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We are the CHAMPIONS!

Venue: Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow

Time: 22 May 2008 0130 hours local time

Nicolas Anelka lines up in front of goal…. Edwin Van der Sar with his arms spread takes guard in front of goal…. it is sudden death….. and Anelka must be denied!

And denied he was! As Van der Sar dove to keep the ball out, as if on cue, the fans erupted into celebrations. After some tense moments following Petr Cech keeping the ball out off Ronaldo’s penalty and Terry missing his own shot…. the joy was unmatched.

The match started off in typical chessboard style with the meticulously planned team play of Chelsea being pitted against the spontaneous and stylish playing style of the Reds who had been crowned EPL champions just ten days ago. Posession was being hogged by Manchester United as Sir Ferguson sprung a tactical surprise on Avram Grant and his men when he started with Hargreaves, Carrick, Scholes and Ronaldo leaving Giggs on the bench. The Welshman did come on later to become the most capped player for ManU surpassing Sir Bobby Charlton’s record of 758 appearances. The surprise move from Sir Alex paid off in the 26th minute when Wes Brown followed up a 1-2 with Scholes with a deep cross to the far post allowing Christiano Ronaldo to head in one past Cech for his first goal ever against Chelsea. And what an opportune time to do it!

As the Reds gained in confidence, they had a scare when Scholes had to walk off the field with a bloody nose. But the veteran was back soon holding a tissue to his nose πŸ˜‰

Just as the game was approaching half time, a long pass from Essien ricocheted off both Vidic and Ferdinand to land in front of Lampard. As Van der Sar rushed to meet him, he slipped at a vital moment due to the rain soaked pitch allowing Lampard to equalise at the stroke of half time.

The next half saw attempts at goal from both sides. While Drogba and Lampard were denied by the goal post, Giggs’ attempt was miraculously headed away by Terry after Cech had left the goal open.

Extra time did not produce anything either except a red card for Drogba and a handful of yellows for Tevez, Ballack and Essien.

As the game headed for penalties both teams prepared for this showdown. The fans were delirous with excitement.

Tevez slotted in a low ball into the right corner to open the account for the Reds but Chelsea were quick to equalise through Michael Ballack. Carrick and Belletti got their shots in before ManU star midfielder Christiano Ronaldo succumbed to pressure and fired one straight at Petr Cech to allow Chelsea a one goal lead. Some tense moments followed as Hargreaves, Nani and Anderson(ManU) and Lampard and Cole (Chelsea) scored for their respective teams. John Terry fired one past the right post to allow ManU to equalise. Giggs got his shot in low to hand the lead to ManU and then Anelka stepped up for the decisive kick. And as they say the rest is history! Van der Sar made a save to hand ManU the UEFA 2007/08 Champions Trophy.
Once again the Reds have triumphed in a pressure situation to show the character that has made them the Champions.
Terry was inconsolable after the match as he realised that his missed penalty cost Chelsea the match.
Not to take away anything from Chelsea’s performance. The English club has reached a UEFA Champions final for the first time and they were worthy competitors to the Reds.
By this time I’m sure you have guessed where my loyalties lie and so may feel that this is a biased view…. but then… its my blog!!!!! πŸ˜‰
Anyway, so ManU have claimed the EPL title and the UEFA Champions Cup in the same year reinforcing Sir Alex’s informal title of most successful manager in the history of English Football.
So looking forward to another successful season from the Reds next EPL season…… and as always….
THE REDS RULE!!!!!! πŸ™‚

Categories: Soccer, Sports
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