Manchester United slip by Chelsea in Champions League Final 2008

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In Moscow last night, it was high drama as Manchester United downed Chelsea FC in penalties 6-5 in the European Champions League Final last night after a 1-1 game (regulation and overtime). Man U won when they should not have. Although they scored first and dominated play (in terms of possession) in the first half, Chelsea’s second half was masterful. Didier Drogba seemed to have a legitimate chance on goal every five minutes. He and Lampard hit the post. In the closing minutes of overtime (which was exciting mostly for observing the tactical substitutions), Drogba was ejected for hitting a Manchester player in the face (albeit a finger tip hit). Not even Russia’s wealthiest man and owner of Chelsea, Roman Abramovich, could buy a goal (homecoming wrecked on ESPN). The fifth penalty taker for Chelsea was John Terry, captain of his team and the man responsible for heading away a goal in the overtime. On his foot, the game hung. Had he scored, victory was Blue and the ever inventive Ronaldo’s penalty miss would have been historic. Instead, Terry slipped and hit the post in the torrential downpour (photo above from Martin Rickett/PA). He will indeed be haunted.

The game featured some fantastic runs, sharp passing and plenty of action. Other quick comments: The corner kicks were less than piercing. There were few menacing free kicks. Rooney was not present.

Whereas Chelsea had never won the Cup, it was Manchester’s third victory, this one coming 50 years after the tragic 1958 disaster. A second place finish in both the Premier League and the Champions League. A difficult pill to swallow. To boot, Chelsea lost the League Cup final to Tottenham Hotspur. Too many seconds if you ask me.

As for [my team] Liverpool, it was a year of fourths… Fourth (or third if you want) in the European Champions League and the Premier.

Here is the BBC writeup.

Some other numbers:
Zero Champions League Cups for Chelsea, one red card, two cups for Sir Alex Ferguson, three (right) posts and 3 missed penalties, Giggs’ 26th cup with Manchester United & his record 759th cap.

10 Comments, RSS

  1. Pedro

    Most enjoyable. Shame Chelsea hit the woodwork twice. Apparently had Drogba not been taken off he would have been 5th man to take the penalty that Terry missed…if if if. Saying that Terry had practised penalties not only for Chelsea but for England so he should have slotted it…such a shame Captain could not finish it off…would have been a much better ending to a great match. Que lastima eh?!

  2. Jean-Charles

    j’ai vu le match, et en plus j’étais pour Manchester, même si je
    trouve qu’ils ont eu une chance surnaturelle.

  3. Forman

    So far, Rafa seems to have pulled off the best deal of the off-season – Degen on a freebee. No doubt, more to come, and several to go.
    Liverpool to finish second in the league in 2009. Man U still too strong. Chelsea will unravel. Arsenal will question themselves too much.

    Sammy Lee back at Anfield – good to see.

    Let’s dream about how many goals Torres will score next season, assuming he plays 38 games and all the various Cup games – more than 42, perhaps.

  4. Rodrigo

    Tough game.
    The wood work kept us out. Man U had great chances. Hard to split the two–the penalty kicks did.

    Still, I couldn’t shake the feeling that we were the underdogs. I didn’t understand why Essien was back there he is much more threatening in the middle. I don’t understand why Anelka doesn’t start, especially when Malouda and Kalou are the other options.

    In the first half, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t infer what the game tactics where. Joe Cole, Malouda, and Drogba were aimless. Never were two attacks the same. There was no cohesion. I think Grant was, once again, using his cunning random playing style in the hope of confusing the adversarys into scoring an own goal.

    Drogba was an idiot. Hard to think he wouldn’t have been as asset for the penalty shootout.

    My heart goes out for JT. What a choke! But hey, who could write the script? They score, we draw. Both teams attack for the remaining 75min. Ronaldo, arguably the best player in the world right now, misses. As Clive put it, the live-long Chelsea player steps up to clinch the cup and slips. Amazing!

    Net net, a wonderful football game and a deserved win for the team that played with phenomenally talented players organised so as to deliver their best.

  5. Doc

    It was amazing… it was tape delayed here on Guam until 8 am… made it easy to watch, but hard to do between patients appointments! Wild finish. Drogba is an idiot and may have cost them the game. Lampard’s goal was proof of hard work and not giving-up. A game of 2 halfs. Cristo run-up on the PK… deserved to have it stopped! that guy has enough power to put the ball anywhere in the net and the goalie would have no chance. His run-up, to use an American baseball term, “It was bush.” (referring to bush league, and not very professional). I actually had to take a picture at work to capture the moment. One of my patients had a procedure and needed to recover, but refused to leave our department since we had the only TV tuned into the game… enjoy!

  6. Minter

    @foreman: glad to see another Reds fan!

    @doc: I’ve also thought that arthroscopic surgery should have PIP (picture in picture) facility to allow TV… entertainment for the patient instead of watching bits inside butchered (BIB)…

    @rodrigo: entertaining it was. What more can Sir Alex achieve?

  7. MA

    There is no greater spectacle than watching hubris unravel before your eyes – JT’s blubbing, DD’s walk of shame! And nothing more vomit inducing than watching grown men skipping about like demented 4 year olds. This time it was the Reds – Next time it will be someone else and the same nonsense will prevail – hubris, crying, joy. I can hardly wait.

  8. Goose

    agreed agreed agreed. christian ronaldo (whom i charitably nicknamed “el fagito”) should be lambasted for his hiccup-style PKs. i’ve seen it on at least two occasions. if i were petr cech, i would go out and punch him for that childishness. had he scored of course.

    the real tragedy in the tourney is how liverpool gave up that goal at the death. the texas chapter of liverpool supporters club was distraught for a week after that. fortunately, he was reassured that ireland was superior when captain terry clicked the wood in the final. i don’t think you’ll find a bigger liverpool fan and john terry hater than my irish roommate. i’m just hoping that newcastle finds a way to not get relegated again.

    as you’d say, c’est la vie!

  9. Minter

    @MA, being a rugby player and having written about the “diving” and blubbing in football previously, I consider certain players’ moaning muchado about nothing.

    @Goose, the fact that Chelsea have fired Avram Grant for being second in everything is quite a statement of the ruthlessness. I am saddened for the decline of Leicester into the 3rd division. And Hull in the Premiership??? Well, well.

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