The Posse prepares to ride east; and galactic woes in Spain
The European Champions League and UEFA Cup are both down to the semifinals next week April 20-22 and each features one English Channel showdown and one Iberian matchup. Champs League goes first, with Chelsea v. Monaco on Tuesday, and Portugal's Porto v. Deportivo La Coruna of Spain on Wednesday. Both games will be shown live on ESPN2, both at 1:30pm. The UEFA Cup semis, both on Thursday, feature Spaniards Valencia v. Villareal on one side, and Liverpool v. Marseille on the other. Notably absent from the late rounds are any clubs from Italy, which dominated the competition last year. Marseille knocked the last Italian survivor, Inter Milan, out of the UEFA Cup as we went to press Wednesday, while Bordeaux, Glasgow Celtic, and Holland's PSV Eindhoven bowed out as well.
The woes continue to mount for Real Madrid's team of superstars. Tabbed "Los Galacticos" and hailed for most of the year as one of the best teams ever assembled, Real was upset in the finals of the Spanish Cup, then knocked out of the Champions League last week, then on Saturday lost their first home game of the season to drop out of the lead in the Spanish League. Favored a few weeks ago to win three trophies this year, Real now looks like they might not get any.