Tuesday, April 22, 2008

MASCHERANO with an assist, RIISE with a stinker!

The Champions League semifinals first leg between Liverpool and Chelsea was every bit as tough as I thought it would be, but the Reds from Anfield dominated as I didn't imagine they were capable of doing.

They were the better team and had the best chances, while Chelsea were fast when it came to foul Fernando TORRES at every opportunity they had.

Javier MASCHERANO had a stellar performance in midfield and he assisted Dirk KUYT in the first half to give Liverpool the lead. Yes, Masche tried to shoot at goal and his defective shot fell straight to the Dutchman and the rest was history.

The second half saw a very calmed and industrious Liverpool side enjoying most of the ball possession while Chelsea were limited to try and set Didier DROGBA free on a long ball in a counter-attack.

Nothing seemed to suggest Chelsea were going to get away with something out of Anfield, but then the unthinkable happened.

KALOU sent a hopeless low cross to the Liverpool box in the 4th minute of injury time. Nicolas ANELKA went for the ball but John Arne RIISE had it covered. Or that was what José REINA, Rafa BENITEZ, the entire crowd at Anfield and myself thought. We were all wrong. RIISE, instead of a kicking the ball as far as he could, tried to clear it with a diving header and all he did was to send the ball into the back of the net to give Chelsea a crucial away goal.

A 0-0 draw in Stamford Brigde is all they need now. If it wasn't for RIISE, they would have been forced to win 2-0 and to avoid at all costs that Liverpool away goal that would have meant they would need to score 3.

I wouldn't bet against Liverpool, though. They have what it takes when it comes to win in Europe and karma always seems to favour them. But they need to minimize errors like the one RIISE had, if they want to keep their quest for the 6th European Cup alive.

Good luck, MASCHE! And next time...forget about DROGBA. Go ahead and tackle RIISE before he gets anywhere near the ball!


johnny said...

Wow, what an incredible own goal to end the match. A dagger. And with Riise as a substitute who probably would not have seen any time on the pitch unless (maybe) Liverpool had fallen behind. Not a fair outcome, but the Reds are capable of winning in the return match.

John said...

I'm sorry to say this but I just feel it's going to be tough for the reds.

I really feel for Masche now but hope is not lost just yet.

Let's have faith, shall we.

Tonight, it's Pulga vs. Carlitos!!!

Can't wait for that.