Wednesday, April 30, 2008

No ticket to Moscow for MASCHE

He fought the good fight but it simply wasn't enough. Javier MASCHERANO played for 120 minutes on Wednesday at Stamford Bridge but he couldn't help a Liverpool side that this time fell short and won't have the chance to meet the old rival, Manchester United, in what would have been a sensational Champions League final. Instead, it'll be Chelsea the team that will take on Carlitos and his friends on 21 May in Moscow.

Javier had a solid game (as usual) but Liverpool couldn't built on the momemtum they got after Fernando TORRES cancelled Didier DROGBA's opening goal.

With that 1-1 score the match went to extra time and after an early Liverpool charge, it was all blue in the first 15 minutes. Michael ESSIEN had a goal disallowed for offside on DROGBA but soon after that, HYYPIA downed BALLACK inside the box for Frank LAMPARD to convert from the spot in a very emotional time of his life as he's just lost his mother.

Liverpool were stunned and Rafa BENITEZ decided to replace his talismanic 30-goal striker Fernando TORRES with Ryan BABEL. I didn't quite understand that substitution but we don't know Rafa's reasons and El Niño can very well be injured or just wasn't ready to go a full 120 minutes.

In what looked like an offside position, Nicolas ANELKA sent a cross to DROGBA and the Ivory Coast international scored the 3-1 that look to be enough to send the blues to their first ever Champions League final.

HYYPIA got the ball in the Chelsea box and was clearly fouled by DROGBA, but the referee didn't award the penalty kick to Liverpool as the clock and the result were the Reds' worst enemies.

With only 4 minutes to go in the match, Ryan BABEL added a little extra drama with a rocket from 40 metres that was just too powerful for Petr CECH and Liverpool had a lifeline. But it wasn't to be.

MASCHE ran all night but the reward wasn't a trip to Moscow to face his friend Carlitos. He'll just have to wait.


Saurabh said...

Tough luck for Liverpool. But to be fair, several of the Liverpool players went AWOL. Skirtel's injury also proved critical. But what really seperated the two teams was the greater bench strengtht of Chelsea - they looked fresher in the ET.

Coming back to the point raised by NPL in an earlier post, I do not think that passing football has become outdated and that every team must go for games based on crowded defence and swift counter-attacks.

What Barcelona needed was an efficient striker - in place of the wasteful E'to and good use of dead balls. They were pathetic with the free kicks.

Fotball will be poorer if all the teams start following Liverpool, Chelsea and the Man Utd team that turned up for semi finals.

nbaroundtable said...

I believe Torres injured his hamstring. Rafa didn't want to take him off, felt he had no choice.

Liverpool just didn't have enough guns. Two match winners (Stevie G, Torres) against five or so for Chelsea (Joe Cole, Ballack, Drogba, Lampard, Anelka). Just more quality.

Babel needs to mature a bit as a player. He can be one of those wingers Liverpool desperately need. Disappointed he played so little this season.

I fully agree with Saurabh about the weak defensive minded displays from the English teams. I can't help but wonder why teams can't crack a better balance. That goes for Barca too (little more urgency in their play and they'd have scored).