I just spent ten days in Europe: Barcelona, Prague, Brussels and Madrid. I had originally planned
to try to go to Munich to the CL final, but when I could not get tickets, I went to Prague and
watched the final at the lovely and lively Old Square. It was on the same day where the Czech
Republic had played and lost to Slovakia in the semifinal of the hockey World Cup, so there was a
Perhaps it is because I live in South America, where almost all European football talk is limited
to Barcelona and Real Madrid. Granted, they are amazing sides, but I have been kind of getting
tired of all the hype for a while, and was really hoping we would not get another Real
After losing 0-1 in Chelsea, I was personally expecting (though not hoping) that Barcelona would
pull through at home. And after leading 2-0 and being one man up after John Terry's pretty silly
red card, it looked as if Barcelona were on their way to a new final. But then Lionel Messi, the
"best" player in the world, missed a penalty, and with a 1-2 goal by Ramires, Chelsea was suddenly
My dream remains to go to Champions League final after I tried to sign up for tickets at the UEFA
site for the second year in a row. It does seem that going to see a final is even something only
for the selected few, and not for the masses. Just as actually playing! Four teams have made it to
the semifinals after the quarterfinals.
I am becoming more annoyed at Barcelona, but I do not believe that anyone can doubt Lionel Messi's
genius after a night like tonight, where he (with some help from his teammates) trashed Bayer
Leverkusen 7-1. Barcelona had won the first match 1-3 in Leverkusen, and I must admit that I had
doubts whether even to watch a match that would undoubtedly have as much excitement as paint
Two elements of the Italian game seem to have played two very different roles in the Chelsea vs
Bayern Champions League final.
Roberto Di Matteo's catenaccio style layered defense that stretched Bayern worked to
perfection while Jupp Heynckes decision to pull Thomas Mueller in the 84th minute to preserve a one
goal lead proved disastrous.
In October 2010 Wayne Rooney issued a warning to the Glazers to splash the cash to make Utd
competitive. He was proven right a year and a half later as City won their maiden Premiership. For
their part City were hardly obliging as even before the ink had dried casting their eyes at their
favourite supply chain, Arsenal, for the services of Robin Van Persie, ready to send his wages out
of the stratosphere.
Suspended captain John Terry who played no part in the Champions League final lifting the
Champions League was probably as low as it could get. On the other hand, one cannot but feel happy
for Didier Drogba, who lives and dies football everytime he steps out on the pitch. Even his
orchestrated dives cannot be grudged.
Will Arjen Robben come to haunt Chelsea? Banquo puts the shivers in Macbeth.
A Barcelona vs Bayern Munich final would have been an ideal exposition of the best football
would have to offer. Lots of freewheeling attacking and horrendous defensive lapses would have made
it a final to remember.
David Alaba's handball should never have been. It was inadvertent for which the left back
received a yellow card which leaves him out of the Champions League final against Chelsea.
Cristiano Ronaldo made no mistake from the spot. The Bernabeu erupted again as Ronaldo made it a
brace after Mesut Oezil dissected the Bayern defense with his through pass.
Ramires is the man. The Brazilian provided that laser like cross to find Didier Drogba in the
first leg to score the only goal and the winner in the first leg.
In the second leg in the Camp Nou, Frank Lampard finds Ramires who raced ahead of a slowly
reacting Barca defense to chip the ball over Victor Valdes to score a goal that Messi would be
proud to embalm in his trove of unforgettable goals.
We're back! After more than a week of suffering from flu like symptoms that left me prostrate,
weak as a kitten, and delinquent with blogging. A week away from the world's game is like being
away for a lifetime. But thankfully, it was to this game that we make our return.
The best moments came in the 67th minute and the 82nd minute when Gustavo Manduca and Esteban
Solari scored Apoel's goals. At the Santiago Bernabeu no less! Real played real spoilsports to this
David slayed Goliath story as Cristiano Ronaldo scored a brace with Kaka, Callejon, and Angel Di
Maria adding to the tally.
Many missed chances. And nerves jangling right to the end for Chelsea. Benfica did not have any
of their four recognized center backs including Garay, Luisao, Vitor, and Jardel. Jorge Jesus, the
Benfica coach had to rejigger his back four using Javi Garcia, a midfielder and Emerson, a left
Ivica Olic got both of Bayern's goals as Franck Ribery stamped his authority on this game.
French goalie Steve Mandanda was put up a magnificent display in a losing effort. It looks like a
Bayern vs Real semi-final unless Apoel pull off a miracle. Marseille go back home to a tattered
domestic season with Didier Deschamps's coaching future in jeopardy.
Barcelona and especially Lionel Messi did not wear their shooting boots today. And because of
that they kept AC Milan in the hunt despite their numerous scoring chances. As an example, an early
opening created by Cesc Fabregas's delectable flick left Messi one on one with Abbiati and he
There is a full scale revolt going on by the deeply unhappy Marseille fans against their club.
L'OM lost seven straight matches in the Ligue till their weekend draw against Nice, were knocked
out of the French Cup by third division US Quevilly, and their third string goalie Elinton Andrade
was drafted for the Bayern Munich match following Steve Mandandas suspension.
Full marks to Apoel for keeping Real Madrid at bay for 74 minutes. But once they were breached,
they gave away two more goals in quick succession. Benzema scored twice after missing an absolute
howler and Kaka added to the tally. The Brazilian provided the spark needed to break Apoel's highly
organized defense by creating Benzema's first goal.
There are some inconvenient matches in between but Marca has already pronounced that Real will
meet Barca in El Clasico in Munich. Barca meet the winners of Chelsea vs Benfica while Real await
either Bayern or Marseille.
See, these two clubs have already progressed to the semi-finals.
Roberto De Matteo's first three matches in charge have produced a 100% winning rate, none bigger
or more important than the one today against Napoli who came in with every expectation of going to
the Champions League quarter-final stage after their 3-1 spanking in the first leg. They have ruled
the Serie with possibly one of the most dynamic attacks, the unstoppable Edinson Cavani, the human
dynamo Ezequiel Lavezzi, and in Gokhan Inler and Marek Hamsik, two of Europe's top rated midfield
Claudio Ranieri's grip on the Inter job became even more tenuous as Inter exited from the
Champions League undone by a added time Brandao goal. They looked to have booked their passage
through Diego Milito's second half goal. But Inter's vaunted defense have never looked worse or as
sluggish when they let the Brazilian score the vital away goal and the equalizer.
Bayern crushed Hoffenheim, 7-1 this weekend with Mario Gomez scoring a hat trick. This time he
went one better against Basel in the Champions League second leg as Bayern knocked in seven
unanswered goals at the Allianz Arena.
The Arena is the venue for this years Champions League final.
The Spanish club now in the second division knocked the Champions League winners out of the
competition pouring in 4 unanswered goals in the second leg to overcome a 4-1 first leg deficit.
Coruna found four separate goalscorers as Walter Pandiani, Juan Carlos Valeron, Albert Luque, and
Fran Gonzalez dismantled an excellent Milan side.
Arsenal will have to channel the spirit of Spartacus at the Emirates today
Arsenal vs AC Milan at the Emirates, CL 2nd leg @ 2:45 PM EST
This month Arsenal are being celebrated as the comeback kings. In January they couldn't crumble
quickly enough. Arsene Wenger sees the victories against Spurs and Liverpool as evidence his side
that can pull rabbits out of a hat which is why he's so gung ho about the AC Milan second leg
despite being four goals down.