Saturday, November 06, 2004

The Many Faces Of Footballl

Enjoyable day, Wednesday(IST), especially in the Champions League.

Started of with an okey-dokey match between Chelsea and CSKA Moscow (Chelsea playing away), which Chelsea won. Not one of the best games. Nonetheless the match did show that Chelsea is getting better by the day. Now that their star-studded side of last year has been whittled down they are forming themselves into a formidable team. Now that they are level with Arsenal in the Premiership I think their future is going to be even better. The main reason for this optimism is their defence. They have only allowed one goal in their Premiership campaign. That, my friends, is phenomenal.

Getting back to the Champions League, the second match I watched was the one between Arsenal and Panathinaikos. A letdown for Arsenal fans whichever way you look at it. The fact that the match was a draw (1-1) might look all right in the record books but the fact is that the gunners were found lacking ammunition inside their own fort. I was never an all-out fan of Arsenal (last year I was swaying between ManU and Chelsea, this year I am squarely behind Chelsea, and I am backing an underdog, Real Madrid:D)

Nonetheless I do think they have great players and are normally good value for money. I mean with Henry and Pires attacking and competent feeders of the ball like Reyes and Viera available they play the best open football west of the Channel. However their loss at Old Trafford seems to have broken their spirit. Both the games after that loss has been lacklustre and the truth is that have just about managed to scrape through both. Feels like they are sulking and it is getting just a wee bit too childish. Hey ManU are not the best and if you let them get under your skin it speaks a lot about you too!!! More about this rant in another article another time.

The last match I saw was the best - AC Milan v/s Barcelona. The game was played in Barcelona and the hosts were the winners, the score line being 2-1. The score line does not tell the whole story. This was a fantabulous game. It was to be expected when the best of Serie A was facing the best of the Spanish Liga. The game was so beautiful that even if the score line was to be 1-1 we could still say that football was the winner.

The first goal went AC Milan's way when Shevchenko(as usual) put one in 17 minutes into the game. It was a beautiful long ball from Pirlo that made this possible. It seemed to be going all Milan's way when suddenly the tide turned. It started with Barca keeping much of the possession. Then around the 35th minute Cafu got hurt on his jaw and was momentarily outside the field to have a lookup by the medicos. Play was still on and in this crucial time when they were one man less Barca came up with a beautiful play which resulted in a through ball to Eto’o who did not make a mistake. The Score 1-1.

The score remained the same more the most part of the game. However the game was riveting with both teams playing beautiful football. For Barca it was a must win situation and it showed with them keeping possession for the most part. Then came the magic moment. Just when everyone had resigned themselves to a draw Ronaldinho takes a pass from Eto'o feints to the right, cuts the ball at speed to the left. In the next moment he moves from a packed field at the centre of the field just outside the penalty box to the left wing which was completely empty, picks the ball up again and shoots it to the back of the net. All within a matter of seconds in the 88th minute.
Sheer Magic!

No time for Milan to make a comeback and a beautiful game ends. After watching the ManU- Arsenal fixture last week I needed a game like this to make me believe in the beauty of football again. Thank you AC Milan and Barca. And THANK YOU Ronaldinho.