Date:Wednesday May 6 2009
Almost feel sorry? No, I must admit I definitely feel sorry for Chelsea. Until I saw Drogba's and Ballack's totally disgraceful reactions, that is.
However, I can understand them, a little. Manchester United will play FC Barcelona in the Champions League final and on the evidence of the Catalans' two games against Chelsea, they are the weaker team of tonight's two competitors. Yes, I think Chelsea are better than this much-lauded Barcelona.
Forget the crap about anti-football, this was a tactical masterclass thoughout the first game and for 70 minutes here. However, the Norwegian referee bottled two big calls as Chelsea should have had two penalties in the first half - then, to even things up a bit, sent off Eric Abidal for no reason at all.
And that's where Guus Hiddink and his side made a mistake: they did not go for Barca's throat. They continued to defend in numbers, occasionally looking for quick breaks when they really should have turned their numerical and physical superiority into a second, clinching goal.
They did not, the ref bottled another big call when he failed to award a penalty for Pique's handball and Barcelona duly equalised with a wonderful effort from Iniesta. Overbo completed his night of embarassment when failed to spot (or just did not want to spot) when Eto'o handled the ball inside the box, beating away a last-gasp Chelsea effort.
And that was it. No repeat of last year's final - which, frankly, would have taken the gloss off it for me... and even they were hard done by the ref, Drogba's and Ballack's reactions were disgraceful. Especially Drogba's, after all, he had this tie at his mercy but failed to put away his chances.
Date:Wednesday May 6 2009
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