Thursday, 8 March 2007

Milan and Roma await Athens fate

AC Milan and Roma are two of eight teams from five countries that will be involved in Friday's draw for the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals in Athens, with the ceremony at the Megaron International Conference Centre beginning at 11am (UK Time).

Since the 1997 final in Munich it has been traditional for the previous season's winners to formally return the trophy and then handed to the host city to be put on display until the final. Barcelona's exit at the hands of Liverpool on Tuesday night, however, means no side has successfully defended the Champions League title since the competition was revamped for the 1992/93 campaign.

Liverpool are one of three English sides in the last eight, joining Manchester United and Premiership champions Chelsea.

German giants Bayern Munich - European champions on four occasions, 1988 winners PSV Eindhoven of the Netherlands and Valencia of Spain - who ended Inter's run on Tuesday - complete the lineup.

Barcelona handed the trophy back to new UEFA President Michel Platini, who will in turn pass it on to the Mayor of Athens, Nikitas Kaklamanis, for the city to display to the public until the 23 May final at the Olympic Stadium.

The draws for the quarter-finals and semi-finals will be made in the host city of a final for the second time following Paris last year. No teams will be seeded, and sides from the same country may play each other.

This means Roma, who impressively ended Lyon's hopes of a fourth successive quarter-final with a 2-0 win in France on Tuesday, and Milan, could meet in the quarter-finals. Milan needed extra time to get past Celtic 1-0 on Wednesday night.

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