That is the stomach churning feeling that almost every supporter has at some point felt. The utter disbelief that, after enduring almost entire 90 minutes plus, the unthinkable happens and your team concedes. Its like being on the edge of nervous euphoria, only for one single moment of irreversible brilliance from the toe end of the opponent, to cruelly rob,what you thought was rightfully yours. A sickening joke, that no one around you expresses even the slightest hint of comic appreciation.
Emotionally, and probably because I am bit on the soft side, I am empathetic towards Chelsea. Michael Essien's goal alone, was enough to warrant a place in the final regardless of all the "should have been 4 penalties" claims. Its a bitter pill to swallow, and a pill that is unlikely to remedy the feelings of nausea. Being that close to booking your place in the final, and seeing your opponents registering only one shot on target is difficult to take. I would be devastated, inconsolable. But, that is where my empathy ends....
Thank you Andrés Iniesta.
I know, in theory, being English I should be supporting the English team over Barcelona. Had Porto/Arsenal done the honorable thing and knocked out Manchester United, I would have put my support behind Chelsea. Having a repeat of the all English final of last year was just one to many English, even for me. Also, the dramatic late away goal by Barcelona, still keeps my bold prediction that Barca will win the title in Rome alive. I know its far from going out on a limb, given that Barcelona are the bookies favourites, but my predictions have a tendency to go shy when the time of reckoning is here. In fact, if you want any betting tips from me, bet the exact opposite of what I say -apart from just now.
I suppose the good news for Chelsea, or at least for Guus Hiddink, is that he can now resume his post with Russia, hassle free! There is still the possibility of silverware for Hiddink with the FA cup, but I think had he gone on to win the Champions League, ignoring the cries for a permanent contract from the Chelsea faithful, would have been to strong to turn down. Unfortunately for Chelsea, preventing Hiddink from keeping his word and departing for Moscow will now become even more difficult, despite having the Russian Billionaire whispering in his ear. I hope, for Chelsea sake, that a deal can be struck that will fit both Hiddink's Russian and Chelsea agendas.
For the Champions League final in Rome, my prediction of Barcelona being European Champions is still on course. I think they will improve vastly in comparison to the Chelsea game, and will have enough in them to prevent Manchester United from back to back European Cup victories. Although, having said that, given that I want Barcelona to win, maybe I should be putting all my support behind Manchester United. Nah, no chance.
I think Manchester United will fancy themselves, as their confidence must have returned to the sky high limits it once was, prior to the Liverpool defeat. However, I think the win against Arsenal was flattering, even fortuitous. Arsenal started that game the better team, but the unfortunate slip -not mistake, by young Kieran Gibbs was a sucker punch. Equally, the ridiculous long range freekick from humble Ronaldo, should have been saved by Almunia. Don't get me wrong the freekick was unbelievable, but someone with Almunia's experience should have done better. If the first goal was a sucker punch the second was the knockout. There was no way back for Arsenal.
For Manchester United, and with most Champions, you need a bit of luck on your side and they will need a bit more of that good fortune in the final, if they are to rob me of a rare correct prediction.
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