Date:Monday March 17 2008
Finally, I have a little time to write about our Champions League draw. Amid accusations of a rigged draw we have to contemplate a fifth and a sixth game in less than a year against AS Roma.
In our lowdown before the draw we have already written about their strengths and weaknesses so I would focus on just one aspect now, as the games itself are still far away. That aspect is Doni, Roma's Brazilian keeper.
In the first leg of last season's quarter-final he had little to do as United spent the greatest part of the game defending with a man down. He had no chance of keeping out Rooney's shot so we did not know what to expect of him at Old Trafford.
In the second leg he was found out horribly. In the 11th minute, Ronaldo's pass found Carrick and though the pass wasn't perfect, Michael hit it sweetly and it flew over a stranded Doni who was on the six-yard line... It was a brilliant goal but part of the blame must be attached to him.
Though he was faultless in them, the two quick goals that followed the opener completely shattered his confidence. He really should have done better with Ronaldo's first goal and could be faulted at Evra's effort though it did not matter at that time...
When Roma returned to Old Trafford in October it was telling that Luciano Spalletti opted for Curci - though Doni was struggling with an injury. Doni returned for the return game in Rome when things did not matter in the slightest but that 1-1 draw surely did not strengthen his belief and confidence against us.
Now it will be interesting to see whether Luciano Spalletti fields Doni at Old Trafford. It's a big gamble on one hand but a big vote of lack of confidence if he leaves him out. Doni might be overcome with the momeries of that disastrous game a year ago - or he might be galvanised by his past embarassment.
All in all, I'm sure Old Trafford will be happy to see Doni again in the Roma goal. And let's hope he will buckle under the pressure again as he is far from being a top-class keeper. Not that Curci is better, mind you.
Date:Monday March 17 2008
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