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Reds win praise for Real demolition

LIVERPOOL'S 4-0 thrashing of Real Madrid on Tuesday received widespread praise yesterday, while the Spaniards were mauled back home.

Leading 1-0 from the first leg, Liverpool sent Real crashing to its heaviest defeat in the Champions League era with The Times declaring it "a result that will resonate through Europe and go down in the modern history of both clubs."

The Merseysiders eased into the quarterfinals with two goals from a dominant Steven Gerrard, making his 100th European appearance, and one apiece from Spaniard Fernando Torres and substitute Andrea Dossena.

The Daily Mail said Liverpool simply "pulverized" Real.

"There is no other word for it," wrote columnist Martin Samuel. "Fittingly for a team nicknamed The Meringues (Los Merengues), Real Madrid were splattered and dispersed over a wide area of Anfield in the manner of an airy fairy dessert.

"One that has been run over by a steamroller. Then another one then. Then a herd of rampaging elephants. Driving more steamrollers."

Spanish newspapers were also unanimous in their praise for Liverpool and in their condemnation of Real's woeful performance, noting that the English side had taught the nine-time champion a lesson in how to play in Europe.

Pictures of a tearful-looking Iker Casillas contrasted with shots of his jubilant international colleague Torres, and the Spanish champion was variously dismissed as "pathetic," "lamentable" and "provincial."

"Madrid humiliated in Europe", "Liverpool, white cemetery" and "Madrid crash to earth" were among the headlines in Spain.

The 5-0 aggregate scoreline would have been far wider were it not for a string of fine saves by Spain keeper Iker Casillas, and the limitations of Real's squad were made glaringly clear.

Liverpool's Premier League rival Chelsea drew 2-2 with Juventus in Turin to progress 3-2 on aggregate.

Bundesliga side Bayern Munich cantered into the last eight by routing Portugal's Sporting 7-1 in Germany and 12-1 over the two legs for a European aggregate record victory, eclipsing Olympique Lyon's 10-2 demolition of Werder Bremen during the 2004-05 competition.

Spain's Villarreal won 2-1 in Athens against Panathinaikos to edge the tie 3-2.

Chelsea continued its good form under interim Dutch coach Guus Hiddink as the London side twice came from a goal down to knock out Claudio Ranieri's side in a controversial match.

Vincenzo Iaquinta fired the Italians ahead with a fierce shot across Petr Cech before Michael Essien, making his first start since August, equalized in first-half stoppage time. Essien's goal came just after Chelsea thought it had leveled when Didier Drogba's freekick was pushed against the post and then grasped by keeper Gianluigi Buffon. The officials decided not to award the goal but replays showed the ball had gone just over the line.

Juventus had Giorgio Chiellini sent off for a second yellow card with 20 minutes remaining. Alessandro del Piero converted a 74th-minute penalty for the Italians.

Having netted five past a hapless Sporting defence in Lisbon, Bayern needed just eight minutes to breach its Portuguese rival again through Lukas Podolski.

Podolski again and an own goal from Anderson Polga made it 3-0 before the Portuguese side got one back through Joao Moutinho.

Bayern refused to step off the gas, though, as Bastian Schweinsteiger hit a fourth before halftime and Mark van Bommel, Miroslav Klose and Thomas Mueller added further goals.

"My players had fun. Now we are hungry and we want to go far," said Bayern coach Juergen Klinsmann.


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