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Manchester United–The Champions of Europe

anelka 500 Manchester United  The Champions of Europe

It was always going to come down to one break or mistake either way, and it was the cruelest of fates for Chelsea captain John Terry and his team as Edwin van der Sar punched Nicolas Anelka’s weak penalty away to clinch the Champions League for Manchester United. Terry could’ve won the shootout in the fifth round but slipped on the wet turf right before his penalty, and Cristiano Ronaldo’s miss earlier on was cancelled out.

I won’t say that penalties aren’t the way to decide games like these; the alternative is to play until someone scores and that’s not reasonable in soccer like it is in hockey because it is much more difficult to find the back of the net. I also won’t criticize Anelka, Terry, or Ronaldo for missing their spot kicks, and I feel gutted for the two Chelsea players but particularly Terry.

It’s difficult to find the words to describe a game like this. I firmly believe the pictures and moments we saw speak for themselves, so I don’t want to spoil such a big occasion by not doing it the justice it deserves. I will say that Manchester United were the best team in Europe this season, even if they were dominated in the second half of this game and for stretches of extra time as well. I know that the best team doesn’t always win, but this year, that wasn’t the case.

Ferguson’s substitutions proved to work as all three of the players he brought on scored in the shootout. In that regard, you can say he outcoached Grant tonight but I honestly don’t think that was the case. Chelsea picked up their play considerably as the game wore on and were unlucky not to win before it even went to PK’s.

As I said earlier, it would be foolish to ruin what we just witnessed and so I’ll sign off here. Congratulations to Chelsea and especially Manchester United, the champions of Europe in 2007-2008.

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26 Responses to Manchester United–The Champions of Europe

  1. Rob Howell says:

    As a ManU fan, I’m ecstatic with the result.

    But I want to remind everyone, though it will probably get forgotten later, that this game does not go to penalties if John Terry had not made that amazing play on the back line. I would have been perfectly happy to see Cole miss, because he seemed really whiny today, but Terry was a class act and a great player not simply today, but throughout the year.

    I disagree that games should not continue. I can’t stand penalty kicks. It’s a horrible way to end important games. In this case, Terry will be remembered for missing the kick, when what should be remembered is his great play throughout the game.

  2. hmmmm says:

    what a crap game. 2nd half was awful, extra time marginally better. I take solace in that my 2 most hated players, Ronaldo and Terry missed penalties. That was a final that will soon be forgotten. Was like a rubish FA cup final on a bad pitch in a bad stadium.

  3. Paul Bestall says:

    What a great game, superb stuff from both sides. Entertaining, fast paced top quality football.

  4. Michael says:

    hmmmmm, that was a “crap game”??? What were you watching????

  5. hmmmm says:

    was one of the weaker performances by both chelsea and man U i’ve seen all season. both teams struggled, Rooney and Drogba were especially crap.

  6. Michael says:

    Take into account that the condition of the field was awful and only got steadily worse as the game went on because of the heavier rain..

  7. JLay says:

    hmmmm, are you insane? That was one of the best matches I’ve seen in a very long time! Both sides had several incredible chances – sitters were missed, goalposts were struck, and there was plenty of scrapping.

    That said, nobody on the Chelsea side was a “class act”. You probably couldn’t see Terry bumping the official and protesting every call because 6 of his teammates were busy doing the same thing.

    Doing my best to be objective(admittedly, I’m not), I saw about 15 or 20 dives over the course of that game by Chelsea players – and I didn’t see ONE from United. So much for Ronaldo being the cheat, huh?

    Cole, Makalele, Ballack, Drogba, and the rest of that sorry squad won exactly what they deserved – NOTHING. They suck, and I wish them decades of sleepless nights- I hope they never forget how much they suck. Terry’s slip was priceless – instant karma’s gonna get ya, huh?

  8. Varun Sadana says:

    I agree.. the best team this season won it. Though Chelsea dominated a lot of the game, specially the second half. Being a ManU fan.. it feels like.. hmm. getting a scholars from Harvard??

  9. hmmmm says:

    I’ll add that I thought the ref had a pretty bad game as well, but didn’t have any real tough decisions. Sending off Drogba was the correct call, he had a clear eye on it too

  10. kat kid says:

    Chelsea were an embarrassment with their lack of sportsmanship. Cole especially. Ronaldo disappeared after his goal as Essien stepped up. His penalty miss was awful. Terry slipped, but still inexcusable at such a crucial moment. The only true save came from Van de Sar after coming close twice and Terry’s mistake doomed Chelsea.

    United was lucky to escape the second half even, they made some great runs in extra time, Ronaldo’s miss gifted Chelsea and then Terry’s miss started things anew.

    Terrific game for a neutral and amazing finish.

    Well Done (except for the pitch).

  11. Nate says:

    Add me to the list of people who thought it was a very entertaining game. Two evenly matched teams played with a lot of energy and passion.

  12. damir says:

    i don’t agree that the best team won it this year, as it’s more of a case that the luckiest team won.

  13. paul says:

    what a awesome game.
    well done united.
    my heart goes out to chelsea lsthough im a united for.
    frnk your mum would be proud.
    dont ever give up.

  14. paul says:

    yeah we was lucky and i dont mind admitting it.

  15. Shakira Graham says:

    Ref had a bad game, bad misses by Terry, Ronaldo and Anelka, United dominated the first half, Chelsea the second half. I thought it was a good game and Fergie has cemented himself as one of the greatest managers ever. Well done Manchester United!

  16. bryan says:

    Damir, what do you mean the best team didn’t win it? United are unbeaten in the Champions League. Maybe the best team on the night didn’t win it, but the best team throughout the competition certainly did.

  17. Dimitre says:

    What a game, what a game, what a game. A great showcase of the Premier League, drama, quality, tears. Heart goes out to Chelsea: whey were a bit better on the night, could have gone either way, but such is football…

  18. Michael says:

    Completely agree with most everyone’s sentiments here.

    I thought Michel should’ve booked three or four Chelsea players for dissent but he let it go, I thought United dominated the first half while Chelsea had the better of the second half and extra time, I have to question Grant a little bit for using a center back as the 5th shooter in PK’s (and using one at all, for that matter), both I thought both sides gave it everything they had.

    No doubt that Chelsea has a few players that are an embarrassment to the spirit of the game (no shocker that they are mainly English players as well, no offense), but Hargreaves began to whine a little bit as the game went on as well.

    I feel awful for Terry because he had such a great game, and I don’t think anyone will remember anything but the penalty miss and that’s unfair to him.

    Ballack didn’t even bother to show up tonight, Rooney didn’t either, and Drogba absolutely should’ve gotten that red card, no question.

    Other than that, this was simply a great game for myself to watch as a neutral. It was entertaining after a dismal first 15 minutes, and I thought both sides had their chances to win.

  19. CFTV says:

    I am a United fan and I have to ask how did Owen Hargreaves escape getting a red card for his shove in the back to the referee after he gave the yellow card the Ballack at the 115:05 moment of the game. In the melee Hargreaves started talking to the referee from behind and gave him a shove in the back in the direction of Drogba. The assistant referee even shielded the head ref after the shove. Putting your hands on the referee is never cool.

    I just caught that in the replay and figured I would point that out and see if anyone else noticed it and wondered if that is a yellow or red card offense if it is an offense at all?

  20. Michael says:

    Yeah I noticed that too, it obviously would’ve been a red card if the referee or linesman would’ve deemed it to be on purpose or with any malice whatsoever, but I don’t he was shoving him in protest or anything of that sort.

  21. Simon Burke says:

    Congrats to Chelsea my arse – I am delighted they lost. Seeing that cheat Drogba’s last contribution to English football was delightful.
    Was it brave to send up Terry for a pen to win it all or STUPID? Seriously Terry – you wouldnt send up ..say Kalou, a atriker with some technical skill. Half of England will be delighted to have seen that thug miss. Crazy choice for a 5th pen. Nothing brave about it.
    I am no United fan but they deserved to win over the course of the season, I dont think they were the better team on the night though.
    Seeing Chelsea send up that smarmy muppet Kenyon only to then be outdone by us all seeing Sir Bobby lead up United – thats the difference between class, United have it – Chelsea dont. Sorry Chelsea fans – Kenyon took his medal all smiles – Sir Bobby was sensible enough to refuse wearing his because he exemplifies true sportsmanship. Congrats United – when Cristiano “5 hours to take a crap penalty” Ronaldo leaves you in 2 weeks (listen to his interview he gave the BBC where he promises NOTHING to the United supporters) – then
    we’ll see what you have in reserve next year…

  22. Mike says:

    Here’s hoping John Terry isn’t defined by his miss. He’s a classy, tough player who didn’t deserve to be put in that spot. Drogba is a selfish fool who owes his teammates, the club and the fans more than a red in the final minutes of extra time.
    Penalties are the worst way to settle such an important game, but the drama and storylines were intense.
    http://startingeleven.blogspot.com/2008/05/champions-league-final-john-terry.html

  23. Lonnie says:

    John Terry ? Classy? Not sure about that :) Anyone remember this?

    John Terry gives middle finger to the disabled:
    http://www.thespoiler.co.uk/index.php/2008/03/19/john-terry-gives-middle-finger-to-the-disabled

    He’s a good centre-back and I did feel a bit bad for him but he’s a professional and he’ll bounce back from it.

    Glad United won today. Very good game all in all…lots of drama and plenty of talking points.

  24. Paul Bestall says:

    I thought the ref had a great game as well. Was on top of everything, made some good calls, not fooled by any dives and tried to play advantage as often as possible.

  25. Dave M says:

    The announcers said that Drogba would get no medal because he was sent off, but did anyone notice that Av Grant was given a 2nd medal (one to wear and one to carry)? Makes me wonder if it was for poor Didier.

  26. JLay says:

    Poor Didier my arse – I hope he slipped in the shower…

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