MANCHESTER, England (AP) All four of England’s teams in the European Champions League advanced to the quarterfinals for the second straight year, led by defending champion Manchester United.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored his first European goal since last season’s victorious final, helping Manchester United to a 2-0 victory over Inter Milan in a matchup of English and Italian leaders on Wednesday night.
“When we scored at 2-0, it killed the game,” Ronaldo said. “Then our defense did a fantastic job, and at end of day we deserved to win.”
Nemanja Vidic scored the opening goal for United, which won the home-and-home, total-goals series 2-0.
“That was one of these long European nights — you don’t know if you are watching a game of football or a game of suicide,” United manager Alex Ferguson said. “After we scored the first goal, I thought we could kill them, but we were lucky to be in front at half time.”
Arsenal defeated AS Roma 7-6 on penalty kicks following a 1-0 loss in Rome that left their home-and-home series 1-1 on aggregate. A day earlier, Liverpool and Chelsea also moved on to the final eight of European club soccer’s top competition.
“I think we can be very proud that we have four teams for the second year now,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. “I was very worried tonight that if we were the only team to go out, it would have been detrimental.”
They’ll be joined by Barcelona and Porto, which advanced Wednesday, a day after Bayern Munich and Spain’s Villarreal. The draw for the quarterfinals and semifinals is March 20.
“It’s obvious that the Premier League teams have got the upper hand at the moment in the Champions League,” Ferguson said.
Vidic put United ahead when he headed Ryan Giggs’ corner kick past goalkeeper Julio Cesar in the fourth minute. Vidic spun around Patrick Vieira and found space behind Ivan Cordoba.
Ronaldo scored on a header four minutes into the second half, after Wayne Rooney took a pass from Giggs and chipped between Esteban Cambiasso and Walter Samuel.
Inter’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic hit the crossbar and Adriano struck the post as Jose Mourinho lost for just the second time in 14 matches against Ferguson.
“My players did absolutely everything they possibly could do,” Mourinho said. “They should not be criticized or questioned. We played a very good game, we really played to our full potential. You can’t just turn up and expect to win the Champions League just like that.”
In other second-round matches, Barcelona beat visiting Lyon 5-2 to win the home-and-home series 6-3, and Porto played a 0-0 tie against visiting Atletico Madrid, leaving the aggregate score tied 2-2 and advancing the Portuguese club on away goals.