Fri, Mar 26, 2004 - Page 23 News List

Real Madrid lines up shot at title

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Real Madrid had its hands full with Monaco, but was able to muster up a solid win. Arsenal gained a slight edge with an away goal in a 1-1 draw against Chelsea

AP LONDON

Monaco's Patrice Evra, left, and Real Madrid's midfielder Luis Figo jump for the ball during their Champions League match, at Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid, Wednesday.

PHOTO: AFP

Real Madrid rallied for a 4-2 victory over Monaco on Wednesday, putting the nine-time European champions in perfect position for another shot at Europe's biggest club title.

In the other Champions League quarterfinal first-leg match, Arsenal gained a slight edge with an away goal in a 1-1 draw at Premier League rival Chelsea.

On Tuesday, defending champion AC Milan and FC Porto also took big steps toward the semifinals. Milan rallied to defeat Spain's Deportivo 4-1 and Porto defeated French leaders Lyon 2-0.

The second legs are April 6-7.

In the semifinals, the Arsenal-Chelsea winner faces the Real Madrid-Monaco winner and AC Milan or Deportivo face Porto or Lyon. The first leg is April 20-21 with the second leg May 4-5. The final is May 26 in Gelsenkirchen, Germany.

"We began cold like the weather but in the second half things changed and we gained an important advantage," Real Madrid winger Luis Figo said. "We've had a hard week and our minds were set on this game. The team should get through to the next round."

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger acknowledged the Gunners had the advantage.

"We cannot complain," said Wenger, whose team is shooting for the treble -- league, FA Cup and Champions League title. "It's a good outcome for us tonight and a good opportunity for us to go through."

Chelsea's goal scorer Eidur Gudjohnsen agreed.

"They have the advantage, now we have to go to their place and score," Gudjohnsen said. "We definitely have to do the business when we go to Highbury."

"One-nil would have been perfect, but it's not lost yet. It's only halftime."

In Madrid, Monaco took a 1-0 lead in the 43rd when Sebastien Squillaci scored after poor Real Madrid defending. Squillaci took a ball bouncing loose in the area and guided it home from 6m. Then Real turned up the pressure.

The nine-time European champions equalized in the 51st minute on Ivan Helguera's close-in goal. Zinedine Zidane made it 2-1 with 20 minutes left, driving home a right-footed drive after 'keeper Flavio Roma stopped an initial shot with the Frenchman scoring on the rebound.

Figo scored in the 77th, heading a ball home after Roma stopped his penalty kick. Ronaldo made it 4-1 in the 81st on a left-footed shot off a Zidane pass.

Former Real Madrid star Fernando Morientes scored for Monaco in the 83rd on an 8m header.

In London, English rivals Chelsea and Arsenal played a lackluster first half with Arsenal -- with three wins already this season over Chelsea -- looking content to settle for a 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea also played cautiously, trying not to give Arsenal an away goal.

Gudjohnsen scored in the 53rd, capitalizing on an error by Arsenal 'keeper Lens Lehmann. Lehmann came out to kick the ball away but Icelander chased the ball down, blocked Lehmann's kick, and then left-footed the ball home from a sharp angle.

Robert Pires equalized in the 59th, chipping in a header from 8m off a perfect pass from Ashley Cole.

Chelsea has lost three previous games this season to Arsenal -- 2-1 in each game -- and has now failed to beat Arsenal in 17 matches.

In Milan on Tuesday, Walter Pandiani's away goal gave Deportivo a 1-0 lead in the 11th minute, but the hosts came back with four goals.

In Porto, Deco put the Portuguese league leaders ahead in the 44th, deflecting a volley past Lyon goalkeeper Gregory Coupet.

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