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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Manchester United is Champion of UEFA Champions League 2008

Thrilling, exciting, mind blowing, nail beating, what else you can find to term the match by. The first ‘all English’ Champions League final will, for sure, be remembered by the football fans for many years, not only for being ‘all English’ final, but also for the excitement and thrill it created among the players and fans from the beginning to the end. Manchester United has won the third Champions League title, second under Sir Alex Ferguson, beating English Premier League rival Chelsea in penalty shoot out.

From the very beginning both the clubs tried to dominate the match and fans of both sides were treated with flurry of attacks on every now and then. It was too difficult to say which team was dominating when during the first half. Cristiano Ronaldo opened scoring in the 26th minute, when his superb header took Chelsea net, giving no chance to goal keeper Petr Cech. Thanks to the well-executed head of Ronaldo, it seemed Manchester United was going to dominate in the match. However, Chelsea continued attacking Manchester United half with creating a number of chances, but lacked well execution. It was not until 45 minute, Chelsea got the equalizer thanks to English midfielder Frank Lampard.

To be honest, the second half seemed a bit less dramatic compared to the first half, though both sides tried their best to create chances. Once, Manchester United hit Chelsea post. Didier Drogba was threatening in the Manchester United half consistently, but Ferdinand, Vidic were up to the mark to restrict the Ivorian striker. However, the best chance of the second half came for Manchester United, when a Ryan Giggs shot was unbelievingly saved by Chelsea captain John Terry. Actually, I did not see many saves like this by a centre defender that Terry did during the second half of the match. That time, who knew that Terry was going to turn into the villain of the night in the end. The math remained 1-1 till the full time and entered into extra time.

Attacking, counter-attacking continued from both sides in the extra time. A shot again hit the goal post, but this time Chelsea was unlucky as Drogba’s shot was restricted by Manchester United goal bar. In the 25th minute of Extra Time, Drogba was sent off following a physical clash with an opposition player. Chelsea turned into a 10 men team. Extra Time finished too, but score remained 1-1.

More of drama was still left until then. Both the club missed one of the first five penalty shoot outs. Cristiano Ronaldo missed Manchester United’s third shot with a poor taking. Then comes another part of the drama, when John Terry missed the last shot of Chelsea, which would have brought the first ever Champions League title for Chelsea. Terry could not take the shot properly, being slipped a bit the moment before taking the shot, consequently Van der Sar stopped it easily. So, the match entered into sudden death and it created a deadly experience for Chelsea captain John Terry, who left the field crying at the end of the match. In sudden death, both sides scored from their first shot, thanks to Anderson and Kalou. In the second shot, Ryan Giggs scored for Manchester United, but French striker Anelka failed to score for Chelsea. That was enough to make Van der Sar the HERO of the night, giving a relief to Cristiano Ronaldo, who missed the only shot for Manchester United.

At last, I would like to say that both teams played superb and presented with a fantastic match for the fans. However, Manchester United was a little bit lucky to win the title. To me, that was the difference in the match.

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