What. A. Game.
After 120 minutes of fighting, scrapping, brilliance and bumbling, the Manchester United-Chelsea match came down to penalty kicks. Each team’s best player missed before Edwin Van Der Sar stretched out his 6-foot-6 frame to spare Cristiano Ronaldo some embarrassment and give Manchester United its second Champions League title.
Ronaldo’s botched run up and subsequent penalty miss looked like it would doom the Red Devils to a one trophy season (I know, poor guys) but John Terry slipped on the dodgy Moscow grass as he ran up to make history. His errant kick gave Man U life and Nicolas Anelka’s penalty miss seemed like a foregone conclusion.
Even before the kicks, and the overtime shoves, and Didier Drogba’s foolish slap of Nemanja Vidic, the match had already featured its share of entertaining action. From Man U’s first half domination to Chelsea’s second-half inspiration. The result probably was just, but the manner in which it arrived at the outcome probably wasn’t.
Yes, Terry missed the PK, but how can anyone honestly call him the goat. It was his vital clearance of a goal-bound shot late in the match that even got Chelsea to penalty kicks. He was a rock for the Blues all season and was steady all night in Moscow. At least right up until his plant foot gave way and gave Man U another chance.
Ronaldo’s miss was almost predictable. I could imagine the millions of Ronaldo haters praying for a miss, praying for the best player in the world to taste a little humility. He did miss and he did feel that crush of uncertainty that came with watching others bail him out. It didn’t seem to matter that it was his goal that gave Man U the lead and his many goals that got the Red Devils to the final in the first place.
Kudos to both managers. Alex Ferguson put an attacking lineup on the field and went for it and it nearly resulted in a multi-goal barrage early on. Grant kept his team together and must have given a pretty good halftime talk because Chelsea was much better in the second half. I think he should be back next season but that will be entirely up to Roman Abramovich, who is a pretty sad billionaire tonight.
What did you think of the match? Surprised at how easy Man U made it look early on? Did you expect Ronaldo to miss the penalty? Were you positive that Terry would bury his PK? Think Avram Grant should stay as Chelsea manager? Think Didier Drogba should buy a one-way ticket to Italy?
Share your thoughts below.