Tag Archives: quarter

Basle v Chelsea – live Europa League

EUROPA LEAGUE LIVE: Basle v Chelsea – follow the semi-final as it happens from St Jakob-Park

By
Dan Ripley

PUBLISHED:

03:00 GMT, 25 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

17:17 GMT, 25 April 2013

Live scores

Click here for the live goals as they go in

Basle v Chelsea

Fenerbahce v Benfica

Follow Sportsmail's coverage of the Europa League as Chelsea visit Basle in the first leg of their semi-final at St Jakob-Park.

The Blues remain on course to win a European trophy in successive years following last season's Champions League triumph, but face a tough test when they travel to the Swiss league leaders.

Basle have already proven their pedigree against Premier League opposition having eliminated Tottenham in a penalty shootout in the quarter-finals.

Send me your thoughts on the action at [email protected] or via Twitter @Ripinho.

*This page will auto refresh every two minutes*

18.16: From Sportsmail's Neil Ashton:

Interesting Chelsea team in training last night. Luiz defensive midfield, Ramires right, Moses left, Hazard in behind Nando, but no Mata.

18.13: If that's not good enough for you though, if the Europa League ends up at Stamford Bridge this season, Chelsea will become only the fourth side to win all three of UEFA's major club competitions.

They would join Juventus, Ajax and Bayern Munich (good company) in having won the Europa League, the Champions League and the European Cup-Winners' Cup.

Chelsea won the latter in 1970/71 and 1997/98 and it's still a competition I miss after being scrapped in 1999 (bring it back UEFA!)

The Italian job: Chelsea's Gianfranco Zola and Gianluca Vialli lift the 1998 European Cup-Winners' Cup

The Italian job: Chelsea's Gianfranco Zola and Gianluca Vialli lift the 1998 European Cup-Winners' Cup

18.10: For a club often accused of lacking history compared to its current stature, you sure can't fault Chelsea's recent record at trying to make up for lost time.

After becoming the first London club to be crowned European champions last year, the Blues are now attempting to become the first team to win the Europa League a year after becoming champions of Europe.

It's not quite the desired order to achieve the double – but it's uncharted territory nonetheless.

18.05: Kick-off is not for another two hours but we have plenty to keep us going between now and then, including the team news which should be with us in around an hour's time – possibly quicker.

18.00:
At many times this season, the Chelsea ship has taken a number of
hammer blows and has looked anything but stable, but for all the
turbulence we have seen at Stamford Bridge, the Blues are
just one step away from yet another European final.

Rafael Benitez may not be a manager
remembered fondly by the majority of the west London club's fans, but the Spaniard is on the brink of leading Chelsea into the record books

Good evening folks, welcome to Sportsmail's live coverage of the Europa League semi-finals.

var timeout = setTimeout(“location.reload(true);”,120000);
function resetTimeout()
clearTimeout(timeout);
timeout = setTimeout(“location.reload(true);”,120000);

On the charge: Chelsea remain on course to lift the Europa League trophy

On the charge: Chelsea remain on course to lift the Europa League trophy

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE SEMI-FINAL DRAW: Bayern Munich v Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund v Real Madrid

Wembley Clasico on the cards after Barca draw Bayern and Real Madrid to take on Dortmund in Champions League semi-final

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

10:33 GMT, 12 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

10:59 GMT, 12 April 2013

There is the chance of a Clasico in the Wembley final of the Champions League as Real Madrid and Barcelona were kept apart in this morning's semi-final draw.

Jose Mourinho's Real were drawn against Borussia Dortmund whereas Barcelona are set to take on Bayern Munich, meaning if both teams dispatch their German opponents they will meet in the final at Wembley on May 25.

Dortmund are the only unbeaten team remaining in the competition, and will be pitted against Real for the second time in this season's tournament. The Bundesliga holders won a tough group which included Real, Manchester City and Ajax.

On course: Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid could take the Champions League crown at Wembley

On course: Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid could take the Champions League crown at Wembley

SEMI-FINAL DRAW

Bayern Munich v Barcelona

Borussia Dortmund v Real Madrid

Runaway Bundesliga leaders Bayern
Munich are in sensational form in the competition, having beaten
Juventus in the quarter-finals.

Dortmund scraped their way into the semi-finals, after two stoppage-time goals against Malaga at the Westfalenstadion.

Pep Guardiola's loyalties will be split when Barca take on Bayern with both sides hoping to win their fifth European Cup.

He led the Catalan giants to two Champions League trophies during his remarkably successful tenure in Barcelona.

But he will be hoping for future glories with Bayern Munich, who he will take charge of next season when Jupp Heynckes leaves his post.

Veterans: Bayern Munich beat Juventus over two legs to reach the semi-final

Veterans: Bayern Munich beat Juventus over two legs to reach the semi-final

Overjoyed: Borussia Dortmund keeper Roman Weidenfeller (left) celebrates after a dramatic win over Malaga

Overjoyed: Borussia Dortmund keeper Roman Weidenfeller (left) celebrates after a dramatic win over Malaga

Like Guardiola, Mourinho has a taste
for success in the Champions League and could become the first ever
manager to win the competition with three different clubs.

Having won the tournament with Porto and Inter Milan, he is looking to guide Real to the trophy for the first time since 2002.

Former Manchester United and Real Madrid striker Ruud van Nistelrooy drew the teams in Nyon, and was glad of the outcome.

History boy: Jose Mourinho wants to become the only manager to win the Champions League with three clubs

History boy: Jose Mourinho wants to become the only manager to win the Champions League with three clubs

On the Dortmund and Real Madrid tie,
the Dutchman told Sky Sports : 'I think over two games [with] the
quality of Real Madrid they should beat Borussia Dortmund. But this is
football and anything can happen… you can never trust these things.'

When asked to compare his former
team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, he added: 'Messi, you
can't knock him but at this moment in time Cristiano has just got the
edge.'

The
first legs of the semi-finals will be played on April 23 and April 24,
with the second legs taking place on April 30 and May 1.

Top of the charts: Cristiano Ronaldo netted twice against Galatasaray in the second leg

Top of the charts: Cristiano Ronaldo netted twice against Galatasaray in the second leg

Just about: Lionel Messi came off the bench to help Barcelona progress on away goals over PSG

Just about: Lionel Messi came off the bench to help Barcelona progress on away goals over PSG

Dortmund hoping Champions League history repeats itself

Dortmund hoping history repeats itself as they take on Malaga for place in Champions League semi-finals

By
Darren Witcoop

PUBLISHED:

12:55 GMT, 3 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

13:02 GMT, 3 April 2013

Borussia Dortmund will still remain dark horses to win the Champions League, but the omens might just be in their favour if they can progress beyond Malaga in the quarter-final showdown.

Dortmund have given up the ghost retaining the Bundesliga title with runaway leaders Bayern Munich destined for the trophy.

But in Europe, it is a different matter all together.

Star man: Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski helped knock out Shakhtar Donetsk in the last-16 tie

Star man: Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski helped knock out Shakhtar Donetsk in the last-16 tie

Masked man: Dortmund defender Marcel Schmelzer will be forced to wear a mask in Malaga

Masked man: Dortmund defender Marcel Schmelzer will be forced to wear a mask in Malaga

There is little doubt Dortmund, who have already knocked out Manchester City, are an emerging team under highly-rated manager Juergen Klopp.

Now Malaga, another of the season's surprise packages, stand in their way of a semi-final place.

Dortmund's only ever win in Spain came in the same season when they won Europe's biggest club competition in 1997.

A coincidence or destiny Only time will tell.

No panic: Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp and Brazilian defender Felipe Santana are in relaxed mood ahead of the last-four tie

No panic: Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp and Brazilian defender Felipe Santana are in relaxed mood ahead of the last-four tie

But Klopp claims Dortmund's 2-1 bruising win over Stuttgart on the weekend, which took its toll on his players, was ideal preparation for the first-leg challenge that lies ahead.

'We got manhandled', he said.

'At times I was worried about the health of my players.

'But it was a good preparation for the Champions League game in Malaga, because they fly into challenges with just as much intensity.'

Despite their underdog tag, Malaga, the Qatari-backed side who were in Spain's Second Division just five years ago, will not just roll over.

Top job: Manuel Pellegrini has defied the odds to lead Malaga into the quarter-finals

Top job: Manuel Pellegrini has defied the odds to lead Malaga into the quarter-finals

The money might have dried up at this cash-strapped club but they have still punched above their weight this season.

As well as reaching the last eight of the Champions League, they are also in the hunt for a top-four finish in La Liga although UEFA have banned them from playing European football next season due to outstanding debts.

'Nobody gave us a chance at the start and yet the players have responded so well,” said coach Manuel Pellegrini.

'We eliminated Porto and that represented a huge achievement for the side. We don't want our run to end here.'

Prized possession: Isco is wanted by Europe's leading clubs

Prized possession: Isco is wanted by Europe's leading clubs

Dortmund will be favourites to progress but they have been hit with injuries.

Marcel Schmelzer will need a face-mask but is likely to play, despite breaking his nose against Stuttgart.

Jakub Blaszczykowski has travelled but is struggling to overcome a groin injury.

Midfielders Sven Bender and Kevin Grosskreutz (ankle) are doubts and Mats Hummels is certain to miss out.

Robert Lewandowski, who has scored 13 goals in as many games, will lead the line and will be supported by Mario Goetze and Marco Reus.

In contrast, Malaga have few injury worries.

Portuguese winger Eliseu has been ruled out with a knee ligament injury but defender Diego Lugano is likely to return.

Ignacio Camacho and Duda are also back in contention after serving suspensions and star striker Isco will start.

Jonny Wilkinson signs one-year contract extension to prolong career at Toulon

Wilkinson signs one-year contract extension to prolong career at Toulon

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

11:20 GMT, 30 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:20 GMT, 30 March 2013

Jonny Wilkinson has revealed he canvassed the opinions of fellow fly-half stars Matt Giteau and Frederic Michalak before electing to extend his career for a further year.

The 33-year-old England World Cup winner spent the winter debating whether to continue his successful stint at wealthy French club Toulon or retire.

The pain of a long-standing groin problem was tipping the balance towards retirement, but following the success of a recent operation, he says another season is now in his sights.

On the up: Jonny Wilkinson has led Toulon into the Heineken Cup quarter finals this season

On the up: Jonny Wilkinson has led Toulon into the Heineken Cup quarter finals this season

St George: Wilkinson plays alongside Englishmen Andrew Sheridan, Simon Shaw and the Armitage brothers

St George: Wilkinson plays alongside Englishmen Andrew Sheridan, Simon Shaw and the Armitage brothers

Discussing his recent operation in The Times, Wilkinson said: 'I didn't know if it was going to work, but it has given me the ability to go out and work hard, to recover and go again.

'From November through to January, I was thinking: end of career.'

Wilkinson said the views of Toulon team-mates Giteau and Michalak were taken into account before he decided to play on.

'These are guys who play inside and outside me and both play in my position too, so there is no better position to have to see if they think I am doing a good job,' he said.

Crunch match: Toulon face an tough quarter final in the south of France when they host Leicester

Crunch match: Toulon face an tough quarter final in the south of France when they host Leicester

'I also wanted to know where they see their futures. Am I in the way of their future Am I helping their future Do they feel comfortable playing alongside me I was more than willing to hear.

'These are guys for whom I have such great respect, guys from whom you want to hear the negative stuff.

'But they were really honest and I got the impression that they wanted me there.'

Champagne moment: Wilkinson will always be remembered for his drop-goal to win the 2003 World Cup

Champagne moment: Wilkinson will always be remembered for his drop-goal to win the 2003 World Cup

Wilkinson stepped down from the international game just over a year ago following a stellar Test career, but his name continues to be linked with the British and Irish Lions squad to tour Australia.

While refusing to rule himself out of contention, he admits he has had no contact with head coach Warren Gatland and considers himself a left-field selection.

'The Lions is so exciting,' he said. 'I would certainly welcome the opportunity, though I'm not sure why my name would be mentioned.

'I'm not thinking, ''I'm in with a shout''.

'The young guys in international rugby are the ones taking the sport forward.'

Honoured: Wilkinson won an MBE for his exploits at the World Cup

Honoured: Wilkinson won an MBE for his exploits at the World Cup

NextGen Series: Arsenal and Chelsea on course to meet in semi-finals, while Aston Villa play Sporting Lisbon

Arsenal and Chelsea on collision course in NextGen semi-finals as Villa face Sporting

By
Adam Shergold

PUBLISHED:

16:06 GMT, 21 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:06 GMT, 21 March 2013

Arsenal and Chelsea are on a collision course in the semi-finals of the NextGen Series.

If the young Gunners side can beat CSKA Moscow at the Emirates Stadium on Monday night, they will face their London rivals in the last four.

Aston Villa, who beat Olympiakos 1-0 last night to progress, will play Sporting Lisbon, who beat Tottenham 5-3, in the other semi-final.

London Derby: Chelsea, who beat Juventus 4-1 in the quarter-finals, could face Arsenal in the last four of the NextGen Series

London Derby: Chelsea, who beat Juventus 4-1 in the quarter-finals, could face Arsenal in the last four of the NextGen Series

NextGen Series

QUARTER-FINAL RESULTS

(click for match report)

Chelsea 4 Juventus 1
Aston Villa 1 Olympiakos 0
Tottenham Hotspur 3 Sporting Lisbon 5 (aet)

REMAINING QUARTER-FINAL
Arsenal v CSKA Moscow – Monday March 25, 7pm (Emirates Stadium)

SEMI-FINAL DRAW
Chelsea v Arsenal/CSKA Moscow – Friday March 29, 3pm local time

Aston Villa v Sporting Lisbon – Friday March 29, 8pm local time

Both at Stadio G. Sinigaglia, Como, Italy

Both semis, as well as the final and third place play-off, will be played at Como FC in Italy over the Easter weekend.

Chelsea booked their place in the last four with a 4-1 win over Juventus last Sunday, thanks to goals from Lewis Baker, Alex Kiwomya and Islam Feruz.

Villa got through last night thanks to a first half strike from Graham Burke.

Sporting beat Spurs in a rollercoaster
match played at Leyton Orient – trailing 3-1 with minutes to spare,
they forced extra time thanks to a Laste Dombaxe penalty and Roman
Michael-Percil's last gasp equaliser.

However,
the Portuguese side proved stronger in extra time, with further strikes
from Alexandre Guedes and a 45-yard volley by defender Atud Fokobo
ending hopes of an all-English final four.

Arsenal will hope to join Chelsea and Villa when they host CSKA on Monday evening.

Winner: Graham Burke (centre) scored the winner as Aston Villa beat Olympiakos 1-0

Winner: Graham Burke (centre) scored the winner as Aston Villa beat Olympiakos 1-0

Dramatic game: Sporting's Ruben Semedo celebrates the penalty that restored his team's lead in extra time against Tottenham

Dramatic game: Sporting's Ruben Semedo celebrates the penalty that restored his team's lead in extra time against Tottenham

Northampton approach Scarlets over move for Wales winger George North

Northampton approach Scarlets over move for Wales winger North

PUBLISHED:

20:22 GMT, 19 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

20:23 GMT, 19 March 2013

George North's agent has revealed the Scarlets and Northampton are in talks over a possible move for the Wales winger.

The giant three-quarter has one year left on his contract with the west Wales region, and helped Wales retain their RBS 6 Nations crown with a record 30-3 victory over England in Cardiff.

The 20-year-old has previously been linked with a move to France, where several members of the current Wales squad ply their trade, but his agent, Christian Abt confirmed discussions are being held with the Saints.

Targeted: Wales international George North could join the Premiership

Targeted: Wales international George North could join the Premiership

He told the BBC: 'There has been an approach between the two clubs to discuss a possible transfer.'

'I don't think it will drag on too long,' he added.

'I think these things need to happen quite quickly if it's going to happen so that each party knows where they stand.

'It's counter-productive to sort of drag on and for the player as well to know where he will be, so ideally I'm sure it will resolve itself in the next couple of weeks.'

Six Nations winner: North is among Wales' key players

Six Nations winner: North is among Wales' key players

If a move is completed North, widely expected to feature on the British & Irish Lions tour of Australia, would become the latest Wales player to opt to play club rugby outside the principality.

Mike Phillips (Bayonne), James Hook (Perpignan), Luke Charteris (Perpignan), Aled Brew (Biarritz), Lee Byrne (Clermont) and Paul James (Bath) have already moved, while Jamie Roberts and Dan Lydiate are set to cross the Channel this summer.

The Scarlets said they would not discuss players' contracts publicly when contacted by Press Association Sport, while Northampton also declined to comment on Abt's remarks.

David Platt says Manchester City will fight until the end

We'll fight until the end, insists defiant City No 2 Platt despite United dominance

By
Andy Hampson, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

14:02 GMT, 17 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

08:15 GMT, 18 March 2013

Manchester City have vowed to fight to the end but only the most optimistic supporter would back them to retain their title now.

The champions have fallen a near-insurmountable 15 points behind rivals Manchester United at the top of the Barclays Premier League with just nine games remaining.

The latest blow came at Goodison Park as City were once again outplayed by their bogey side Everton, losing 2-0 after goals from Leon Osman and Nikica Jelavic.

Over the rainbow: David Platt says Manchester City will not give in

Over the rainbow: David Platt says Manchester City will not give in

City still play United next month but the objectives may be to salvage pride, delay the inevitable crowning of their neighbours and score a psychological blow ahead of a potential FA Cup semi-final meeting.

First-team coach David Platt said: 'Our intention is to win football matches, full stop.

'It doesn't change anything for us between now and the end of the season.

'Every game we go into we have a focus and a professionalism to try to win it. That is what we try to do, to ensure we finish as high up the table as we possibly can and to try to ensure we win the FA Cup.'

A week ago City produced one of their best performances of the season as they crushed Barnsley in the FA Cup quarter-finals. On the same day Everton crashed to an unsettling 3-0 loss to Wigan in the same competition.

The difference in both sides yesterday was considerable as Everton produced a display full of commitment and a determination to make amends.

City failed to compete with Everton's enthusiasm and were fortunate Kevin Mirallas had already had a goal harshly disallowed before Osman struck his superb opener after 32 minutes.

The visitors had chances to equalise, most notably when Jan Mucha denied James Milner and Pablo Zabaleta in the second half and they could have had a penalty late on. Marouane Fellaini was penalised for handling a Carlos Tevez shot but despite the Belgian being inside the area, a free-kick was awarded outside.

Denied: Carlos Tevez's strike was handled in the box by Marouane Fellaini (not pictured)

Denied: Carlos Tevez's strike was handled in the box by Marouane Fellaini (not pictured)

But Everton deservedly held out and they wrapped up the win in injury time as Fellaini broke clear and set up Jelavic.

It was City's sixth defeat by Everton in eight meetings and a fourth successive loss at Goodison since Roberto Mancini took charge.

Everton may have done City a huge favour by holding United in last season's run-in, but they still remain a huge thorn in their side.

With Mancini 'a bit angry' after the game, Platt said: 'It is never an easy place to come. You know you are going to get worked and the crowd are going to be up for it. You are always under a certain amount of pressure.'

City's prospects suffered before the game when talisman Yaya Toure was forced to pull out through illness.

Struggle: Roberto Mancini's only chance of silverware this season if the FA cup

Struggle: Roberto Mancini's only chance of silverware this season if the FA cup

He was sorely missed, as were injured duo Vincent Kompany and Sergio Aguero, but Platt offered no excuses.

Platt said: 'It doesn't help but that is what we have a squad for, people come in.

'We have got a little run of injuries and we lost Yaya on the eve of the game with migraine.

'We were without key players but that is the way it is.

'That is why we carry a squad, that is why everybody is capable of playing at this club. We have to get on with it.'

Sepp Blatter blasts UEFA on Euro 2020 that will lack "heart and soul"

Euro 2020 will lack heart and soul… we may as well not call it the Euros! Blatter blasts Platini over plan to host finals in 13 different countries

By
Graeme Yorke

PUBLISHED:

11:41 GMT, 14 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

13:52 GMT, 14 March 2013

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has denounced Michel Platini’s plans to stage the 2020 European Championship across the entire continent and called on UEFA to change the name of the tournament.

Euro 2020 will be held in 13 cities across the continent with the semi-finals and final being played in the same stadium, UEFA announced in January.

But Blatter isn’t impressed with the plans and believes one host country is the best way to deliver
the event.

Wrong: FIFA president Sepp Blatter has criticised Michel Platini's plans to use more than one country for the 2020 European Championship

Wrong: FIFA president Sepp Blatter has criticised Michel Platini's plans to use more than one country for the 2020 European Championship

Euro 2020 details so far

12 cities will host three group stage matches and one knockout round

One stadium will host the semi-finals and final

There will only be one venue per country

In the frame to host the final are Wembley, the Olympic Stadium in Istanbul and the Allianz Arena

He told Kicker magazine: ‘A tournament should be played in one country. That is how you create identity and euphoria.

‘They have fragmented the 2020 tournament. So it is not a European Championship any more. It has to have a different name.’

‘I do not know what name. Such a Euro lacks heart and soul.’

UEFA said that 12 cities would be
awarded a package of three group games plus one knockout-stage game,
either from the round-of-16 or quarter-finals.

A
special 13th package would be awarded, consisting of the two
semi-finals and final with UEFA eager to split the costs for the bigger
tournament and celebrate its 60th anniversary across Europe.

The Swiss sports administrator also said
he planned to end his stint at the top of the world soccer’s governing
body in 2015 if FIFA was strong and stable.

Coming home: Wembley is one of the favourites to host the final after the FA said they would bid

Coming home: Wembley is one of the favourites to host the final after the FA said they would bid

First class: The Allianz Arena in Munich hosted the Champions League final last season

First class: The Allianz Arena in Munich hosted the Champions League final last season

Close contest: The Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul is also thought to be in with a chance

Close contest: The Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul is also thought to be in with a chance

Blatter, who took over the FIFA presidency in 1998, added: ‘I want to push through the FIFA reforms at our congress in Mauritius in May, then we go to Brazil for the World Cup in 2014 and after that everything is open.

‘When it is secured that FIFA will
continue to be led like that, that it will remain global and the pyramid
will not collapse then I will gladly hand over the sceptre to a new
president.'

UEFA chief Michel Platini is seen as a possible successor to Blatter.

‘I do not know if he wants to,’ said Blatter. ‘He has an idea about the future of FIFA which he has to explain to the continents at some point. But he has not decided yet.’

On the rocks: Blatter and Michel Platini have usually had an amicable relationship

On the rocks: Blatter and Michel Platini have usually had an amicable relationship

Andy Murray beats Carlos Berlocq in straight sets to march into Indian Wells quarter-finals

Murray silences Berlocq with straight sets victory to march into Indian Wells last eight

By
Mike Dickson

PUBLISHED:

02:22 GMT, 14 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

06:07 GMT, 14 March 2013

Andy Murray fought out a niggly battle that did little to enhance relations between Britain and Argentina as he struggled to overcome the grunting Carlos Berlocq to reach the last eight of the BNP Paribas Open.

Amid accusations of deliberate stalling across the net and complaints to the umpire about the South American’s varied volume of lingering growl Murray eventually got the better of him in an ill-tempered affair, winning through 7-6 6-4 in an hour and 55 minutes.

He now meets another Argentinian in his fellow US Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro, and will be relieved that he does not have to listen the ghastly soundtrack of Berlocq, which he described as ‘the worst I’ve ever heard on the men’s tour.'

On a run: Andy Murray sailed past Carlos Berlocq and into the quarter-finals

On a run: Andy Murray sailed past Carlos Berlocq and into the quarter-finals

Murray was particularly aggrieved that he was being warned about time violations between points while having to put up baritone groan of his muscular opponent.

'I’ve never experienced before when I’ve had to speak to an umpire about it,' he said. 'I’ve never found it to be that off-putting. But if it’s going to be suggested that I’m using gamesmanship by taking too long between points then you can’t be making noises like that on court. He was still making a noise when I was hitting the ball, it’s annoying. There was silence and then it was extremely loud, that’s off-putting.'

You wish other players would speak up against the habit, which is more associated with the women’s tour, but they rarely do.

As Murray admitted afterwards, he will have to play better if he is to progress further. 'It wasn’t the prettiest match and I’ve got to improve on it, but conditions were quite tough,' he said. 'When we went out there it was bright and in the 90s and the ball was bouncing very high, but as it got cooler and the sun went down my timing got better.'

Hot streak: Murray is enjoying his best run of results at Indian Wells

Hot streak: Murray is enjoying his best run of results at Indian Wells

Certainly you would not have expected Berlocq – happiest on clay, ranked 85 and never having been past the second round of a Grand Slam – to mount such a challenge, but he went for broke and hit some glorious winners to discomfort his opponent.

Having had six weeks off after the Australian Open Murray is yet to look entirely into his rhtythm at this tournament, where he has struggled before, although the fact is he is through to the last eight for the loss of just one set.

The only thing that will linger about the match was the bad blood that developed between the players from early in the first set onwards. Murray usually only gets cross with himself and rarely falls out with opponents, but he did not enjoy the way the barrel-chested Berlocq played the game and did not hide his feelings.

Having started in awkward conditions of glaring sun and mixed shadows across the court, he complained to his box – that contained his regular celebrity supporter Kevin Spacey – that 'I can’t see the ball!' as breaks were exchanged.

Outgunned: Argentine Berlocq was swatted aside by the world No 3

Outgunned: Argentine Berlocq was swatted aside by the world No 3

In the tenth game the two players swapped accusations that they were deliberately stalling, umpire Steve Ulrich taking Murray’s side. Playing very conservatively he was broken, but broke back in the next game and gave a huge ‘C’mon!’ and fist pump in Berlocq’s face at the net.

The tiebreak was a tense affair, settled at 6-4 when a scrambling Murray sent up a high lob and the Argentinian blasted an overhead long.

By now the 25 year-old Scot was getting very frustrated with Berlocq’s grunt/growl, as offensive as anything you hear in the women’s game. He complained early in the second set to Ulrich, saying it was ‘outrageous.’

Murray, whose forehand never fired and whose serve was more tentative than usual, could not hold on to an early break as Berlocq continued to hit out with massive, heavily spun groundstrokes.

Finally he got ahead with a backhand lob to break for 4-3, and from there just about managed to serve it out, although not before he had to save another break point at 5-3.

No, it was not pretty, but it got the job done.

Arsene Wenger urges Arsenal players to complete the impossible dream by defeating Bayern Munich

Dream the impossible: Wenger urges players to defy the odds and complete the stunning turnaround in Munich

By
Jim Van Wijk, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

19:02 GMT, 12 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

19:16 GMT, 12 March 2013

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has challenged his players to produce a performance which will define their careers and knock Bayern Munich out of the Champions League against the odds tomorrow night.

The runaway Bundesliga leaders look all set to take their place in the quarter-finals having delivered a European masterclass in their 3-1 victory in north London three weeks ago.

Bayern's home defensive record is formidable and have not conceded three since losing to Inter Milan two years ago, while this season they have let in only 10 goals in 25 Bundesliga matches.

Prepared for battle: Arsene Wenger looks ready to take on the media during his press conference in Munich

Prepared for battle: Arsene Wenger looks ready to take on the media during his press conference in Munich

Still hopeful: Despite having to recover from their 3-1 first-leg defeat, Wenger believes his team still stand a chance of progressing tomorrow

Still hopeful: Despite having to recover from their 3-1 first-leg defeat, Wenger believes his team still stand a chance of progressing tomorrow

Despite his side having travelled to Bavaria without injured England midfielder Jack Wilshere, set for around three weeks out because of an ankle problem, and first-choice goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny rested, Wenger insists now is the perfect moment for his team to return all his belief with what would go down as one of the greatest European comebacks.

'I am convinced that if this team can find a big game, with a big win, you will see a completely different animal. This season we have fought to find that in the big games and we have another opportunity tomorrow night and I hope the team takes this chance,' Wenger said at the Allianz Arena tonight.

Chilling effect: Wenger is without injured star man Wilshere

Chilling effect: Wenger is without injured star man Wilshere for the trip to Germany

'I have a great respect for this team and its attitude and they have not been rewarded yet. It is important for the end to our season that we do it tomorrow.'

Despite everything seemingly stacked against them, Wenger insists it is not a case of Mission: Impossible.

He said: 'It is a difficult task, we know that, but we think it is not impossible.

Stepping in: Aaron Ramsey (second left) is more likely to start in Wilshere's absence

Stepping in: Aaron Ramsey (second left) is more likely to start in Wilshere's absence

'The only way to make it possible is to have a real go and play at our best tomorrow night, that is what we will do.

'I am confident we will be completely focused and up for it, and give it our best shot.

Keeping watch: Wenger (centre) during training before tomorrow's crunch clash

Keeping watch: Wenger (centre) during training before tomorrow's crunch clash

'Football is football – everything is possible.'