AC Milan 3 – 0 Manchester United

2 05 2007

Ok, so I was wrong. I completely underestimated AC Milan. But, in all fairness they had a pretty deceiving season. I feel that since they were penalized in Serie A, they barely focused on winning the title and concentrated their efforts on the Champions League and in doing so I assumed their team was not playing at the level they were capable of. They not only beat Man U, they beat them by 3 goals, and shut them out. Kaka is amazing. He brings alot of momentum to the pitch and pushes and pushes until he lands a strike. At times he almost looks clumsy on the field for some reason, but the ball always seems to fall at his feet and then in the back of the net.

Kaka

AC Milan’s first goal was scored in the 11th minute by their wonderboy Kaka.

United looked out of it from the kickoff and I began to fear for the worse when I saw that shot go in. Milan had been pushing hard very early and seemed to control most of the play. Even after AC drew first blood, Manchester didn’t seem to wake up with the fury that we are so used to seeing them do. They just seemed to play the ball up to Milan’s 18, there would be a scramble, the ball would pop out, and it would either get pushed all the way back to van der Sar or Milan would take it for a run usually finishing with a shot or a dangerously close encounter with the United defense who seemed to be having trouble keeping themselves upright with the pounding rain. That’s when Seedorf put in the second.

It’s not in the replay, but Vidic and Heinze were messing around in the back, which they shouldn’t have been doing, when Vidic slipped and the ball squirted out to Pirlo. After a chip into the box, Seedorf survived a tackle by Vidic and almost replicated Kaka’s strike. Vidic should not have played anyway. He was deemed fit but it was his first game back from breaking his collar bone. It was clear he could not keep up with Kaka as the Brazilian scorched him up and down the pitch for 90 minutes.

I thought Manchester might be able to recover with a point and possibly get lucky in overtime or even win a penalty shoot out, but their forwards just had not been given enough opportunities. When Rooney did find the ball at his feet he seemed to be swarmed by defenders and unable to even get a pass off to someone in shooting position. Cristiano Ronaldo also had a frustrating performance. Ronaldo found himself in front of goal a few times but had no luck in finding the net. Two of his attempts were stopped short by Milan defenders, making Dida’s job rather easy.

Gilardino was subbed in for Inzaghi and not shortly after he found himself on a break away against van der Sar.

So AC Milan will move on to Athens, and Manchester United will head home to jolly old England. Kind of upsetting in my opinion. I was pulling for Man U, especially since AC had been found guilty of fixing matches last season in Serie A but apparently Milan really were the better team.

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A Much Needed Update

1 05 2007

It’s been a while since I updated but I’ve been busy with school and some real life issues that maybe I’ll get into later. But tonight I’m going to talk about football, or what I used to refer to as ‘soccer’.

Last week Chelsea and Liverpool faced off in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final. As I predicted, Chelsea came out on top and only threw me into a deeper state of depression as Arsenal battled for an indifferent fourth place in the English Premiership and one of my most hated clubs soared to a surefire spot in the finals. Today, Liverpool crushed Jose Mourinho’s dreams and expectations as the Reds tied up the series at 1-1 and finished off Chelsea in penalty kicks, 4-1. Mourinho is still claiming Chelsea is the “better team”. Sadly, I have to agree with Jose but I find it amusing that Liverpool is on their way to Athens and Chelsea is headed back to the EPL to fall short of Manchester United if statistics prove to be true.

lpool

Speaking of Manchester United, they faced off with AC Milan in the opposite end of the Champions League semi-finals and came out on top 3-2 at Old Trafford. As an Inter Milan supporter, and somewhat of a Man U fan, it was my natural tendency to pray for AC’s downfall and even with Kaka’s stellar performance, they fell short. Rooney ended the match in the 89th minute with a precision strike to the bottom right corner, beating Dida.

Tomorrow, Manchester United head to San Siro in search of their place in Athens. I’m going to have to go with my gut on this one and give the win to Manchester once again. They have played amazing this season and their goal scoring is unmatched. They embarassed Roma in a 7-1 defeat which just demonstrated the superiority of English football in today’s game. I think Rooney and Ronaldo, with their newly founded appreciation for one another, will lead the way for their side once again and finish with enough grace to send them in Liverpool’s direction.

As for the outcome of that match, I’ll report on it when the time comes.

In other news, Arsenal hosted Fulham FC at Emirates Stadium this past Sunday and although coming out on top 3-1, just squeaked by in the final minutes. Julio Baptista led off the Gunners in the early minutes of the game with a nicely placed header from a nice chip from Emanuel Adebayor. Baptista had the chance to finish the game multiple times after his first goal, but failed miserably. Many speculate he will be gone over the summer and his performance on Sunday has basically solidified that, despite his early goal. Jen Lehmann made an absolutely amature mistake around the 76th minute by charging the 18 yard box to punch out a loose ball, only dropping it at the feet of a Fulham winger to lob a shot over his head and into the back of the net. When I saw that goal I honestly thought Fulham would score again and Arsenal would blow yet another win. But, Cesc Fabregas made a nice through ball to Adebayor and the Togo striker maneuvered around one defender and bent a shot into the lower right putting Arsenal ahead yet again. Ade’s winner was then followed by Gilberto’s penalty kick right before the end of regular time.

This Sunday, Arsenal meets Chelsea. This game is definitely critical for the Blues, because they are still in search of the EPL title and I’m sure they will come out hard after their unexpected loss to Liverpool. It would be nice to see Arsenal take this from Chelsea and bring a nice clean finish to this season that was fairly disastrous for the Gunners.