This was a night to be remembered, for Ryan Giggs’s record appearance as the all time leading player to representManchester United, for Roanldo’s fananstic header and his 42nd goal of a marvellous season, for Drogba’s stupid red card, for John Terry penalty miss and Edwin Van Der Sarr’s save from Anelka’s spot kick to give Man Utd their 3rd European cup. This was the kinda of european night that all Man Utd fan will remember forever.
50 years ago, a plane crashed in Germany, killing several Man utd players known as the Busby Babes. 10 years since that fatal plane crash, Man Utd won their first European Cup, beating Benfica 4-1 in extra time. In 1999, Man utd beat Bayern Munich 2-1 thanks to 2 stoppage time goals from Ole Gunnar Solskjær and Teddy SHeringham at the Camp Nou in the most dramatic final I have ever seen. 3 years ago, Liverpool staged the most amazing comback in European Cup final coming down 3-0 at half time to win in penalties. I have no doubt Liverpool will win the final that night after scoring the euqualiser. Last night, I have no doubt that Chelsea will win this one in extra time or penalty in the most nail-biting final I have watched so far, after all I’m a Man Utd fan. However, fate put me wrong.
On such a special night, it was fate that won Man Utd the Cup. On the preview of this big match, it was said that Chelsea has the more experience players than Man Utd players but where were them for Chelsea last night? Belletti came off the bench in the last minute of extra so that he can take one of the penalty. Ballack was one of the better player and Carvalho and Mekelele were there. However where were Andriy Shevchenko and Paulo Ferreira? I though Shevshould have take one of the penalty. Rewind to the final between Milan and Juventus few years ago. It was Shev who scored the winning penalty to secure the Cup for Milan. A very big “what if” had Shev took the fifth penalty instead of John Terry. He could repay Chelsea with that single moment and Im quite sure Shev will score.
Now to the 2 individuals that I have said that could decide this match. I said Chelsea would come out top and I think I’m correct. What a way Drogba decide this match ala Zidane at the 2006 World Cup final. It was like Drogba deciding to do what Zidane did for his last match for France and in this case Chelsea. ” I dont want to take the penalty. I dont like the pressure! I’m leaving the club anyway so I dont care. What the fu*k!” he must be thinking so “bang” red card and he strolled away in disgrace. What a relief for him though.
Ronaldo’s a relief man also. After missing his spot kick yet again, he has to thank Terry and Van Der Sarr. After the match, his future is in doubt again. If he does leave, I’m quite sure Man Utd will have a new manager next season. This current crop of Man Utd players has the potential to win many things and Ronaldo’s departure will leave a big gap missing especially since the likes of Giggs and Scholes will not be playing that much next season. Will Ronaldo leave to seek new challenges after being the best player in the world this season or will he stay to win more things with this current batch Man Utd players? We shall see.
Man of the Match: Pete Cech. I was thinking of Frank Lampard too. Lampard was Chlsea best player in this season and he scored a crucial equaliser last night. He even hit the cross bar with a sweet left footed shot. He has been the most consistent Chelsea player, scoring 20 goals for every past seasons. Alot of credit must give to Jose Mourinho who has transformed Lampard into the player he is today. Pete got my nod because he gave a world class performance last night. What a save from Carrick! He kept Chelsea in the match. And he saved from Ronaldo too from the penalty shoot out. In the end its was Terry and Anelka who let him down. Pete Cech no doubt is the best goalkepper in the world and will be for the next decade or so.
Why Man Utd is the European Champion: You could say its luck or fate but I dont care. Man Utd has the better game plan, raiding down Chelsea’s flanks wherever they can, exposing the weakness of Michael Essien but they will not find him there next season as Chesleahas brought a new right back. The second half its was all Chelsea and its was apalling to find Park Ji Sung not even on the bench. After encouraging displays against Roma and Barcelona, he could not received a medal thay he deserved. Park should move to a club that appreciate his efforts more. It was down to nerves in the penalty shoot out and unfortuately, Chelsea had more players that could not hold onto their nerves.
Farewell match: This could very well be the last appearance for some players for their respective clubs. Drogba, Lampard, Carvalho, Mekelele, Belletti are some possibilities for Chelsea and Ronaldo, Van der Sarr, Scoles, Giggs among those playing last night for Man Utd. And of course, both club’s manager.
What’s next: Chelsea is going to rebulid. I would like to see Chelsea playing 4-4-2 next season with Essein and Ballack flank by Cole and Malouda. Anelka and a new striker probably David Villa or Klass-Jan Huntelaar. The defence of course consist of Cole, Terry, Micah Richards and Bosingwa with Cech in goal. If Ronaldo leaves, a new winger will arrive. Ricardo Quaresma seems like a good choice. If Ronaldo stays, the midfield should be alright and a new striker and perhaps at least 2 new defenders must arrive especially some defenders will be leaving but expect more of the same from Man Utd.
The Club season is over and now its time for Euro 2008. It quite sad that I will be missing some of the latter matches which most probably pit the better teams against each other due to school. My money is on France and Italy but watch the underdogs and a certain Ronaldo.