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Beckham set for emotional game
by Paul Kennedy, February 16th, 2010 1:04AM

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TAGS:  england, france, germany, international, italy, spain, uefa champions league


[UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE] David Beckham faces Manchester United for the first time since he left Man U in 2003 when Milan hosts United at the San Siro. French striker Karim Benzema returns to the stade Gerland for the first time since time being sold by Lyon to Real Madrid for approximately $50 million last summer.

Tuesday, Feb. 16
AC Milan vs. Man. United
(TV: Fox Sports Net, live 2:30 p.m ET; Fox Soccer Channel, Fox Sports en Espanol, delay, 5 p.m.)
Manchester United has never beaten AC Milan in a Champions League series but will be the slight favorite this time.

Wayne Rooney for United and Ronaldinho for Milan have been two of the hottest players since the beginning of the year.

Young Brazilian Alexandre Pato returned to action for Milan on Friday and scored in the 3-2 win over Udinese.

In the Spotlight ... David Beckham faces Manchester United for the first time since 2003.

"It is going to be an emotional game, but as a Manchester United fan it's the first time I am going to want United to lose," said Beckham, who is expected to begin the game on the bench. "As an AC Milan player, I want to beat Manchester United, and to say that as a Man U fan is quite difficult. As much as it is emotional for me personally, it is important that we win the game. I am a Milan player and I want us to play well in the game and progress to the next stage."

Tuesday, Feb. 16
Lyon vs. Real Madrid
(TV: Fox Soccer Channel, Fox Sports en Espanol live, 2:30 p.m.)

Lyon won its group but then slumped badly in French league play. Its porous defense has this winter as OL has won four of its past five French league games and conceded only two goals.

Cristiano Ronaldo
is back action for Real Madrid, which has failed to reach the quarterfinals in the past five years.

In the Spotlight ... Striker Karim Benzema returns to the stade Gerland for the first time since time being sold by Lyon to Real Madrid for approximately $50 million last summer.

He was cleared to play after suffering a groin injury that kept him out of Saturday's 3-0 over Xerez.

Wednesday, Feb. 17
Porto vs. Arsenal
(TV: Fox Soccer Channel, Fox Sports en Espanol live, 2:30 p.m.)

Porto should be favored at the Estadio do Dragao, where it is tough to beat.

"The minimum requirement is not to lose the game and be out of the tie," said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. "A clean sheet will do, but we are a team who will not hide - we want to play. However, we want to make sure defensively we are OK."

The Gunners will be without two of their best players. Dutchman Robin van Persie is out for much of the season with an ankle injury, and Russian Andrey Arshavin is out with a hamstring problem.

In the Spotlight ... Porto's 23-year-old Brazilian striker, Hulk, has been linked with Arsenal and Manchester United. He's struggled in the Portuguese league this season with only two goals in 12 games but has been outstanding in the Champions League with three goals in six games.

Wednesday, Feb. 17
Bayern Munich vs. Fiorentina
(TV
: Setanta Sports USA, live, 2:15 p.m. ET; Fox Soccer Channel, Fox Sports en Espanol, delay, 5 p.m.)
Bayern Munich is on fire, having won its last 12 games in all competitions. Fiorentina, on the other hand, has earned just one point in its last five home games.

Bayern has won its last three games by scores of 3-1, 3-1 and 6-2, but Coach Louis van Gaal wasn't entirely happy. "We made a number of individual errors in defense," he said, "and that mustn't happen against Fiorentina in midweek. We also need much better organization throughout the team."

Fiorentina hasn't won since Romanian striker Adrian Mutu failed a drug test after its last victory, a 2-1 win over Bari on Jan. 10.

In the Spotlight ... France playmaker Franck Ribery made his first start this year following injury problems in Saturday's 3-1 win over Borussia Dortmund and set up Arjen Robben and Mario Gomez for goals. With Ribery back at 100 percent, Bayern enters the knockout stage as the darkhorse.

---------------------------------------------------------------

Who do you like in these Champions League series? Let us know below.



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