Thursday, May 26, 2005

Liverpool's wonder boys

In the Champions League final yesterday, AC Milan's Paulo Maldini (yes, he's still playing!) scored in the first minute. Milan then added two more goals, one through a beautiful pass from the Brazilian Kaka that was threaded through the eye of a needle and dissected the Liverpool defense. Half-time score: 3-0 Milan.

Milan played a perfect half, they couldn't have done it any better. They swarmed Liverpool, didn't allow them to have any proper attacks, it looked like it was going to be a rout. Game over right? That's what the experts in the studio, the commentators, everyone said. I was watching the game and something told me NOT to switch off the TV and go to bed.

The second half started with Liverpool not really impressing for about 10 minutes. Then, their captain Stephen Gerrard scored a superb goal off a header and Liverpool was back in business. The fans started making noise. Vladimir Smicer added a scorcher of a long-range shot and suddenly Liverpool were just one goal down. Milan looked like they were in trouble. And they were. Gerrard was brought down in the box a few minutes later. The penalty was saved beautifully by the Milan keeper (Dida) but the ball ricocheted and Xabi Alonso, the penalty taker, slammed the ball home. 3-3. In about seven minutes, Liverpool had done the unthinkable.

Liverpool would eventually go on to win on penalties and claim the Champions League (while I'd dozed off, a fact I am not proud of, but will admit), and maybe resurrect the chances of keeping their captain Stephen Gerrard, who it is rumoured might be going to Chelsea.

I'm an Arsenal fan but this was a game of fantastic football and another reminder of why the game is so popular around the world. Can't wait for the next season.


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