Thursday, May 24, 2012

Congratulations CHELSEA FC!!

CL Winners
It was really an exhilarating game in the wee hours of Sunday morning. It’s not everyday that we got to watch the UEFA Champion’s League Finals especially the earlier matches are usually played at 3-4am. This time around, the final was played on a Sunday (Malaysian time). I tried to sleep in early for the match which started 2:45am but I guess the warm and humid nights currently enveloping this part of the world got the better of me. I only managed to sleep in after 12:00am when I went to bed at 10pm. I guess I only slept less than 3 hours before the match started.
For someone who does not follow Bundesliga, I must say that I’m not familiar with Bayern Munich’s line-up except for Frank Ribery, Arjen Robben, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Manuel Nueur. I am clueless on the rest of its players. Chelsea though has been a nemesis for years of my favourite English Football team, Manchester United. After Roman Abramovich bought over this London football club, he has spent millions of his Russian oil money in building this blue team into a colossal football giant in England. The sudden new found wealth for the club has brought in many famous footballers including Michael Ballack, Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres to name a few. The club is also not shy of its local talents including current team captain John Terry, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole.
Back to the Finals between Bayern Munich vs Chelsea. The match was played in the Allianz Arena, which is the home ground for Bayern Munich. Since it’s the homeground for Bayern Munich, you can expect a sellout crowd from its loyal supporters. The Blues’ supporters are easily outnumbered. Bayern started the match with non-stop attack on Chelsea but out of bad luck or what, it didn’t manage to beat Chelsea’s goalkeeper – Petr Cech. Even after the half time, Bayern continued with the same strategy where both its wingers, Frank Ribery & Arjen Robben continued their trickery assault on Chelsea to no avail. Determination finally paid off for Bayern Munich around 80 minutes where its striker, Thomas Muller, finally struck the goal that led to wild celebration for Bayern’s supporters. All looked loom and gloom for Chelsea. However, a brilliant header from Chelsea’s 34 years old striker, Didier Drogba, changed the mood of the stadium around 5 minutes later.
When Drogba was first introduced to English Premier League, I dislike him for his “fox in the box” attitude – easily falls down with the slightest touch by players of smaller frame than him. However, over the years, his prowness in front of goal, won me over. Furthermore, he’s a player with big heart in his charity contributions back in Ivory Coast. He even exchanged vow with his wife again when he became a wealthier footballer. At the time when he first married his wife, Didier was a lesser know footballer and they only have a simple wedding. To make up for the time his wife stood by him, Didier organised another wedding 2-3 years back, attended by many of his professional footballers from Chelsea as well as from Ivory Coast.
Back to the match. Drogba’s magnificent header sent the match to extra time of 30 minutes. But before that, Drogba became the villaint of the match by conceding a penalty for Chelsea. However, Arjen Robben failed to score on the spot with Petr Cech guessing the right way for the penalty. In the end, a penalty shootout ensued after both parties failed to score in the extra time. Tense moment at both ends.
Bayern started the penalty kick out and scored the first 2 goals. The highlight of the penalty shootout was when Bayern’s goalkeeper, Manuel Nueur, took the third penalty kick and scored. When Bastian Schweinsteiger failed to score the fifth penalty and Drogba scored from his spotkick, Bayern Munich’s faith was sealed. Chelsea won the European Champion’s League 2011-2012!!! 
Bastian Schweinsteiger and Arjen Robben were both crestfallen as they took it onto themselves as the orchestra for falling to win the match. For me, the highest credit should belong to Roberto Di Matteo for bringing back belief into Chelsea players. Under Roman Abramovich reign of Chelsea for 8 years, at least 5 reputable football managers have seen the exit door after failing to secure the Champion’s League trophy for the Russian oligarch. Names that I can recall are Andre Villa Boas, Luis Filipe Scolari, Jose Morinho, Guus Hiddink, Carlo Ancelotti. After AVB’s sacking in March (I think), Roberto was given the task as acting manager to revive the team spirit and salvage the remaining of the season but what a great job Roberto has done! He has brought the ultimate European glory that Roman craved so much to Stamford Bridge. After winning the Champion’s League, many have voiced their support and backing for Roberto to be installed as the manager for Chelsea FC. He has certainly turned around the team from lacking self belief to a deserving champion. I am also backing Roberto to be appointed as the manager.
 Champions League

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