The predictions came undone as Manchester United and Barcelona played out two uninspired legs with just one goal to show while Chelsea and Liverpool played out a 7 goal thriller over the two legs. So it would be Manchester United who will take on Chelsea in Moscow on May 21st.
Manchester United played a very drab affair at Nou Camp and Barcelona did not take advantage of this at home. And in the return leg at Old Trafford, Scholes, who was the star performer for the defensive United team at Nou Camp, scored the winner from a wonderful right foot volley. And then it was back to a well oiled defensive play for the rest of the 75 minutes. Messi was the only inspiration for the Spanish team but he could not get that all important goal for his team. Ronaldo as usual did not come good in the big match for his side. Barcelona did not look like a team that has dominated Spain and Europe lately. A big operation is needed for this side to prove serious contenders for La Liga next year.
Chelsea rode their luck against Arsenal in the quarterfinal, but it ran out against Chelsea as Chelsea got a lucky break at Anfield,courtesy Riise’s own goal. The return leg at Stamford Bridge was a thriller especially in the 30 minutes of extra time played out. Drogba came good against strong statements made before the match by Rafa Benitez on his diving skills. His power and precision was always trouble for the Liverpool back four, Skrtel who had to limp off coming off a strong tackle from Drogba. Essien’s goal was disallowed which meant that Rafa’s luck was back, but Ballack earned a penalty and Lampard converted a high tension penalty coming back from a very emotional weekend. Anelka came on and his speed and movement got Drogba his second goal of the match. Drogba yet again proved that he was the big match player that every manager dreams of. Babel came on for Torres(god knows why) but justified his presence by a late goal which made the last 3-4 minutes of the match to be more tense than necessary.
Chelsea seems to be the team which is peaking at the right time. Ferguson will have a lot to think about come the final at Moscow.