Thursday, May 26, 2005

Who wanted it more?

So here we are again. After the long and twisting road to the final there's only two teams left standing in the European Cup. Together they've lifted the cup 10 times, so their pedigree is certainly unquestionable.

Liverpool had definitely mastered defensive football in Europe; with Jamie Carragher at his best; they had even managed to beat the favourites, Chelsea and Juventus. And that shocked many. Rafa was instantly recognized a genius, a man who knows how to play in Europe. But he was the least troubled with all the media attention, victory seemed more important.

Milan, with an assembly of great young and old talents was definitely the bookies favourite. Nevermind, their league position and the match against PSV; we all know how irresistible they can be when they are hitting form. Some say, the Milan players are tired and will play badly on the day.

A dull match was predicted. Milan is playing to win, with Liverpool as underdogs.

Players (Milan): Crespo (doubtful initially) was paired with Sheva. Pirlo, Gattuso and Kaka in the middle. Maldini (captain) anchored the defence together with Stam, Nesta and Cafu. And Nelson Dida between the posts. Impressive side.
Substitutes: Tomasson for Crespo, Serginho for Seedorf, and Rui Costa for Gattuso (in ET).

Players (Liverpool): Baros with Kewell? (a shocker by Rafa, this guy hasn't been playing competitive football in ages). Stevie G (captain), Riise, Alonso, and Garcia in the centre. Traore, Finnan (both their weakest link), Carragher, and Hypia in front of Dudek. An offensive approach.
Substitutes: Smicer for a limping Kewell, Hamann for Finnan (Riise went down) and Cisse for Baros.

Goals/Shots on Goal (Milan): Maldini (hasn't scored in 11 yrs) netting in a free-kick taken by Pirlo from the right side of the Liverpool box. 1-0.
Kaka's header from a corner was saved by Garcia on the line.
Kaka after his rampaging run in the centre, played a superbly timed through ball to Sheva, which he slotted in. Unfortunately it was offside, by a foot or so.
Sheva positioning himself well found the long pass by Pirlo, but was soon muscled down by a chasing Traore. No penalty.
Starting from a blunder in AC's box, the ball somehow went to Kaka, who cleverly passed it to the right, where Sheva was running. But it was difficult for him, even for the European Player of the Yr to score from that tight angle. Instead of trying himself, he laid the ball down to Crespo, who eventually tapped it in into the opponent's net. 2-0.
Kaka twisting and breaking away from the Liverpool midfielders played yet another superb through pass, this time the ball found Crespo, who effortlessly lifted the ball pass Dudek. 3-0. And Ancelotti thought it was over.
2nd half. Sheva's shot found Traore, goal denied.
And in ET, a great double-save by Dudek first from Sheva's bullet header, then his hand pushing out Sheva's rebound kick. Dudek was looking very sharp. And that was bad news for Milan.

Goals/Shots on Goal (Liverpool): Their first half was rubbish. Milan's 6 minutes of madness. It started in the 54th min, when Gerrard headed a wonderful cross from Riise.
Soon after, Smicer the substitute drove the ball in from outside the Milan box. Dida, managed to touch the ball, but it wasnt enough. And the score became 2-3.
Then, a controversial penalty at least from my point of view. Gerrard dived. Alonso took the kick, saved by Dida, but Alonso redeemed himself with the rebound. 3-3. That's about it. Liverpool seemed to me was playing for a penalty shoot-out (conveniently they call it defensive football).

Penalty shoot-out: I don't believe in them. But Dudek was good. Liverpool's hero. 3-2 they won in the shoot-out.

Man of the match (to me): Kaka

Liverpool was crowned the 50th European champion in Attaturk Stadium. Their 5th victory, no style (from the winners, of course) but still a memorable final. The Merseysiders do not deserve it, and with addition of them finishing 5th in EPL I don't think they should be allowed to play in CL next season.


At 3:56 PM, Blogger Kumaran said...

Hey man, I didn't see the game cause I overslept and didn't hear the alarm go off. Congrats to Liverpool cause what they did was nothing short of a miracle I believe. Just hope they're participation in next years competition can be sorted out soon cause as much as the champion should be allowed to defend their cup, only the best in the league should be there fighting for it and Liverpool were clearly not there this season.

Long live Kimwipes ;)

At 7:10 PM, Blogger Sutharsanan said...

Let me tell you why I support Milan. They are great ambassadors of football, they play clean football, their attacking football is simply marvellous and they have legends like Maldini, Stam and Cafu playing for them. Nevertheless, younger fellas like Kaka and Sheva are equally arresting and continously proving to be the dangermen for Milan. Seriously, AC Milan, is a modern complete football team.
But what happened during that 6 minutes was so baffling; how a team with so much calibre could let in 3 goals in such a short span of time, was just way beyond me.

At 11:20 PM, Blogger simonsta said...

Level 3 Rocks ! Level 3 has P***a !

At 2:42 PM, Blogger Sutharsanan said...

too much laa u fellas..


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