 2003-2004 when Zinedine Zidane scored a second leg winner to fire the Spanish giants into the quarter-finals.

Draw

FC Porto (POR) v Chelsea (ENG)

Celtic (SCO) v AC Milan (ITA)

PSV Eindhoven (NED) v Arsenal (ENG)

Lille (FRA) v Manchester United (ENG)

AS Roma (ITA) v Lyon (FRA)

Barcelona (ESP) v Liverpool (ENG)

Real Madrid (ESP) v Bayern Munich (GER)

Inter Milan (ITA) v Valencia (ESP)

(Matches to be played - first round on February 20/21 and return leg on March 6/7)

AFP

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