Snore draw or interesting tactical battle?
The neutrals have no doubt. “Flop. Fear wins at the Nou Camp” was Gazzetta dello Sport’s view from Italy of the 0-0 draw between Barcelona and Manchester United in Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final first leg.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s early penalty soaring well wide of the goal summed up the whole night, with Barca pressing hard but failing to find that extra bit of inspiration to break the deadlock.
But can we expect anything more when the prize is so huge? Games in the previous two rounds such as Liverpool v Arsenal were surprisingly open given the importance of the Champions League these days.
Liverpool 3 AC Milan 3 in 2005 was a rare example of a great final. How may good World Cup finals have their been?
Players are only human and nerves at this stage are bound to play a part. That doesn’t mean games have to be dull for the purists. Liverpool 1 Chelsea 1 on Tuesday was not a classic but watching players stick to their positions and Rafa Benitez barking out tactical instructions still made it interesting.
Maybe the Italians, famous for their ultra conservative approach to soccer, are just bitter Serie A teams have performed so poorly in the Champions League this term.
Mark Meadows, Milan