Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Los Campeones Estan Eliminado

Sorry, I don't know how to say it in Catalan, other than to guess by indiscriminately adding a shitload of Xs.

The defending Champions League and Spanish league champions are out, as are the soon to be 2 time Italian Champions, soon to be 6 time French champions, and soon to be 2 time Portugese champions. Wow.

Liverpool 0-1 Barcelona
Aggregate: Liverpool 2-2 Barcelona. Liverpool advance on away goals rule
I thought Benitez would have Liverpool play behind the ball, defend, absorb Barcelona pressure, and try to nick a goal on the break. Hell, I think everyone did. Instead he did the old best defense is a good offense and went balls to the wall all out attack. Liverpool simply dominated the first half, outshooting Barca 10-1 and hitting the post 3 times. Barca looked pretty poor in the 1st half despite having 60% of the possession. They played with an amazing lack of urgency and looked like a team that was sleepwalking through a match that they only needed to draw. Very strange. 2nd half was more of the same, except for Ronaldinho failing to score in the 55th minute when through alone 1-on-1 with the keeper - he probably had 70% of the goal at his mercy but got too cute and biffed it off the post. Eto'o largely did nothing and was subbed after about an hour for Gudjohnsen. In the 74th the sub scored a very good goal from a great throughball by Messi{or was it Xavi?}: 1-0 Barca and game on. They nearly made in 2-0 less than a minute later, and you had the feeling that the last 15 minutes would be a massive onslaught by Barca with Liverpool trying desperately to hang on to dear life, but it never really materialized that way. Liverpool controlled the last 10 minutes and that was that. The Pool did all of the other contenders a big favor by knocking out the favorites. They continue their bizarre dual existence- disappointing in the EPL (by their standards/expectations) and worldbeaters in Europe- over the last 4 seasons they have the best record of any English club in the Champions League. They somehow seem to be a completely different animal in Europe and will be a damn tough out for anyone else, especially with the confidence boost that will come with knocking out the best team in Europe. Arsenal's back to back 3-1 and 6-3 wins at Anfield earlier this year just look more and more impressive as time marches on {yes that is a reference to the Tracy Lawrence song Time Marches On. You are just going to have to deal with it - I love that song}.

Valencia 0-0 Inter Milan

Aggregate: Valencia 2-2 Inter Milan. Valencia advance on away goals rule
Valencia simply don't lose at the Mestalla, and they did what they needed to do. In retrospect I was pretty damn baked to think that this match would end 2-2 with Inter playing without PV4 or Cambiasso, and I don't think Adriano ended up playing as well. Things came to a boil towards the end, partly thanks to Materrazzi taking out 2 players at once (I know, I was just as shocked & surprised as you were), and at the final whistle a fracas broke out on the field and continued into the tunnel. It looked like more than handbags to me, and apparently Burdisso of Inter players came out of it with a broken nose. Supremely disappointing for Inter who remain unbeaten this year and badly wanted to validate their season for all of the doubters that will put a bunch of asterisks next to their certain to be Scudetto (Italian league title) and possible unbeaten season (Juventus demoted to Serie B, AC Milan old and feeble, and all the other main rivals hit with point dedections this year). Similar to Lyon in that regard: speaking of which...

Lyon 0-2 Roma
Aggregate: Roma 2-0 Lyon.
Totti was apparently the talisman per usual - scored the opener to put Lyon in a big hole, and then Mancini scored a crazy good goal where he went beyond Brasilian with the stepovers and then blasted home. 5 time going on 6 time French champs are out even though they had 56% of possession, outshot Roma 19-9 and apparently had the better of the play overall. They to will be massively disappointed to be knocked out of Europe allowinig all the naysayers to say "yeah, you are good, but the French league is rubbish so you aren't that good."

Chel$ea 2-1 Porto
Aggregate: Chel$ea 3-2 Porto.
The only score I came anywhere near predicting correctly (which is why I don't call the site footypundit.com) but no where near what myself nor anyone else expected. Porto went up 1-0 and it stayed that way until half. By some accounts Chel$ea were outplayed and were lucky to advance. Basically they won ugly, with thanks to the Porto goalkeeper for one of the biggest howlers of all time to gift Chel$ea the goal to make it 1-1, and then Michael Ballack actually did something other than be anonymous or disappointing and got the winner in the 79th minute.


DC Trojan said...

Holy crap, did you take the day off? Pages of write-up. Splendid.

I'm a little surprised to see Inter lose against Valencia, I watched the Inter - Livorno game and Inter absolutely tore up Livorno without PV or Cambiasso - the score flattered Livorno.

Kanu said...

No, but managed to carve out some time at long last. Trying to overcome The Man and his web filtering software, which now claims that I am accessing a restricted site - category: sex when I log on to the new blogger from the network at work.

Valencia's record at the Mestalla is pretty insane, especially in Europe - I don't have time right now to look it up but is it que ridiculo. It was always going to be hard for Inter without Adriano in addition to PV4 and Cambiasso.

Of course it would have been nice to be able to see it on Classic at 2, but they decided to show Chel$ea instead despite the fact the Chel$ea were on Setanta- jackasses.

I was more shocked that Lyon went out 0-2 to Roma, at home no less. Houllier is managing to get less than alot out of a talented team yet again.

DC Trojan said...

Re: filters, you can always set up email posting. Not elegant, but it works. Or try the performancing plug-in for Firefox...

In any case, who do these employers think they are, blocking access to blogs?

Kanu said...

They can't conquer me dude.

I just have to use RDP to remote into my laptop at the apartment - problem circumvented, just a little less responsive than the ol' T1 circuit at work.

Of course the biggest ball buster is having a job role now with lots of actual work, rather than working in an overstaffed help desk environment with 4 hours of downtime a day, like I had when I started this silly enterprise...

Aureliano said...

fight the power!

that mancini goal was sick. too fast to count, but there were enough stepovers in the move to make the '97 version of denilson proud.