An European night to remember for the millions of Manchester United fans around the world as they beat Chelsea in an evenly contested final of the Champions League in Moscow. It had all the drama and thrills of a epic final which lived upto its reputation. There were tragic memories, bruised noses, red card to Drogba, Sudden death, Penalty miss by Ronaldo, a foot slip by Terry on a crucial penalty, all happening at around 1 AM local time on a rainy nite in Moscow. It was a fitting fnale, watched by record viewers around the world and a great climax played by probably two of the strongest teams in Europe.
Ferguson chose to go ahead with a 4-4-2 formation which meant that he was not sitting back and was all set to attack with Tevez and Rooney upfront. It was a good 25 minutes for Man Utd as they hardpressed and eventually got a goal, a brillaint header from Ronaldo. Essien was playing out of position at right back and was no match for the skills of Ronaldo. There was a double save from the brillaint Cech in between all this as Chelsea slowly came back into the game. But Ronaldo’s defensive vulnerability meant Essien got forward, blasted a shot which deflected off Vidic and Rio to fall nicely to Lampard, who did not have much trouble slotting it home. 1-1 at the end of first half. This was definetely what the neutral fans had wished for, an exciting match and not a cagey affair.
Second half saw attacking football from both teams as Chelsea seemed to be on the rise with both Drogba and Lampard hitting the post. Ryan Giggs made his record breaking appearance for Man Utd and almost scored the winner if not for a superb interception from John Terry. Drogba had a poor match by his standard and was sent off towards the end of the extra time for slapping Vidic, who did a very commendable job controlling the Ivorian. It was a stupid thing to slap a player which these days is a straight red card. His long walk back seemed like a certain exit from Chelsea and probably we have seen the last of him in a Chelsea jersey.
If we thought Penalty shootout was boring, you should watch this again. What an incident filled shootout. Drogba’s exit meant a certain penalty taker missing out. So it was all going ok until Ronaldo came to take it. I am sure a lot of us felt that, this was not going to be as simple for him as it normally is. He stuttered and hit a poor shit which Cech had no issue in saving. So in the end it was left for John Terry to score and take Chelsea to their first Champions League triumph. But it was not there in the plan. Rain had made the pitch quite slippery and Terry slipped on his landing foot and the penalty was wide off target. So it was again back to square one. With Anelka’s shot being saved by Van Der Saar, the team in red, completed their double for the season.
In the end it was a bit of luck that ran with Manchester United as I thought the teams were very evenly matched come the penalties. So Ferguson gets his hand on a second Champions League triumph and will look to build from here for an assault both at domestic front as well as Europe. It was sad to see players like Terry, Cech, Lampard and Ballack at the losing side after playing better football than Manchester United in Europe towards the end. But glory to Manchester United was written on the stars last night and it was a wonderful final for the neutral fan.