Monday, 23 March 2009

Road to Rome looks rosy

Sir Alex Ferguson was understandably delighted with Friday's draw for the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

The road to Rome sees the current holders face 2004 winners Porto in the last eight of Europe's elite club competition ahead of a last-four meeting against the winners of the Arsenal-Villarreal clash.

It means Ferguson's side have avoided English opposition and the giant banana skin that is Barcelona, while dark horses Bayern Munich have also been given an almighty swerve.

Jesualdo Ferreira's men won't cause Ferguson too many sleepless nights – the Portuguese giants have not reached the quarter-finals of the competition since they won the trophy five years ago under the stewardship of Jose Mourinho.

The experienced Scot was quick to dismiss any suggestion of an easy ride, but United should have the resources to prevent the embarrassment of an early exit.

United will also have to shackle Argentina forward and principal threat Lisandro López, who has scored six goals in eight appearances this season.

"This is a good draw for us," Ferguson told the official club website.

"You sometimes wonder if being at home first is a good or a bad thing but I think in this modern-day competition there's no indication of what is better.

"The only thing you hope is that you don't lose a goal in the home tie."

The first leg will take place at Old Trafford on Tuesday April 7, with the second leg in Portugal on Wednesday April 15.

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