THE Champions League exploded into action with four intriguing quarter-final ties.

I would have said explosive but there is every chance the first legs will be cagey with most of the thrills and spills saved for the second meeting between the sides.

Tuesday's ties see Real Madrid v Spurs and Inter Milan v Schalke.

The Bernabeu bash could be memorable or a bit of a letdown – and I fear the latter.

That's because of the one and only Jose Mourinho who knows how to stop attacking sides playing.

Mourinho will be hurting after his amazing nine-year record of never losing a home league game was broken by Sporting Gijon.

He is boosted by the return of the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Angel Di Maria and Gabriel Higuain, although Karim Benzema misses out.

Spurs have a defensive crisis with the likes of Ledley King, Alan
Hutton, Jonathan Woodgate and Younes Kaboul missing and they’ve hit a brick wall with a run of poor results at the wrong time.

Three 0-0 draws in a row are a contrast to some of the thrills and spills witnessed in the Champions League but an indication of what might happen tonight.

Real haven’t conceded a goal at home in Europe this season and are 6-4 (Ladbrokes) to win to nil.

I’m on Real at 4-9 with Hills and 1-3 to qualify. Spurs are 15-2 (Hills) and 5-2 (Betfred) to qualify.

Ronaldo is 3-1 (Betfred) to score first and Spurs top scorer Jermain Defoe is 10-1 (various).

In tonight’s other tie Inter Milan should edge out another shock last-eight qualifier Schalke.

Inter had been going well under Leonardo until Saturday’s 3-0 defeat to AC Milan but should bounce back well.

Inter are a best 8-13 with Hills while Schalke are 13-2 at Betfred. Samuel Eto'o missed a sitter in the Milan derby and is 4-1 with Ladbrokes to strike first.



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