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Re: Champions League

Postby kimchi_chigae » Wed May 21, 2008 4:21 pm

I'm sorry, but this has to be one of the most uninteresting Champions League matchups I can remember. Even the Porto vs. Monaco final a few years ago doesn't look as boring as this one. Man U and Chelsea play each other about ten times a season. Yawn. And the worst part is that no matter what happens, a British team will win it. :-[ :-D
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Re: Champions League

Postby MUFCbenoit » Wed May 21, 2008 6:06 pm

Manchester United
CHAMPIONS OF EUROPE!


:-D :-D :-D
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Re: Champions League

Postby The Artful Dodger » Wed May 21, 2008 7:11 pm

CHAMPIONNNNNES CHAMPIIIIIIIIOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNNNEES, ARE WE! ARE WE! ARE WE!!!! :-D

I'm yelling as I post, it's wonderful. I thought of going to Ye Olde King's Head seeing how there's more of a split distribution there of United/Chelsea fans, but thought it was best to not drive a short distance (obviously), and off to the home pub of the Underground, which was buzzing to the hilt. Fantastic support yet again.

I think it's one thing winning the Premiership, dominating it as we've had since it ever started, but the Champions League is a different beast and a United fan, one especially who really relishes their history cherish a European night to the fullest extent.

The final was everything I expected it to be, as I'm sure most football fans would agree. Very tactical, tight, chippy, and the quality of football being an eyesore at times and it seemed inevitable it would go into penalty kicks in my mind (as I'm sure everyone would've projected). If the fixture vs. Barcelona was any indication, I'd happen to believe Fergie wasn't going to open the floodgates completely with free-flowing football and really hone in on the back line holding firm against Drogba while trying to negate Chelsea's advantage in clogging the middle. We had some pretty flourishes in the first half, especially the two missed chances with Ronaldo setting up in the box and the one where Tevez misjudged the pass from Rooney and didn't get any of the ball that would've beaten Petr Cech. We paid dearly for those misses with Rio's blunder at the other end that led to Lampard pouncing on goal.

I didn't like the second half much, as we were really playing on the backs of our heels and we needed a few breaks to go our way to stop Chelsea from capitalizing on their good pressure. Saved by the woodwork from Drogba (sounds familiar right?). I had to be more than concerned when Rio was grabbing his leg, but knew it was a cramp and nothing more.

The pitch was utterly atrocious as expected. For those who don't know the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow uses fieldturf like here in the States, as you'd expect with winter being so brutal in Russia. However, that's the gripe of having the final played in Moscow in the first place, aside from the Russian police being a bunch of cheats. For this game, they had to import real sod for this one and set it up two weeks in advance. It held up OK, but it was really starting to tear some in the second as expected. It was a shame to see both sides, namely Chelsea have trouble with cramps later on.

I think the slap on Vidic by Drogba was quite harsh for being called for the red card, but the ref (whose name escapes me in this rather tipsy haze) was on bad terms with Chelsea from the beginning. It was funny to see Fergie chew the ref out at the start of the 2nd half. I admit, I laughed my arse off of Drogba being sent off, seeing how that would mean Chelsea being without one of their top 3 penalty takers, being so close from extra time concluding.

I always believed Ronaldo being a choker on the big stage is exaggerating, yet it's somewhat disheartening to see him muff a kick at Barcelona so badly as he did and to see that he second-guessed himself in his usual hesitation to see that he was more predictable with the spot kick as a result.

I never liked the idea of penalty kicks, as I say this as a fan of the game in general. It could've easily been Ronaldo being the goat for this loss and not John Terry, who really didn't get a good kick in, even though he slipped because of the heavy rain. Some would say it would be kind of cruel to play another leg the next week and I'd agree to some extent, and really there's no perfect answer. In Fergie we trust. I thought Fergie should've taken Tevez off for Nani, who was equally as ineffective as Rooney, but Fergie can be a sucker for Tevez's workrate and dogged pursuit of the ball. Really, it didn't matter our penalty kickers were in good form after all.

I said to a friend that it would be appropriate for Terry to miss and give United new life, for Ryan Giggs to smash home the winning penalty. Tonight was a very special night for Giggs to pass Sir Bobby Charlton in most ever United appearances and it was a memorable one. I actually was sitting there, nervous, just playing around with my empty pint glass (which I was dawdling with for the last 25 minutes without a drop of Guinness). I finally stood up when Anelka was up and told everyone Van Der Sar's got this one. Wouldn't ya know, he did, and it saved my credit card from being maxed out. Extra reason to be happy...and relieved.

It's as surreal as it was back in 1999 to see Sir Bobby Charlton in attendance for this one. It was a miracle he survived the Munich Air Disaster in the first place, only to lead United to win the European Cup only 10 years later...and here he is, celebrating the third European Cup and even leading the team to the podium. All year long it was the quest to bring the European Cup 50 years later (and I'd say it was a little more important than winning the League this year) and here it is, I'm so glad to see the boys win it for the Busby Babes. A double of England and Europe. ;-D :-D
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Re: Champions League

Postby The Artful Dodger » Wed May 21, 2008 7:28 pm

kimchi_chigae wrote:I'm sorry, but this has to be one of the most uninteresting Champions League matchups I can remember. Even the Porto vs. Monaco final a few years ago doesn't look as boring as this one. Man U and Chelsea play each other about ten times a season. Yawn. And the worst part is that no matter what happens, a British team will win it. :-[ :-D


I agree to a certain extent. I was reading an opinion commentary this morning about reverting the Champions League back to its old format of the European Cup, where each country was represented by their champion and their champion alone. There are a number of clubs with smaller support given they're not known on a worldwide scale, but have fantastic support and tradition (Nottingham Forest and Red Star come to mind). I think last Saturday's FA Cup between Portsmouth and Cardiff reflects how it must've been like in the 50's/60's/70's/80's when it was more than just a club affair, it was a nation vs. nation affair. I've always read about how Liverpool fans even cheered Manchester United on in 1968 because it was a country over club matter, even though under today's conditions, that would just be unfathomable.

However, I think it's also great to see the strongest teams on the continent face each other. The Champions League is kind of like the Bowl Championship Series of college football after all, where you don't simply want just the champions of smaller leagues like Finland, Romania, Sweden, etc. to be bulldozed by an English, Italian, or Spanish power (although there have been memorable upsets that the football romantics like to harp about). Unfortunately, it has gotten to the point where one, only a select few really jump out as genuine contenders (like the Big 4 of England; Real Madrid/Barca of Spain; Inter/Milan/Juve of Italy) and the big money clubs with the bigger fan bases really set the field apart for the little guys (even a Celtic or Rangers). I'd say this is more of the side effect than there being an inherent wrong in the Champions League setup.

In addition, the nations holding court in Europe keep changing anyway. Earlier this decade, it was Spain and Italy that had dominance over the Champions League. Liverpool had something to do with the tide turning in '05 while Chelsea continue to hire mercenaries for their campaigns. It just so happened England had 4 teams that managed to do well in Europe, not a matter of coincidence, as I think the league as a whole I say is getting stronger. Having said that, I think Inter would've beaten Liverpool had Materazzi not gotten that red card that really changed the complexion of the tie and Chelsea just did enough to get through up until the semifinals vs. Liverpool where they had to be their best. So, it wasn't just a cakewalk for England anyway.

I had to admit that I wanted Fenerbahce to beat Chelsea, which really proves that a side not of the Big 5 leagues could make a run at Europe, even though they deserved to lose to Chelsea in both legs anyway.

I'd say the best legs of this year's Champions League have to go to Arsenal v Milan and Arsenal v Liverpool. Liverpool v Chelsea in the semis, I'd hate to say, was more pleasing to the eye than United and Barcelona in the other semi. :-[
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Re: Champions League

Postby AussieDodger » Wed May 21, 2008 7:32 pm

thedude wrote:This thread reminds me of the Simpsons episode where the World Cup comes to Springfield:

[Crowd cheers enthusiastically. Cheers quickly die down and the crowds becomes silent]
Homer: Boring!
Krusty the Clown: Come on, you shnorers! Do something!
Kent Brockman: [bored] Halfback passes to the center... Back to the wing... Back to the center... Center holds it... Holds it... [sighs] Holds it.
Foreign-accented sports commentator: [excited] Halfback passes to center, back to wing, back to center, center holds it! Holds it! Holds It!


That's soccer in a nutshell.
As well as falling over on purpose and acting like someone killed you to get a free kick. (Very manly sport) :-t
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Re: Champions League

Postby The Artful Dodger » Wed May 21, 2008 7:40 pm

AussieDodger wrote:
thedude wrote:This thread reminds me of the Simpsons episode where the World Cup comes to Springfield:

[Crowd cheers enthusiastically. Cheers quickly die down and the crowds becomes silent]
Homer: Boring!
Krusty the Clown: Come on, you shnorers! Do something!
Kent Brockman: [bored] Halfback passes to the center... Back to the wing... Back to the center... Center holds it... Holds it... [sighs] Holds it.
Foreign-accented sports commentator: [excited] Halfback passes to center, back to wing, back to center, center holds it! Holds it! Holds It!


That's soccer in a nutshell.
As well as falling over on purpose and acting like someone killed you to get a free kick. (Very manly sport) :-t


Overmars and Bergkamp were also girlie-men then.
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Re: Champions League

Postby AussieDodger » Wed May 21, 2008 7:54 pm

The Artful Dodger wrote:Overmars and Bergkamp were also girlie-men then.


Yes and no.
The only season I actively watch soccer they go bananas and win everything (for my adopted team) so they get a free pass. ;-D
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Re: Champions League

Postby The Artful Dodger » Wed May 21, 2008 8:05 pm

Meh, they are girlie men, but not so much as Mr. Cheryl Tweedy and Joe Cole (my goodness were they all over the ref today, disgraceful even) and I'll even admit that Ronaldo is prissy as can be. That doesn't mean there can't be a Roy Keane or a Nemanja Vidic out of the bunch (forgot to say, Vidic was immense today, especially when he stopped Chelsea from getting a massive chance at the half line in 2nd ET).
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Re: Champions League

Postby kimchi_chigae » Thu May 22, 2008 12:57 am

The Artful Dodger wrote:
kimchi_chigae wrote:I'm sorry, but this has to be one of the most uninteresting Champions League matchups I can remember. Even the Porto vs. Monaco final a few years ago doesn't look as boring as this one. Man U and Chelsea play each other about ten times a season. Yawn. And the worst part is that no matter what happens, a British team will win it. :-[ :-D


I agree to a certain extent. I was reading an opinion commentary this morning about reverting the Champions League back to its old format of the European Cup, where each country was represented by their champion and their champion alone. There are a number of clubs with smaller support given they're not known on a worldwide scale, but have fantastic support and tradition (Nottingham Forest and Red Star come to mind). I think last Saturday's FA Cup between Portsmouth and Cardiff reflects how it must've been like in the 50's/60's/70's/80's when it was more than just a club affair, it was a nation vs. nation affair. I've always read about how Liverpool fans even cheered Manchester United on in 1968 because it was a country over club matter, even though under today's conditions, that would just be unfathomable.

However, I think it's also great to see the strongest teams on the continent face each other. The Champions League is kind of like the Bowl Championship Series of college football after all, where you don't simply want just the champions of smaller leagues like Finland, Romania, Sweden, etc. to be bulldozed by an English, Italian, or Spanish power (although there have been memorable upsets that the football romantics like to harp about). Unfortunately, it has gotten to the point where one, only a select few really jump out as genuine contenders (like the Big 4 of England; Real Madrid/Barca of Spain; Inter/Milan/Juve of Italy) and the big money clubs with the bigger fan bases really set the field apart for the little guys (even a Celtic or Rangers). I'd say this is more of the side effect than there being an inherent wrong in the Champions League setup.

In addition, the nations holding court in Europe keep changing anyway. Earlier this decade, it was Spain and Italy that had dominance over the Champions League. Liverpool had something to do with the tide turning in '05 while Chelsea continue to hire mercenaries for their campaigns. It just so happened England had 4 teams that managed to do well in Europe, not a matter of coincidence, as I think the league as a whole I say is getting stronger. Having said that, I think Inter would've beaten Liverpool had Materazzi not gotten that red card that really changed the complexion of the tie and Chelsea just did enough to get through up until the semifinals vs. Liverpool where they had to be their best. So, it wasn't just a cakewalk for England anyway.

I had to admit that I wanted Fenerbahce to beat Chelsea, which really proves that a side not of the Big 5 leagues could make a run at Europe, even though they deserved to lose to Chelsea in both legs anyway.

I'd say the best legs of this year's Champions League have to go to Arsenal v Milan and Arsenal v Liverpool. Liverpool v Chelsea in the semis, I'd hate to say, was more pleasing to the eye than United and Barcelona in the other semi. :-[


A few years ago, it was impossible for two teams from the same country to make the final in the Libertadores and I know that well because the team I support, Botafogo, was in the Libertadores after winning the Brazilian National Championship and we had to face Gremio in the Round of 16 because we were both from the same country. Gremio, at the time, were defending champions of the Libertadores and had a great team managed by Scolari. I was pissed. Botafogo never goes to continental tournaments and had to face arguably the strongest team of the tournament early just because of that rule.

With that being said, I completely agree that the strongest teams should face each other in the final, regardless of the country of origin. It just happens that England has probably the strongest league this season and the British teams have been playing very well. It still doesn't make me happy. As I said before, I had no interest in this final, but I think it's mostly because I don't follow the EPL that closely and the lack of Brazilian players on Man U and Chelsea's squad. I would much rather have seen Fenerbahce go through to the semis and have them take out Liverpool. :-)

I also don't think you can only have the champion of each country go to the champions league. France has a pretty good tradition is soccer and although they don't have the strongest of the leagues, it's still fairly good compared to other European countries. Lyon has completely dominated that league for years, but they are unable to do anything significant at the Champions League.

Congrats to Man U and its fans. I don't think I hate anyone more than Cristiano Ronaldo in soccer today, maybe only Carlos Tevez, but the man can play. :-D ;-D
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Re: Champions League

Postby perlick29 » Thu May 22, 2008 8:44 am

Congrats Manchester fans. I have to say that the only reason started following club soccer is because of my roommate freshman year of college. He was from the Cote D'Ivoire and intoduced me to it. So naturally I was finally drawn to a team in February when I was bored with no major sports I cared about. I took a real liking to Chelsea because of the Elephants like Drogba and Salomon Kalou, and have watched all of their games since. It's a shame they lost, and how things could have played out had Drogba not been sent off. His chances of returnig next season are slim and none and slim just got red carded so to speak. But it was fun for my first go with club soccer, I'd root on for the US in something but that just seems futile.

I owe my friend over in england a pint or two as he is a die hard Manchester guy, but still, congrats it was fun to watch.

-PS My DVR ran out after 105 minute mark and I was going nuts not thinking to add an extra hour. I had to watch the rest of the game on my CPU already seeing the result when I logged on which sucked.
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