Wednesday, February 20, 2008

AC Milan Beat Arsenal 0-0

Arsenal 0-0 AC Milan

That's quite a remarkable headline when you consider that:

1- AC Milan were outshot 17-8, out corner kicked 9-2, and outpossessed 57%-43%
2- Arsenal did not concede a road goal to Meelan
3- 0-0 means that Arsenal have a considerable advantage going to the San Siro in 2 weeks, as any scoring draw means that they will go through on the away goals rule {and hell, 0-0 gets them into extra time}, and if Arsenal can score a goal at the San Siro then Milan will have to score 2 to avoid elimination

Those three points above would make you think that Arsenal "won" this round 0-0. If you didn't watch the match that is.

Cesc and Rino enter The Matrix. "Whoa!"

Arsenal's youth, speed, and incessant work rate pressured Milan in the first half and never allowed them to get going, they were always under pressure, the kind they just do not see in Serie A. Arsenal particularly stifled Milan's extremely talented midfield and never gave them any space to do their thing or get into any sort of rhythm at all. Arsenal had the better of it even though no clear cut chances came of it. However, close to halftime, as you saw the Milan players really huffing and puffing and trying to catch their breath when the ball was out of play, you knew that the second half would be trouble for them.

And it was. Arsenal absolutely dominated the 2nd half, ran circles around Milan, and started creating great scoring chances one after the next after the next. It seemed only a matter of time, but Arsenal either had good shots right at the Milan reserve keeper {who looks exactly like George McFly} {also- Dida hurt his back while sitting on the bench last weekend- and had to be stretchered off from his own bench! How very Dida...} or they fell victim to the old Arsenal problem of trying to walk the ball into the net instead of shooting when a decent chance was available. To Milan's credit, they never panicked at the back when they were under siege, they were as cool, calm, and composed as you would expect them to be.

As the clock ticked down the fear became that AC Milan, after getting completely dominated for damn near the whole match, would sneak a crushing road goal from a set piece or a Kaka moment of brilliance- that would be sooooooo AC Milan. It didn't happen, and then Arsenal dominated the end of the game, only to see more shots right at McFly and then Adebayor to smash a header off the crossbar in the final minute of extra time.

How did this not go in? {nice grab Massimo Oddo}

Arsenal really would have deserved the goal that they so desperately seeked, such was their domination. They will have to settle with having the advantages described above going into the return leg in 2 weeks. A goal will would require conceding 2 to get knocked out, so hopefully they can score first. Of course, cagey old Meelan are the absolute masters of weathering storms and then beating opponents with a moment or two of brilliance, and taking their chances when they get them.

So AC Milan "won" 0-0 because they really should have been put to the sword tonight, but managed to survive and lived to fight another day: Tuesday March 4th to be exact.

Frustrated, nervous, and hopeful am I.

In other action:

Lyon 1-1 ManUtd
Manchester United got a late equalizer from Tevez in the 86th minute to get a draw in Lyon 1-1

Celtic 2-3 Barcelona
Barcelona came from behind twice to beat Celtic 3-2.

Fenerbache 3-2 Sevilla
Fenerbache got an 87th minute winner to beat Sevilla 3-2, but Sevilla's 2 road goals put them in a pretty good position: 1-0 or 2-1 at home and they are through.

Yesterday's results:

Liverpool 2-0 Inter Milan
I watched the first half on Slingbox and the 2nd half at the pub. Materrazzi was controversially sent off in the 30th minute after picking up his 2nd yellow card, each of which was fairly ticky tack and dubious and could have simply been given as free kicks. But sometimes you pay when you have the well earned reputation as one of the dirtiest players in world football, and here it came back to bite him in the ass. It almost seemed that the referee knew that he had fucked up, as he turned down at least 3 hand balls in the box by Inter- the first two were not intentional but PV4s, although not intentional either, was a move more likely to be witnessed on a volleyball court than a soccer field.

Even with a man advantage for 60 minutes Liverpool were pretty shit, squandering their chances, and it looked like Inter would escape with a 0-0 until Johnny from Kobra Kai Dojo Dirk Kuyt got a lucky goal off a wicked deflection that left Inter keeper Julio Cesar no chance. Stevie G made it 2-0 at the death with a great goal that might have taken a deflection as well. I still think Inter will beat their ass in the San Siro and at least get to extra time if not win. One thing is sure for Inter- they cannot concede unless they plan on scoring at least 4.

Roma 2-1 Real Madrid
With the crucial road goal, Madrid will still be favored in the eyes of many to get it done at home and go through.

Schalke 04 1-0 FC Porto

Olympiakos 0-0 Chel$ea
Can Olympiakos nick a goal at Stamford Bridge and make it interesting, forcing Chel$ea to score 2?

Return legs are in two weeks, Tuesday March 4 and Wednesday March 5 and should be a great 2 days of knockout round CL footy as the field is narrowed to 8.

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