Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Pepe Reina: Free Drinks For Life

Liverpool did it. Hallelujah, thanks, and praise from this Chel$ea hater.

The 'Pool are simply not to be fucked with in Cup competitions

Liverpool 1-0 Chel$ea, 1-1 on aggregate, Liverpool win 4-1 on penalties.

The Cup Kings did it again, and saved me from the 2 most hideous scenarios described below. Most importantly, Chel$ea are out. Even better, they went out in the most gut wrenching, kick-in-the-nuts fashion there is, by losing a penalty shootout. Added bonus is that no matter what happens tomorrow I will actually have a rooting interest in the CL final, which is always nice.

As poorly as Liverpool played in the first leg, they were clearly the better side tonight. The goal came early and was well taken by Agger, who made amends for being totally abused by Drogba in Chel$ea's goal last week. The rest of the match was knife-edge dramatic even though it wasn't the most beautiful footy to watch- but then again, these two teams don't ever play beautiful stuff when facing each other. I know Chel$ea had some people out with injuries, but still they have the deepest squad in world football, so it makes me laugh to see a team that cost half a billion US dollars to assemble being reduced to hoofing hopeful Route 1 longballs up to Drogba and hoping for the best. Shit I think I would rather watch an Arsenal training session than a Chel$ea match sometimes.

The Pool hit the post in the 2nd half, and both teams created a few good chances but Liverpool always looked more likely to score than Chel$ea. I thought Rafa Benitez fucked up when he brought on Alonso in the 78th and moved Stevie G out to the right after finally allowing Gerrard to play in the middle and having them play so well for 78 minutes, but in the end Rafa got away with it. In the first extra time Liverpool scored, with Kuyt putting in a rebound off a long shot. However, he was ruled offsides and the replay showed that if he was offsides he couldn't have been offsides by any less than he was. So the goal came off the board, 30 minutes of extra time finished scoreless, and on to the lottery of the shootout we went.

One of the funniest images you will ever see in a penalty shootout was Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez sitting cross-legged out on the field during the shootout. He looked like a 1st grader during story time; it was absurd, cool, and funny all at the same time. Liverpool made their first 3 and Reina saved from Robben and Geremi, putting Dirk Kuyt on center stage- if he nets Liverpool's 4th kick then it's over. I have always said that dude looks exactly like Johnny from Cobra Kai dojo in The Karate Kid and invoke the "get him a bodybag, Johnny!" line from said film when he is trying to finish off young Ralph Macchio whenever I see him closeup. As the TVs focused on him standing and waiting for the referee's whistle, I chuckled that this was the ultimate "get him a body bag, Johnny!... Finish Him!... No Mercy!" moment of his career. And finish them he did.

"Get him a body bag, Johnny Dirk!"

Pepe Reina is the hero for saving 2 of the 3 penalties he faced, and he will never buy another drink on Merseyside again as long as he shall live. Reminded me of 1 year ago when Mats was the instant legend hero after saving a last minute penalty from Villarreal's Riquelme which put Arsenal into the Champions League Final.

So Liverpool are "Chickenman" by The Indigo Girls: "On the road to Athens...", although they will be going to Athens Greece rather than Athens, GA. After knocking out what are considered the 2 best teams in Europe already in Barcelona and Chel$ea, they have to fancy their chances in the final no matter who they face.

This is the 2nd time in 3 years that Liverpool have knocked Chel$ea out in the Champions League semifinals and prevented them from reaching their first ever CL final. Damn schadenfreude feels good.


DC Trojan said...

Did you see that while Pepe Reina was undertaking goalkeeping heroics, some Scouser nicked his Porsche Cayenne and Bang and Olufsen stereo? You can't make this stuff up, you know.

Kanu said...

I did see that, thanks to a great post about it by some bloke over on DCTrojan.

Outstanding stuff.

As long as Liverpool keep stealing Champions League Final places away from Chel$ea then I must say I don't mind tooooooooo much :)

beast in 'bama said...

I DVR'd the match on ESPN2, watched all 90 minutes, then the first 25 minutes of extra time, THEN...

NOTHING!! The allotted time ran out and I couldn't watch the last five minutes! I didn't even know about the penalty kicks (but you KNEW there were going to be penalty kicks).

I had avoided this blog all afternoon and didn't visit any CL-related websites all afternoon because I knew I had it recorded at home. I almost broke my neck going downstairs to my computer just to find out who won. At least I wasn't disappointed:)

I couldn't believe Mourinho didn't substitute earlier. I agree with your analysis of the match - don't know why Rafa took Penant out.

I'm using the DVR again today, so I'd better get out of here now. I don't care who wins - I just hope it's as good as last week's game.

Kanu said...


make sure to program the ol' DVR to cover you today- methinks we may see extra time/pks again...