Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Champions League Final: Running Diary

Taking a page out of the Bill Simmon's playbook with a running diary of the 2007 Champions League final between AC Milan and Liverpool FC:

Pre-game: Can't help but think as I watch Jermaine Pennant waving at the crowd like a fool during the Champions League anthem that there's just something not right about Pennant being a part of a UCL final. Now watch, the drunk-driving little twerp will pop up with the winning goal.

6th minute: Danny Agger does his best snarling dog impression against the snarling dog himself, Rino Gattuso, with a solid tackle. Definitely one of the best signings this season, talk about value for money.

10th minute: Wow,
Pennant almost makes good on my little pre-game prediction. Pennant steals the ball outside the Milan box, does a one-two with Gerrard and hits a hard low shot to the far post forcing a great save out of Dida. I choked on my chocolate milk, just a little bit.

15th minute: This week's sign of the apocalypse: A plug for the Indy 500 just came up during the UCL final. That's like plugging a Starbucks poetry slam over the loudspeaker at a Texas rodeo. Just not the right audience.

23rd minute: My father bemoans the decision by Gerrard to go for the volley instead of laying off to the trail man. Forgive him he isn't aware of the immense power the lies within Gerrard's right foot with the ball sitting up for him like that. He also just asked if Gerrard is Argentinian...moving on...

24th minute: Hey, Javier Mascherano is pretty good, eh? Woudn't you say, Alan Pardew/Curbishley?

27th minute: 2nd sign of the apocalypse - Tommy Smyth: "Pennant is running them (Milan) ragged on the right side"....oh god..

35th minute: Another good scoring chance started by Pennant, Jankulovksi is looking absolutely dreadful tonight.

38th minute: Pennant just stuck in for not one, but two strong tackles..this is just fascinating..IS THIS THE FUCKING TWILIGHT ZONE? WHERE IS HIS ANKLE TRACKING DEVICE? WHEN DID HE GET OFF PROBATION?

40th minute: Gattuso gets a yellow card, yawn. The over-under on when he would get card (because him getting one was never a question) would've been 30th minute, I'd guess. And I would've gone under, obviously underestimating his level of restraint. Sorry, Rino.

44th minute: Against the run of play, just before half-time, Milan wins a free-kick (Kaka went down too easy for me) outside the box. Pirlo's free-kick is deflected off of Inzaghi, King of in the right place at the right time goals, and into the back of the net. Milan 1 - Liverpool 0.
Half-Time Verdict: The Athenian air is thick with controversy. Stevie Nichol, half-time pundit and Liverpool backer, says that if the ball goes off your arm and into the net--intentional contact or not--it's not a goal. And I must concur. FIFA is kind of ambiguous about this issue but I must concur with Nichol.

Liverpool are the better team so far and I actually feel bad for the Scousers, brutally unfair end to the half. I'm expecting Liverpool to come out with more of the same led by the talismanic Jermaine Pennant (wtf?!?!) and eventually break through with an equalizer, then who knows.
Start of 2nd half: Those guys drumming the boys back on the pitch are outrageously lame.

58th minute: Kewell comes on for Zenden, finally. (wow never thought I'd say that, looks like we're still in the twlight zone)

62nd minute: "He gets away from Nesta, how often can you say that"--GOLDEN opportunity for Gerrard clear on goal, should've done better. 'Nuff said.

70th minute: Milan are doing the Italian thing. Content to sit back put 9 men behind the ball before punting the ball back to Reina. Inzaghi is stranded on a faraway island of In Front of the Halfway Line. Negative football and I don't like it, almost makes me want to root for Liverpool. Almost.

74th minute: Derek Rae points out that Jemaine Pennant has not been as effective here in the second half. All is right with the world. Also good news, Milan are opening up a bit more which makes it easier for me to root for them.

77-79th minute: "A gangly handful he is"--Peter Crouch comes on for Mascherano. Took you long enough, Rafa. Kaladze comes on for Jankulovski, that should put to bed any possibility of a Pennant resurgance.

82nd minute: Despite Sir Fergie's assertion that Inzaghi was born offside, he is in fact also the King of beating the offside trap. And he does it to perfection before coolly slotting under the on-rushing Reina. Slipping away for Liverpool...

84th minute: Inzaghi may be a Milan folk-hero but he's still a wanker. He blocks a Kewell cross with his midsection, seems ok at first, then in true Italian wanker-dom realizes the opportunity to waste time and hits the ground rolling around in "pain" from the blow he took. Kewell tries to help him up and get on with it while resisting the temptation to give put him in real pain.

88th minute: Istanbul flashbacks. Kuyt scores off a corner, it's not over yet.

91st minute: Foul called against Crouch on a 50-50 aerial challenge. Wasn't a foul. Poor guy get's penalized all the time just because he's a giant.

Full-time: Referee blows the whistle a bit early using 2:44 of the alotted 3 minutes stoppage time as Rafa is shown furiously pointing to his watch amidst Milan celebrations.
Final Verdict: Liverpool can feel a bit hard-done by some decisions and bad luck but what it comes down to is execution vs. lack therof. The point is that you shouldn't let the game be decided by referee's decisions or any other outside forces, you decide it yourself. Say what you want about Inzaghi, he's not my favorite guy either, but he had his chance one-on-one vs the keeper and took it well to put the game beyond Liverpool's reach. Gerrard will surely look back on the 62nd minute chance with only Dida to beat and think that was THE opportunity to bring it level. Hmm wonder if Sammy Eto'o would've put that away...let the transfer rumors flow. And Sir, let the wine flow, too.

1 comment:

Joshua Mayers said...

i always enjoy reading you stuff, you have an entertaining voice and great delivery

good stuff man, keep it up