Looking back at the historic moment: MU reached the top of the Champions League after a series of breathtaking ‘gunfights’

Two goals and good opportunities were divided equally between MU and Chelsea in the battle for the top of Europe last night. But, as usual, a bit of luck still belonged to the “Red Devils”, helping them win the C1/Champions League for the third time, with a 6-5 victory after a tense penalty series.

On September 23, 2007, Chelsea came as a guest of MU in round 7 of the English Premier League. It was rainy and windy at Old Trafford that day. The London giants had to leave empty-handed with a humiliating 0-2 defeat. It was Avram Grant’s first match as head coach of Chelsea, replacing Jose Mourinho. After the final whistle that day, in the afternoon rain, the Israeli military leader could not hide the sadness in the corners of his eyes, looking absent-mindedly into an unknown, distant place.

Yesterday, May 21, 2008, Chelsea met MU again, in the Champions League final. Unlike the time mentioned above, this was Avram Grant’s last match in charge of the 2007-2008 season and the battle did not take place at Old Trafford, but more than 2,000 km away, at Luzhniki Stadium (Moscow, Russia). But, yesterday it rained again, when the two teams entered the first extra period (after a 1-1 draw in the two main periods). And sadness, once again, welled up in Avram Grant’s eyes.

His Chelsea failed after the penalty shootout. So Avram Grant could not become the first Israeli to win the Champions League. The dream of European hegemony was once again shattered before the Chelsea people’s eyes, even though they had climbed to the threshold of glory. They also could not break the curse that has lasted for the past 10 years in the Champions League – where teams that first appeared in the final all lost. And, Roman Abramovich once again embraced his hatred, like when he witnessed Terry and Anelka miss penalties, with the team he had invested in since 2003.

Many Chelsea people cried. The clearest look was John Terry’s tears of regret, he was the one who missed the golden opportunity of “The Blues” when he missed the decisive fifth penalty shootout. But, more than anything, we must mention the tears of pain and regret of Frank Lampard, Michael Ballack or any other Chelsea person, although the bitter tears sometimes do not flow out but flow back inside. “The Blues” lost but did not give up.

They had a great match, worthy of pride and praise. Even if they couldn’t create a good position like MU in the first half, even if they let Ronaldo score to open the scoring, Avram Grant’s team at least still maintained their original cold playing style. Then Lampard, in a rare opportunity, found a goal to level the score at 1-1. Then they suddenly played better and better for most of the remaining time, including two extra periods. And if the vertical post or crossbar are not on MU’s side, Drogba and then Lampard can completely bring victory to the blue shirt army.

MU deservedly won the throne, ending a successful season with a Champions League and Premier League double.

In football, when one person is at the bottom of pain, it also means the other person is at the peak of happiness. Many MU people also cried. That was Ronaldo, sobbing face down on the rain-soaked Luzhniki grass, because his failed 11-meter kick still couldn’t stop MU from being crowned. It’s Van der Saar, Alex Ferguson or any other MU person. But of course, those were tears of joy, tears of irrepressible happiness and pride.

It’s easy to understand. This Champions League championship means too much to the “Red Devils”. It came to them right on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Munich disaster (a plane explosion that killed 23 people, including 8 MU stars), coming at the exact time that 40 years ago a generation of “Red Devils” Other talented people also reached the top of Europe. But, better than its predecessors, modern-day MU is crowned as undefeated. In the outer circle, playing 12 matches, they won 9 and drew only three times, even though their opponents were sometimes big European giants like Lyon, Roma or Barca.

For Ryan Giggs personally, how can he not be happy when this is the match in which he set a record of 759 appearances for MU. For Paul Scholes, isn’t it happy that after 9 years of waiting (from the day he sat out the comeback win against Bayern), he was able to play in the final of the most prestigious club tournament in the world. And Cristiano Ronaldo too, this championship will be a golden guarantee for him in the race for noble individual titles. And, it would be remiss not to mention Alex Ferguson. With yesterday’s top title, he became the 16th coach to win the European Championship more than once, and is also the second oldest coach to be crowned at this tournament, after Raymond Goethals (helping Marseille win the championship in 1993). when he lived past the age of 71).

Coming to the main developments of the match, the play was not too negative, but the explosion from MU or the expected mutation from Chelsea did not happen in the early part of the match, even though they all launched their numbers from the beginning. First class strategy post. The significant point that both sides demonstrated was that their attack methods were quite similar, highlighting the meaning of yesterday’s “all-English final”. It is a traditional specialty of the land of fog. With the appearance of Malouda on the left and Joe Cole on the right, Chelsea put the MU defense on the defensive a few times.

However, thanks to the mobility and creativity – especially from Ronaldo on the left flank and Hargreaves on the other – the “Red Devils” gradually took the initiative in the attacks. MU’s possession of the ball at the beginning of the match sometimes reached over 60%, and once Alex Ferguson’s team created their original dominant attack position, they of course became extremely dangerous. And in just a fraction of a second like that, in the 26th minute, the score opened for the better team.

From the combination with Scholes on the left wing, Wes Brown skillfully pulled the ball inside and then launched a dangerous pass for Ronaldo to jump high and head in a quite comfortable position – benefiting from the poor marking of the defense. blue shirt, the most to blame is Michael Essien (playing Chelsea’s right-back position in this match and has the task of “catching” Ronaldo). In helplessness, goalkeeper Petr Cech could only stand and watch the ball fly into the net. This is Ronaldo’s 42nd goal for MU this season, but only the first goal he scored against Chelsea in 12 confrontations with their rival in the blue shirt.

Last night was the third time Champions Leageu witnessed two teams from the same country compete in the final. But this is the best match, compared to Real -Valencia (in 2000); and AC Milan – Juve (2003).

The opening goal of the “Top Scorer” of the Premier League season 2007-2008 seemed to light up the fire for the final match. Chelsea conceded a goal but did not lose spirit, it even unintentionally pushed them to push higher. In the 33rd minute, Lampard turned his wing over for Drogba to head the ball back. Ballack couldn’t finish, but the German captain’s clever pressure caused Rio Ferdinand to fumble and almost head into the net, if Van der Saar hadn’t been able to save the day. Immediately afterwards, MU responded with an extremely fast ball from Rooney. If Tevez’s flying header or immediately after that, Carrick’s “shooting” were not blocked by Petr Cech, the score might have been different for MU.

In the 43rd minute, Rooney stepped up the ball again quickly to respond to another Chelsea attack. From the England striker’s feet, the ball passed through Carvalho’s shield and then found Tevez who was running inside. The Argentinian striker’s crouched shot was about half a step short of hitting Petr Cech’s net.

When the first half was entering the official final seconds, when MU – with such a dominant position – seemed to be able to temporarily leave the field with a score of 1-0, something unexpected happened. Having the ball from a bad clearance by a red shirt player, Chelsea quickly counterattacked. Michael Essien finished with a bit of effort from far away, but accidentally hit Nemanja Vidic with the ball, causing Van der Saar to lose momentum as he crossed out. Lampard suddenly rushed in and skillfully finished the shot past the Dutch goalkeeper’s reach, equalizing the score 1-1 for Chelsea.

And like the time he scored in the 3-2 win over Liverpool in the semi-finals, Lampard raised his hands in the air to celebrate the goal. He wanted to give that gift to his late mother, who passed away from pneumonia a few weeks ago. In practical terms, that gift was also shared with his teammates, helping them play with more poise, grace and fire for much of the second half. The pinnacle of the superior position that Chelsea had was Drogba’s shot from outside the penalty area in the 78th minute. The ball passed through all barriers of the red shirt defense and the reach of goalkeeper Van der Saar but hit the post. must be thrown out.

Meanwhile, MU appeared to be at a standstill, to the point where they sometimes had to use tricks to restrain Chelsea’s growing strength, as shown by Tevez’s secret fouls on Makelele or the situation where Evra hit his elbow. point in Joe Cole’s face. The same situation continued into both extra periods. The sudden rain at this time cannot help MU “smooth” their gameplay, and at the same time it does not make Chelsea less hot. In the 4th minute, “The Blues” even almost had a second goal after Lampard’s skillful turn and finish in the penalty area. If there was no crossbar, MU’s net would have been thrown up because Van der Saar in this phase was completely unable to control the situation.

It wasn’t until the 11th minute of extra time that the red team had their first significant goal. From Evra’s brilliant breakthrough, the opportunity found Giggs. Chelsea’s goal was empty at that time, because Petr Cech had not yet regained composure after rushing out to block Evra’s move. The veteran midfielder’s shot on MU’s side, however, did not get past Terry’s head in time to retreat to the “protector”. That was also the last delicious ball of last night’s match.

In the second extra time, the most significant situation was the direct red card for Drogba. During the argument, the Chelsea striker showed a lack of restraint and lightly slapped Vidic in the face. In the stands, owner Abramovich angrily slammed his hand on the table, but even that could not help him vent all his sadness when he saw the home team “weighing” on the 11 meter mark.

If John Terry successfully made the 11-meter kick, things would be completely different for Chelsea.

In the first two penalty shootouts, Tevez and Carrick (of the “Red Devils”), and Ballack and Belletti (of the “Blues”) were all successful. In the third set of shots, Ronaldo could not beat Petr Cech, while Lampard completed the task. The opportunity thus belongs to Chelsea. The bravery of a powerful tycoon was not enough to help Abramovich suppress his nervousness. He lowered his head, half not daring to witness Hargreaves take the fourth set of shots, half wanting to pray for something. But the miracle did not come. The MU midfielder did it successfully.

In the decisive fifth shoot, Nani defeated Petr Cech. But if Terry succeeds, Chelsea will still automatically win the championship (because Ashley Cole also completed the task before). However, the disastrous rain made the field slippery and the blue-shirted captain slipped in the last step before kicking, sending the ball out even though Van der Saar had thrown it in the wrong direction, signaling the sadness that was about to come to the Chelsea people. .

Anderson and Giggs then took turns succeeding for MU, while on the blue shirt team, only Kalou could do the same. The remaining Chelsea player – Anelka – could not win against Van der Saar. And the pain from deep suddenly welled up in people’s tears


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