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Big-name scorers missing in Champions League

Published:Tuesday | April 6, 2010 | 12:00 AM


Barcelona striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney and Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas will all miss the return legs of the Champions League quarter-finals with injuries that could prove costly.

All three scored goals in the first leg, but it looks like United and Arsenal will miss Rooney and Fabregas a lot more than Barcelona will rue the absence of Ibrahimovic - even though the Swede scored twice in last week's 2-2 draw at Arsenal.

Ibrahimovic injured his right calf muscle while warming up for Saturday's 4-1 Spanish league victory over Athletic Bilbao. His replacement, Bojan Krkic, then scored twice.

"We arrive at the end of the season and every game is important. It's an authentic final," Barcelona coach Guardiola said. "We should reach the Bernabeu as a semi-finalist in the Champions League."

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger recognised his team was outplayed for long spells at home by Barcelona. But they fought back to capture a draw. Fabregas, later diagnosed with a broken leg, made it 2-2 with a late penalty.

"We have to rise above the impression Barcelona left on us in the first part of the match, to have a game plan and stick to it," Wenger said. "I believe we have to be audacious and not hide. I do not deny in the first part of the game that Barcelona were overdominant. If you look at the chances we created, we had some good ones."

In today's other game, Italian champion Inter Milan goes to CSKA Moscow to defend a 1-0 advantage. Inter are coming off a 3-0 Serie A victory over Bologna.

While Barcelona and Arsenal and Inter won domestic games over the weekend, Manchester United have lost two big games in a row. They slid to a 2-1 loss at home to Chelsea on Saturday after tumbling 2-1 to Bayern Munich in last week's Champions League quarter-finals.

Saturday's loss also meant losing first place in the Premier League to Chelsea, but Ryan Giggs said the team had to hit back by beating Bayern at Old Trafford and reach the semi-finals for the fourth straight season.

"I am confident that we can raise our game at home. We have done it many times before and we'll have to do it again," said Giggs, who only played the last eight minutes of the first leg in Munich. "We didn't play well and gave the ball away far too cheaply, but you have to give credit to Bayern who made it very difficult for us."