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巴萨轻取本菲卡进四强

2006-04-06 10:17

  BARCELONA, April 5 (Reuters) - Goals from Ronaldinho and Samuel Eto'o earned Barcelona a nervy 2-0 win at home to Benfica on Wednesday that set up a mouth-watering Champions League semi-final showdown against AC Milan.

  World Player of the Year Ronaldinho atoned for an earlier missed penalty when he steered home midway through the first half and Eto'o secured the victory by smashing into the roof of the net two minutes before the final whistle.

  The goals secured the Catalans a 2-0 aggregate win and allowed them to book a place in the last four for the third time in seven seasons where they will be joined by fellow Primera Liga side Villarreal, who beat Inter Milan on Tuesday.

  Frank Rijkaard's side looked edgy throughout but Benfica failed to take advantage and wasted their best chance of the match when Simao Sabrosa lashed wide with the goal at his mercy on the hour.

  Barca, who have struggled to score in recent games, were given the perfect chance to settle their nerves just five minutes into the game at the Nou Camp. Benfica midfielder Petit conceded a penalty after he cut out a Mark van Bommel pass with his hand just inside the area.

  Ronaldinho stepped up to take the spot kick but Marcelo Moretto, who had denied Barca with an inspired performance in the first leg, produced a spectacular full-stretch save to stop the Brazilian's mid-height shot.

  The Catalans suffered another setback four minutes later when midfielder Deco was booked for kicking Moretto as he challenged for the ball in the area, incurring a suspension that will keep him out of the first leg of the semi-final against Milan.

  ELECTRIFYING RUN

  Striker Eto'o turned the tie when he unlocked the Benfica defence with an electrifying solo run after he had snapped the ball off the feet of Beto, exchanged passes with Henrik Larsson and then charged down the right wing.

  The Cameroon international scorched past Luisao and cut the ball back into the area to the unmarked Ronaldinho, who side-footed home from 10 metres out.

  Van Bommel had a great chance to make it 2-0 before the break with a sharp shot after he found space in the area but Moretto denied the Dutchman with his outstretched foot.

  Benfica, who eliminated European champions Liverpool in the last round, had a great opportunity to turn the table on the Catalans on the hour when Italian forward Fabrizio Miccoli found the unmarked Sabrosa with a clever pass over the heads of the Barca defence.

  But the former Barcelona player sliced wide of the post as keeper Victor Valdes struggled to regain his position.

  Barca never looked comfortable with their lead and substitute Giorgos Karagounis gave them a scare three minutes from time with a searing drive that Valdes did well to beat clear.

  But Eto'o put the tie beyond doubt a minute later when he put the finishing touch to a lightning counter-attack started by Ronaldinho.

  Controlling the ball with his chest in the area after a gleaming first-time pass from French midfielder Ludovic Giuly, the Cameroon striker let the ball drop and then fired high into the net past the despairing Moretto.

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