Thursday, May 26, 2005
Party time @ Merseyside
When you've seen a team struggle in the previous round to score a single 'legitimate' goal (c'mon, THAT ball did NOT cross the goal line) against fellow English opposition and then find them trailing 3-0 against an Italian team in a cup final, how many footer fans would have bothered to stay awake and watch till the final rites were performed. I do not have the exact numbers and I am sure even the Anfield faithfuls at Istanbul must have been thinking of catching an early flight back home but, as they say, football is a great leveller and 6 minutes of sheer madness was the fine line that separated the victors from the vanquished. Of course, I promptly switched off telly at half-time and hit the sack imagining the scathing headline I would use for this post "You don't mess with 'em Italians" - Fortunately for me, insomnia raised its ugly hood and when I switched on again, it was 3-3 with 16 minutes to go. Yeah, Shevchenko came as close as that proverbial whisker to breaking the deadlock in the second half of extra time but somehow, my gut told me that the trophy would go to Anfield which is how finally things shaped up.
So what does this mean to English Football ? The debate about a 5th Champions League spot for England is bound to dominate headlines, Rafa Benitez vs Jose Mourinho has the potential to become another Fergie vs Arsene battle and Steven Gerrard might not move to Stamford Bridge after all.
Anyway the curtains have come down on yet another exciting year of Champions League football and though yesterday's match was a great advertisement for football, IMHO the 6 goal thriller between Chelsea and Barca at Stamford Bridge was the highlight of this season.
Next year My Men In Blue will rule. Till then...adios !!