Thursday, May 01, 2008

A Champions League Semi-Final for the Ages

Yesterday's UEFA Champion's League semi-final, second leg, between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge was one for the ages.

Chelsea won the game in extra time 3-2 and the draw on a 4-3 aggregate. They have moved on for the first time to Moscow for the UEFA Champion's League Final on 21 May. They will face Manchester United in the first all-English final, who beat Barcelona in two rather boring matches to earn their Finals spot.

I am a passionate Liverpool fan. The loss, although painful, was expected. Chelsea is a better team this year, despite Liverpool historical success in Europe. They played better. On the bright side, Liverpool did score their first goal at Stamford Bridge in over 800 minutes of playing time, since the 1990s.

Chelsea's win was long coming, having been knocked out of the competition at this stage three times in the last four years, including twice by Liverpool in 2005 and 2007.

The match was hard fought. The officiating was fair. Drogba just got the best of the Liverpool defense on two occasions. Makelele did a good job containing Gerard. Cech did a good enough job defending his goal.

This was not to be Liverpool year in Europe (nor in the Premier League, again) as it has been so many times in the past. Ironically, it is sweet to see Avram Grant take Chelsea to the finals after his controversial predecessor Jose Marinho could not.

I do not like ManU nor Chelsea, but I will watch the Russian final, expecting to see an excellent match.

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