After the boring 1-0 win by Manchester United on the plastic pitch in Moscow a couple of weeks ago, my expectations were lowered before I began watching last night’s game from Old Trafford. But surprisingly, the game was extremely entertaining and a very close match.
CSKA Moscow played with a confidence and direct tactics that definitely shocked me and put Manchester United on the backfoot. There were times during this game where CSKA completely controlled the match passing the ball back and forth, which was beautiful to watch.
Many of the CSKA Moscow players seemed more comfortable on the ball, too. And more imaginative going forward with their creative through-balls. For me the player who stood out as the cream of the crop was Serbian striker Milos Krasic who was an inspiration on the pitch. The blonde-haired bomber caused plenty of trouble down the right wing and gave Darren Fletcher and Fabio plenty to worry about.
In fact, it was Krasic who was so pivotal in CSKA Moscow’s second goal after Darren Fletcher failed to track back when Krasic made a run toward the penalty box. An awful defensive decision by the young Scot and a well-deserved goal by the Russian team.
Other things that stood out for me in this match was the awful decision by the referee not to award a penalty when Fletcher was tripped in the box. Not only that, but the Portugese referee decided to give Fletcher a yellow card for diving, which was a ridiculous decision.
By the mid-point of the first half, this was such a wide-open game that it was practically impossible to determine who would win it. Manchester United made defensive mistakes, yes, but they had plenty of chances going forward to score. And thus it was an entertaining match with plenty of end-to-end action.
Now on to the topic of the commentator, a certain Mr. Tim White. To be frank, if this was the first time I was hearing him as a commentator, I would have found his voice partially annoying and his incessant discussions troublesome. But this wasn’t the first time I’ve heard him. And, as a result, it was another frustrating experience hearing him commentate on the match.
While his voice is unmistakable, which is a good quality, he sounds like he’s faking it especially when he raises his voice in excitement. For example, CSKA Moscow had an opportunity to score straight from the kick-off and took a shot that sailed over the crossbar. It was pretty close but still a few feet away. To listen to White’s commentary, you would have expected the shot to go directly into the top corner. Sure, he got excited, but it sounded like he got overly excited for all the wrong reasons. And it ended up sounding very fake. This was minute one of the game. We had to persevere for another 90 minutes listening to this chap.
The other annoying fact about Tim White’s commentary is that it’s just him. There’s no co-commentator to interject when he talks too much about a particular topic. It’s just 90 minutes of one commentator rambling on and on.
Fair play to him, he is very skilled with pronouncing Russian names. And he does his best to pronounce surnames in their native tongues such as Berbatov (in previous games) and Valencia, last night. So at least his heart is in the right place. But what he needs is a co-commentator just like the AC Milan versus Real Madrid game had last night. Ninety minutes of Champions League football is wonderful, but it’s definitely a trying experience whenever Tim White is at the helm.