15 May 2002
ZIDANE AND CASILLAS ENSURE CENTENARY ENDS IN STYLE
LEVERKUSEN 1-2 REAL MADRID
The opening goal was probably the worst goal you're ever likely to see in a major final. Bobby Carlos launched a throw in towards Raul, Raul ran past Lucio as if he wasn't there and hit a weak shot towards goal however Butt was hopelessly out of position and the ball rolled into the net. Lucio made up for his earlier mistake with the equaliser, heading Schneider's free kick past Cesar, who flapped horribly the cross. Another chance for Leverkusen followed more poor set-piece defending. Real sprung forward as Lucio chipped a first time ball into the box, Bobby Carlos did his infamous overhead kick clearance ala Denmark 1998 and predictably kicked fresh air allowing Bradaric a one on one with Cesar but he hesitated and Cesar cleared. Ballack horribly miss-cued from close range followed great work by Neuville and the impressive Basturk. Real were stroking passes around the left hand side of the pitch then Bobby Carlos played a one two with Solari and lobbed the ball high into the box and Zidane, who lost Ramelow for the first time in the match, sent a left foot volley screaming into the net. Fabulous goal.
Cesar fell awkwardly when coming out for a cross and was replaced by Casillas 67 minutes into the match. Berbatov blew a great chance from Neuville's cross, way over from close range. Butt made an excellent stop from Solari and Basturk cleared before Raul got a chance on the rebound. In the second minute of injury time Butt came up for a free kick and headed into the ground and over the bar. Neuville volleyed over as the Real defence cracked under pressure. Casillas made a fantastic save at his near post from Basturk's vicious drive. From the resulting corner he came to his team's rescue again with a brilliant slide tackle clearance from Berbatov and from the subsequent corner he made another match winning save to once again deny the hapless Berbatov. Deep into the 7th minute of injury time the ref, Urs Meier, blew for full time.
Ramelow joins the World Class list. I hope Placenta plays for Argentina in the World Cup because he's useless. Leverkusen's attack is desperately poor. Berbatov and Bradaric are second division players. Figo was absolutely dire. Even Overmars have been more effective in recent months and I can't think a bigger insult. Makelele must be a closet Serie A fan because only Italians understand the art of tactical fouling as well as he does. He should have had four yellow cards. Casillas was awesome, just awesome. Definitely the man of the match. The rest of the Real team didn't played particularly well. Zidane and Raul had their moments, a rarity for both players in major finals, for around 20 minutes in the first half. Leverkusen tried to be too intricate in and around the penalty area when they should have bombarded Real's box with crosses.
It was a good, competitive final but I can't help but feel Real had an incredibly easy ride to the final.
Assists : Roberto Carlos (x2), Schneider