Manchester United vs Chelsea
It was a final, one of the best that I have ever seen, of the Champions League between (my favourite team) Machester United and Chelsea. I had not watched a final in which Machester United was involved from a long long time.
I was in the Robotics Research Lab in IIIT Hyderabad along with my friend from college Vivek. I had completely forgotten that the final was on the 21st of May. It was around 11.45 and we rushed to the OBH (Old boys hostel) where we had been alloted a room. And luckily enough the match had not yet begun.
The match was being discussed as more of Sir Alex Ferguson vs Avram Grant than Man U vs Chelsea. The match was being played at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. The match kicked off with great excitement and it was a great experience to watch the match in the common room with most of the IIIT guys also watching with us. Clearly, we, Man U fans were more in number (as always). And to our satisfaction, the game from the beginning was controlled by Man U. Christiano Ronaldo, Paul Scholes, and Carrick were looking in great form! Though Wayne Rooney, Tevez were not up to the mark that day, Man U was still able to easily gain an upper hand in the first half.
Then came the goal in the 26th minute, it was a superb header by Christiano Ronaldo thanks to an even better cross by Brown and Scholes who worked one two with Brown on the right flank.
Till around the 40th minute, Man U looked to be commanding the game. But then, they seemed to be losing their concentration and Chelsea started to penetrate more and more inside Man U territory. Frank Lampard, Didien Drogba and even Michel Ballack were beginning to look dangerous.
So, we were heading to the half time, with one goal up and then came the equalizer by Chelsea’s Frank Lampard. It was a lucky goal for them as Lampard just guided the ball into the nets which was a deflected shot by Essien. It was a shock for Man U. An unexpected goal, right at the fag end of the first half! The players were all disappointed as we were.
After the half-time, the game was started off with Chelsea taking the upper hand, as Rooney, Tevez and a few others were looking out of form. Chelsea missed a lot of chances in the second half as did Man U in the first. Both teams were playing nasty football and a lot of time was being wasted each time the referee was blowing the whistle and giving innumerable yellow cards.
It was then time for Ryan Giggs, in the 87th minute to enter the field. He became the player with most number of appearances for United, surpassing Sir Bobby Charlton’s record! What a great moment it was for him as the match headed towards extra time.
Then came the extra time and no team was able to score in the 30 minutes of the extra time as well! As the match was progressing, a nasty incident took place in the field which was initiated by Tevez, I think. As more and more players gathered, it was becoming increasingly difficult for the referee to handle the players. Didien Drogba couldn’t control his temper and slapped Vidic, and luckily the referee saw that and straight away gave a red card to Drogba. And then the match headed towards penalty shoot outs.
The 5 players Man U chose were: Tevez, Carrick, Ronaldo, Hargreaves and Nani. Chelsea chose Ballack, Belletti, Lampard, Ashley Cole and Terry. The players of each team was scoring until Christiano Ronaldo, let down all his fans by not scoring and the score line was 2-2, when it could have been 3-2 in United’s favour. Even after that, all the players that took the penalty were scoring and it boiled down to the last kick which was to be taken by Chelsea’s John Terry! And luckily for Man U, Terry slipped and kicked the ball wide of the goal post! It was a huge relief to all the United players and fans, me too!
Then the match proceeded into the sudden death. Anderson scored for Man U, Kalou scored for Chelsea, Giggs did it again for Man U and then it was Anelka’s turn. His body language looked as if he did not want to take that kick and he was unhappy! He got ready and took the kick. And to the joy of Man U, Van Der Sar, got a hand to the ball and stopped the penalty! That was it, Man U were crowned the champions of the Champions League, the previous one being in 1999. We all burst out of our seats and celebrated, shouting slogans of Man U victory. It was such a big relief after a tense match!
Overall, the match was a very good one, close one and no doubt, an ugly match too because of the number of injuries, fouls and cards.
Manchester United vs Chelsea