Home > Soccer, Sports > Rossoneri… Here we come!

Rossoneri… Here we come!

Its been more than a year and a half since my last blog post and so it is only befitting that I came back on the same note that I left at. Yes u guessed it – the Reds!
A momentous occasion awaits tonight as millions of fans across the world turn up – in stadium and in their living rooms – to cheer for their sides. Both sides champions of their national leagues come together in the first of their Last 16 cup clash. Its time for the game: Manchester United vs AC Milan at the San Siro.
The two teams have met four times previously in European cup ties before this one. And every time it has ended badly for the Reds. Whether they deserved it or not is a question for another day but the fact remains that ManU have the record books and history books against them as they take on the field tonight. It doesn’t help matters that former star ManU midfielder David Beckham now plays for AC Milan. Ironically, after 7 years since his departure from ManU, Beckham will face his former club for the first time having tried his luck previously with a variety of clubs and nondescript performances and team mates.
While ManU has a lot of scores to settle, they must be wary tonight. In the last four encounters (eight matches for the uninitiated), ManU won 3 out of 4 home matches…. and lost all the others!
San Siro has never been happy hunting grounds for the Reds. As they take the field today, they will have Rio Ferdinand at the back to bolster the wildly inadequate defence but Vidic and Giggs would both miss the action. The biggest difference, however, between the sides when they met in 2007 and now is the absence of star midfielders Kaka and Ronaldo, who were both picked up by Spanish giants Real Madrid this year.
While the Rossoneri seemed to have recovered from this loss pretty well, beating up lesser teams on the way, ManU on the other hand struggled at the start with an ignominious defeat to newly promoted Burnley. What followed was nothing short of embarassing as the Reds reached new lows drawing with teams they had previously walloped and Chelsea climbed to the top of the league table quickly. But then ManU’s man for every occasion, Rooney decided to turn up the ante, slotting in goals at a furious rate past helpless goalkeepers weekend after weekend. If ever anybody deserved to wear Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s mantle of “Baby Faced Assassin” it is this man as he selflessly runs from front to his goal to defend and then leads the counter attack on the opposition before letting rip accurately placed blinders.
Today, however, Rooney and co face a mammoth task. If they want to keep their hopes of making it to the quarter finals alive, they must ensure a win here… preferably with a cushion of a goal or two to keep a safety margin for the home leg later on. That, however will be a tall ask considering the typical Serie A playing style of AC Milan (“Defence is the best form of attack”) and Manchester United’s absolute lack of any form of a substantial defence. In the past few months, the midfielders like Anderson, Nani and Valencia with the assistance of Rooney have managed to prevent the ball from going too far towards their own goal, but whenever a player or two has broken off and made a run for it, ManU have had to scramble for cover and often van der Sar was left to fend for himself as a striker beat the shortest path towards goal.
On the other hand AC Milan would have a few selection dilemmas – not the smallest of them being whether or not to field the 34-year old exRed, Beckham. While there may be younger legs in the squad, Beckham brings with him the unique experience of having played with and captained the Reds for several years while under Sir Alex. He has an insight into the man’s thinking and may be able to work out the strategies that Sir Alex may apply. Of course there is always the flip side risk of him becoming emotional and choking in the game since this is the first time he plays ManU, his erstwhile club of which he is a self-proclaimed fan.
The battle is poised to be interesting – the only dampener being that the two European giants will battle it out under lights (prime time slot) which in effect means that ESPN will telecast the match in India at the ungodly hour of 1.15am. Just one of those things which make you hate having to wake up early for job the next day I guess!

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  1. abhishekparab
    16 February 2010 at 15:35 IST

    Hey i didn’t know you blogged.. Cool blog yar!

  2. sks3286
    16 February 2010 at 17:04 IST

    Yeah dude… became irregular over the last year… hope to pick it up again…. 🙂

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