6 May 2009
CHELSEA 1 (Essien 9)
BARCELONA 1 (Iniesta 93)
After some patient approach play in and around the Barca penalty area Lampard smacked a cross against Toure and Essien, who was standing 10 yards from the edge of the D, ran forward to crack a left foot volley in off the underside of the crossbar. Alves was lucky not to concede a penalty when he blocked Malouda as he tried to cut into the box from the left. Abidal committed an equally dangerous foul, pulling Drogba's shirt as he ran into the box though Drogba went to ground after losing control of the ball.
Malouda won a ball Barca should have put out for a throw-in and dribbled past two defenders before playing in Anelka, he flicked a centre to Drogba who nonchalantly stepped away from Pique as the youngster went to ground with a desperate tackle but shot straight at Valdes who nonetheless made a fine save with his right foot. Chelsea had a third penalty appeal turned down. Drogba turned Toure as he challenged for a longball, Toure grabbed hold of his right arm and Drogba took him for a ride into the box only to be flattened by a clumsy tackle. Abidal was sent off for apparently fouling Anelka. He briefly had hold of Anelka's left arm but the Frenchman tripped over his own legs before going to ground. Chelsea had a FOURTH penalty appeal turned down for blatant handball by Pique, even Pique looked surprise when the fat Norwegian ref didn't blow his whistle, someone call Declan Hill. In injury time substitute Belletti should have played in Anelka after destroying Keita with a magnificent dummy onto a loose ball but selfishly took a (poor) shot at goal. Chelsea paid the price two minutes later when Barca scored with their own notable effort on goal. Alves hit a Hail Mary cross into the box and Terry's awful header was recycled by Eto'o who should have been punished for a dreadful first touch by Essien but the Bison sliced the ball straight to Messi when trying to clear, Messi drew in three players before centring for the unmarked Iniesta to slam a fantastic first time shot into the top right corner. There was still time for a FIFTH, albeit weak, penalty appeal for handball.
The Chelsea players exploded at Tom Henning Ovrebo at full time, with Drogba in particular vociferous in his protests and quite rightly too, they were screwed out of the final.
Match was tied 1-1 on aggregate, Barcelona win on away goals.
Attendance : 37,857
Red Card : Abidal 66 (Barcelona)
Assists : n/a, Messi
5 May 2009
ARSENAL 1 (Van Persie 76 Pen)
MANCHESTER UNITED 3 (Park 8, Ronaldo 11 fk, Ronaldo 61)
Arsenal tried to make an aggressive start but were stunned by two early goals. Anderson intercepted a header out of defence and played in Ronaldo who made a run between two centre backs and pulled back a centre which Gibbs should have cleared but he slipped and Ji-Sung Kuyt (TM Kenny WSD) recovered from losing his footing as Almunia chased him down to lift the ball into an empty net. Ronaldo eliminated Arsenal with an outrageous free kick struck from all of 40 yards way out wide left. His second goal was one of the great counter attacking goals of this or any season. Defending an Arsenal corner he started a counter attack deep in his own half with an outrageous back heel to Park when running horizontally across the pitch before spinning away downfield, Park spread the play out wide to Rooney on the left and within the blink of an eye Ronaldo arrived in the box to shoot first time over Almunia. Van Persie converted an irrelevant penalty awarded for a clumsy challenge by Fletcher, who was shown a straight red.
Manchester United win 4-1 on aggregate.
Attendance : 59,867
Red Card : Fletcher 75 (Manchester United)
Assists : Ronaldo, Ronaldo (won fk), Rooney, Van Persie (won pen)
29 April 2009
MANCHESTER UNITED 1 (O'Shea 17)
Almunia had a terrific game for Arsenal and is the main reason they're still in the tie. As early as the second minute he scrambled accross goal to produce a fantastic one handed save to claw away a Rooney header that was destined for the bottom corner, possibly the best save he's ever made. Tevez and Ronaldo combined to free O'Shea on the left, Tevez met the Irishman's centre with a powerful first time strike, forcing Alumina into a brilliant reaction save and he quickly got to his feet to deny Tevez on the follow-up. From the resulting corner Silvestre's lame attempt at a clearance turned into a perfect assist for O'Shea and this time Almunia couldn't get close. Ronaldo should have made more of a tremendous cross from the troll Tevez but headed straight at Almunia. Chances were at a premium in the second half though Ronaldo rattled the crossbar with a magnificent 30 yard drive. Bendtner may have done better but headed wide after VDS ran off his line and crashed into a host of bodies, injuring team-mate Ferdinand in the process. Let's hope he's out for the rest of the season.
Attendance : 74,733
Assist : n/a
28 April 2009
Drogba should have given Chelsea a half time lead but having forced Marquez into a mistake he smashed a low drive at Valdez however a heavy first touch allowed Barca's 'keeper to parry the ball at the second attempt. A similar change fell to Eto'o in the second half, he used his pace to blow through the Chelsea defence on the half way line, Alex tracked him back but the Cameroonian striker checked his run, sending the muscular defender crashing to the ground, but Cech produced a stunning save though had Eto'o squared the ball Henry was unmarked in front of a gaping goal. Puyol should have been shown a second yellow for a crude and deliberate foul on Malouda. Barca's substitutes wasted chances in injury time. Bojan, not exactly known for his prowess in the air, wasted a glorious Dani Alves cross by heading over and Cech made a brave save down at Hleb's feet at he bore in on goal.
Attendance : 95,000
Assists : n/a