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Manchester United wins Champions League


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.


  1. Ok, Ok. I retract my previous statement. On reflection, I’d probably sound retarted as well if I were to attempt to comment on the NBA play-offs. Which, incidentally, is why I don’t.

    For all you Terry supporters out there, please watch the following link which shows him sneakily snotting from his nose all over Tevez. The man is a low-life thug.

  2. I am glad Terry missed. Throughout his career he has made too many horrible challenges for me to like him. He kills players coming studs up and then yells at the refs when fouls are called on him. And the slipping on the PK I do not think should be blamed on the field. There were 14 shooters and 4 players after him and nobody else had trouble shooting from the same spot. The only way Terry would have made that PK was for Makalele to be screening the goalie in front of him.

    The two memories I will have of Terry from Champions League: (1)The missed PK to win the final and (2) Little Ronaldhino running over him and scoring a few years ago.

  3. The stuttered run-up that Ronaldo always uses is garbage and against the rules, as is stated above. For that reason alone I was ecstatic when he was saved, because notwithstanding the fact it is against the rules, he gets away with it all of the time.

    The sad thing about that game is that one of those teams had to win. The other sad thing about that game is that the winner was Man U – I was really hoping that I would get to hear Tommy Smyth cry on the air when his precious UNITED didn’t win. I think we can accept a homer on a local broadcast of a game, but when the homer is broadcasting to half the world on a major channel it is tough to take.

  4. Whatever ItaliaHammer…moving along to the discussion at hand…

    Had Ronaldo made his penalty, there’s a good chance that he would have been forced to re-take the penalty. The rules state that the player must make one single motion to the ball. He clearly stopped. I think it also threw off his rythym. I wish players would knock off that kind of nonsense and just step up, take the kick and K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid)…hard and low to the corners. 99% of the time a keeper is not going to save a PK hit hard and low to the corners…I recall being taught that in youth leagues when I was like 11 or 12.

    I feel awful for John Terry. A truly classy gentleman who got unlucky on some very slippery grass, but what a horrible time for such a mishap. Unfortunately Drogba totally lost perspective, and it cost the his team dearly. He should think about that long and hard.

    ManU got it done though, so congrats.

  5. I think Grant’s mistake was not putting Shevchenko into the game.

    He scored their last goal. While I understand Moscow is not Kiev, chances are he would have wanted to put on a good show for the Russians.

    Shevchenko built his career on Champions League performances. It has been a while since Anelka was in a Champions League final. (What seems like a long time ago now when he was on loan at Real Madrid)

  6. Are most of you Americans? It’s just the level of ignorance about the game of football (not soccer) being displayed is incredible. And let’s face it; ignorance is definitely an American speciality.

    Posted by: ItaliaHammer | May 22, 2008 at 08:57 AM

    Wow. Your ignorance is americanesque!!! Blanket statements!!! WOO!!

  7. Ronaldo may have missed the PK (and his run up was asinine). And there may be many haters out there (which I can understand – he brings a great deal of it on himself).

    But there was no doubt who the best player on the pitch was last night. There’s simply no stopping him 1v1 with any sort of space. Essien is a monster and was still completely skinned on several occasions (not to mention on the header, when he was lost).

    The result was just. But it would have been just as just if Terry had put away his PK. That match was even, and fun.

  8. I’m a disappointed Chels fan but will say that I thought the game was brilliant. When two sides that are familiar with each other meet in a big game, it is inevitable that the tactics will be defensive. The skill and endurance on display were awesome.

    The ref was atrocious and I think Chels got the worst of it. But the red card was deserved (somewhat) but more importantly did not have an impact on the result. Drogba doesn’t take many penalties anyways and remember, it went 7 kicks deep.

    Great game, congrats to ManU…I feel ill.


  9. Are most of you Americans? It’s just the level of ignorance about the game of football (not soccer) being displayed is incredible. And let’s face it; ignorance is definitely an American speciality.

  10. The Man United bashing in this comment section makes the win even better.

    A slap in the face not a red card? The ignorance in that statement is comical; thanks for the early morning laugh.

  11. @Posted by: gino | May 21, 2008 at 07:31 PM

    you couldn’t be more wrong. A slap to the face is petulant and warrants a sending off at anytime. I don’t care if it’s done just before a PK in the shootout.

  12. @Posted by: frank | May 21, 2008 at 07:45 PM

    Amen Frank. That game was a bore fest. If I would have moved my sked to avoid work I would have been really mad.

    If this is what an all England final brings us, then some one please stock up some top clubs in other countries to add some excitement again.

    Terrible terrible match.

    Ronaldo missing isn’t all that shocking. He missed a key PK against Barca and is slowly gaining a reputation as a great player who doesn’t quite come up aces when everything is on the line. I’d still put him on my team, but he is lacking a bit of icewater in his veins.

  13. I love scanning these posts for “so-and-so sucks” and “this team were crap” or “this guy is rubbish.” I’m pretty sure if John Terry or Didier Drogba were available for the U.S. National Team, we’d wet ourselves in excitement. You guys polarize and overreact almost as badly as the Brits.

  14. Anybody else hear that strange song they were singing to Clarence Seedorf in the pressbox?:

    “Are you Marcelo Balboa in disguise?”

  15. Well Im a sad Chelsea lost just cuz I wanted Ballack to finally get a winners medal, though at the same time I am happy they lose cuz I hate Chelsea. Terry, HAHA you suck, Im glad you are the one to miss. Though I think it should have been Ballack shooting 5th, the man is pot on in that situation. Also when Anelka stepped up I knew it was over, cuz sorry people but there are only a select few french men out there that I would let take penaltys and thats Henry, Zidane, Ribery, Sagnol, and Lizarazu.

    Congrats to Manchester United, in a great Final.

  16. Also, whoever is calling for Grant to be fired should try and remember how well Chelsea did with him this year, two cup finals and second place in the league 2 points behind the champions, I’m a Man U supporter obviously, but Chelsea losing tonight was not Grant’s fault and just because he hasn’t coached a big team before Chelsea doesn’t mean he isn’t an excellent manager.

  17. Absolutely knew Ronaldo would miss it. Everyone kept saying that he wasn’t a big game player and the fact he scored in the first half made it an almost certainty that something big and negative was going to happen involving him later on in the game. As for Terry, I wish I had his home address, I would send him a Thank You card. Glory! Glory!

  18. DOesn’t really matter how much crap Vidic was giving Drogba, you can’t slap someone. It doesn’t matter how hard it is, a slap is a slap. It was a deserving, albeit terribly stupid on Drogba’s part, red card. As a referee I hate when people say “it’s the end of the game, you can’t give a red.” You can’t slap people in a soccer game. Ever. That said, the game wasn’t terribly great from a soccer stand point, but it was surely entertaining. I enjoyed wathcing it, that’s for sure.

  19. I think Mike O has it right – the conditions kind of took over as the game progressed. It went from being a poorish game in the first half to a game in which literally anything could have happened after about 60min because of the conditions. I actually quite enjoyed the penalties. You could pretty much predict the outcome of each as the shooter walked up. Terry looked scared, Anelka looked indifferent. And man, Petr Cech certainly is imposing in goal…

  20. – Drogba reminds me of the San Antonio Spurs

    – Result wasn’t deserving. They should have played another game a week later or something, to be honest. No way that on that pitch with that weather the CHAMPIONS LEAGUE WINNER should be crowned from PKs. What crap.

    – Ref was horrible for both sides. He’s the guy from the phantom goal against Chelsea if I remember correctly too, right? What an omen…

    – Should not have been a red card on Drogba. Vidic was pulling crap on him all day.

  21. As soon a C. Ronaldo did that little stop my heart sank because I knew that wasn’t going in. Every time I see any player do that, i always assume its going to be a miss, especially in big games like that.

    I felt bad for John Terry, even as a Man Utd fan, i’ve always sort of liked the guy. But i stopped feeling at all bad for him once man utd won the game.

  22. I knew Terry would make his PK…except he didn’t

    Grant should not be back.

    I can’t believe Ronaldo missed his PK…it was so bad it’s terrible the best player in the world can choke that bad on a PK. But his teammates bailed him out, and good on him that he got them that far in the first place.

    Drogba should go play in Australia or something. He sucks.

  23. Wow, I have no idea how that idea got stuck in my head. Clearly a huge gaffe on my part, and completely invalidating my Drogba argument.

    I have nothing else to say to it, really. My bad.

  24. i guess everyone in the usa has a hard-on for the premier league. i

    didn’t think it was that good of a game. it would of been way better play between two teams from different leagues. whatever, my boy tevez with the double this year. happy to see one of my country man do good, eventhought he didn’t play all that great.

  25. That rain was coming down in buckets by the time the PKs rolled around and the pitch was starting to get almost as sloppy as the pitch at the Inter Milan final regular season game for the Scudetto. John Terry may have been a little ambitious with his plant foot trying to full-out blast his shot in those conditions. Still, what a tough, heartrending break for him and Chelsea. I’m pretty neutral on both these sides but I was hoping Chelsea would pull it out because Man U is starting to get on my nerves with all their diving and posturing (though both sides had their share of that today). Anelka looked sick with worry when his PK turn came up, especially with Terry’s miss and van der Sar’s near saves. Not necessarily the most exciting match from the start but it started to grow on me as it went on. Both sides showed great endurance and determination and with it being so even. This probably being the largest U.S. audience for a UEFA Cup final I would imagine this match will be a focal point for even more increased interest in EPL and UEFA in this country.

  26. my reference to vidic not crumbling was about his not grabbing his face and flopping around on the ground as if he’d just been shot. Not crumbling in the sense of losing his cool and going after drogba.

  27. “I wouldn’t call Terry the goat either, and even though he foolishly got sent off, I wouldn’t call Drogba it either. He scored Chelsea’s goal, and was inches away from netting a 2nd.”

    ManicMessiah you do know that Lampard scored Cheslea’s first goal?? right??

  28. a slap isn’t an instant red on a planet where you’re in the dying moments of a tournament final and the slap is more of an insult than an attempt to injure. Its just wrong to send a guy off in those circumstances. Considering how much crap the ref took from Joe Cole after every call that went utd’s way, I couldn’t beleive he pulled a red

  29. “I was just glad to see vidic didn’t ham it up and crumple like someone who grew up along the meditrenean.”

    Gino, actually if you watch closesly Vidic went at Drogba but Terry calmed him down and prevented any further bookings.

    Ives the question is Who actually expected Ronaldo make a PK? I think 90% of us knew he was going to botch it up like he usually does on PK’s of any importance.

  30. How long of a trip is it from that stadium to the airport? I’m pretty sure that is how long it took Drogba to use that one-way to Italy after walking off the pitch.

  31. I wouldn’t be surprised if Sir Alex had Tevez running finishing drills after the medal ceremony. Carrick and Giggs were probably right there with him.

  32. I knew Ronaldo would get blocked. That is what happens when you take as many as he does. What is it like 90% of his go to the keepers right? So it was an easy guess. But he was still one of the best out there for ManU by far. He was very creative and played in some great balls. VDS slipped early on when Lampard scored other than that ManU would have won anyways. But I was scared through most of the second half, it seemed as ManU lost confidence after they let in a late goal.

  33. It was a fun game in my view, and a deserved result in the end. What I was most impressed with is for the end of the game and the majority of extra time, both teams were still searching for the winning goal, which was nice to see.

    The whole run up to Ronaldo’s penalty just smacked of hesitation. I wouldn’t have had as big of a problem if he missed it if he at least took it with some conviction. That being said, he scored the goal for United in the run of play, which shouldn’t be forgotten.

    I wouldn’t call Terry the goat either, and even though he foolishly got sent off, I wouldn’t call Drogba it either. He scored Chelsea’s goal, and was inches away from netting a 2nd.

  34. Even as a United fan, i knda expected Ronnie to miss, when VDS barely missed the 4th penalty i thought it was over.

  35. don’t know what match you were watching gooner. The ref was atrocious both ways. The double yellow on scholes/makele was absurd. So was the red on drogba for a slap. A yellow maybe. Red — no way. I was just glad to see vidic didn’t ham it up and crumple like someone who grew up along the meditrenean.

  36. It’s sickening how lucky Ferguson is and how the calls seemed to always go ManU’s way. But as a Gooner, I did have fun watching Crynaldo miss his embarassing PK and John Terry miss lose the Championship and see Abramovich slump in his box. The game was good too.


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