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Tuesday’s Field of Play: Champions League, FA Cup, Copa Lib

Real Madrid's Brazilian midfielder Kaka

Real Madrid’s Brazilian midfielder Kaka attends a training session at GSP Stadium in Nicosia on March 26, 2012 on the eve of their UEFA Champions League first leg quarter-final football match against APOEL. AFP PHOTO/TALAR KALAJIAN (Photo credit should read TALAR KALAJIAN/AFP/Getty Images)

AFP/Getty Images

It’s a huge, crowded day in international soccer, but as the week goes on, it’s only going to get more hectic. Today there are three major international competitions in action. Tomorrow, the number jumps to five, with Olympic qualifying and CONCACAF Champions League back on your plate.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though. Here’s what’s happening on Tuesday, starting just over an hour from now:

UEFA Champions League

  • If Cyprus’s APOEL is the tournament’s Cinderella, Real Madrid is set to play the wicked stepmother, a role José Mourinho’s teams are not entirely unaccustomed to playing. Win or lose, it’s a history-making night in Nicosia – the nine-time champions are in town. (Match kicks off at 2:45 p.m. ET)
  • Chelsea’s revival tour takes its show to Benfica in a typical big league- not as big league matchup. The Blues profile as a team that an upstart could derail, but we’ve seen this story before. For every Basel that stuns a Manchester United, there are countless times that a Chelsea pounds down a Napoli when they seem most vulnerable. So what’s it going to be, Benfica? Are you Basel to Chelsea’s United, or are you just Napoli? (2:45 p.m. ET)

FA Cup

  • Quarterfinal action resumes at White Hart Lane, with Tottenham and Bolton re-starting the match abandoned after Fabrice Muamba’s heart attack. Winner goes on to the semifinals to face Chelsea. A draw takes the quarterfinal back to the Reebok. (2:30 p.m. ET)
  • Up north, Sunderland welcomes Everton to the Stadium of Light for the clubs’ quarterfinal replay. The first ended 1-1 at Goodison Park. Winner gets Liverpool at Wembley. Count me as one person that would like to see either Sunderland or Everton in Europe net year. (3:00 p.m. ET)

Copa Libertadores

Three matches, three third place teams facing their groups’ cellar dwellers. Now in the fourth round of group play, these are near-must win matches for all six teams.

  • Both Uruguay’s Nacional and Peru’s Alianza Lima set on three points, with co-group leaders Libertad (Paraguay) and Vasco de Gama (Brazil) on seven. Whomever loses will be three points behind the rest of the group. A draw, and both sides are left waiting for stumbles. (6:15 p.m. ET)
  • The story is a little different in Colombia, where Deportivo Tachira will host Paraguay’s Nacional. Deportivo’s looking for their first win and have profiled as also-rans in a tough group. Nacional (three points), however, is looking to keep up with Corinthians (first, eight points) and Cruz Azul (second, seven). A draw keeps their hopes alive, though it likely means they’d have to beat Cruz Azul, draw Corinthians, and get help. Suffice to say, Nacional shouldn’t settle for one. (8:30 p.m. ET)
  • And the day’s headline matchup sees two big names fighting for their tournament lives. Peñarol of Uruguay, finalists last year, takes their one point to Chile to face Sudamericana winners, Universidad de Chile. ‘La U’ can hop over Argentina’s Godoy Cruz, into second place, with a win. Peñarol can kiss knockout stage hopes goodbye without one. (8:30 p.m. ET)