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In our clip above, Cristiano Ronaldo says “football is like that sometimes” following his penalty miss in Manchester United’s 0-0 draw at Barcelona in Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final first leg.
Our vlogonthepitch duo, Owen Wyatt and Jon Bramley, wonder whether the Portuguese maestro was a bit too relaxed in taking the spotkick and a bit too relaxed about missing it. Will it turn out to be crucial in next week’s second leg?
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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.
Chelsea’s 1-1 Champions League draw at Liverpool on Tuesday was all about Avram Grant getting a reprieve from the hacks who only days earlier said his time under Roman Abramovich was almost up.
No question that Chelsea were poorer on the night. Liverpool should have had one or two more goals in reserve for the return leg at Stamford Bridge before John Arne Riise’s injury time own goal gave the Blues a huge boost. It also lifted the pressure from Grant for now, at least.
John Arne Riise’s astonishing own goal seems to have given Chelsea the edge in the first Champions League semi-final.
Liverpool’s Norwegian defender bent down to spectacularly head in deep into injury time and leave the scores at 1-1 ahead of the second leg at Stamford Bridge.
Has it reached the stage where a Champions League semi-final is not enough to safeguard a coach’s job?
Avram Grant, whose Chelsea side visit Liverpool in their first leg on Tuesday, is under pressure despite his team stil having an outside chance of the Premier League title.
Flying elbows, mass punch-ups, mouthy players, shirt-tuggers and divers will be the main focus for referees when Euro 2008 kicks off in June.
UEFA handed a six-point list of instructions on Thursday to the 12 referees officiating at the tournament in Switzerland and Austria.
It was with more than the usual haste that I strode off from the Nou Camp after Frank Rijkaard’s customary non-committal news conference on the eve of Barcelona’s Champions League match against Schalke on Tuesday. Liverpool against Arsenal was being shown on terrestrial TV here in Spain and it was one of those games that you didn’t want to miss.
So I settled down to my usual Reuters expenses supper of a bottle of beer and a Kit Kat from the hotel minibar and wasn’t disappointed. For sheer breathless excitement, intensity and entertainment the match couldn’t be beaten. The game had the Spanish commentators gasping with delight at the football being played by both sides, the commitment from the players and the non-stop support from the fans.
Liverpool’s rivalry with Arsenal now involves 202 matches dating back to 1893 and Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final will, for the neutral, forever rank among the greatest of them all.
Arsenal fans will never forget Michael Thomas’s last kick of the season goal at Anfield in 1989 which gave them, and not Liverpool, the title.
For once a tie between two English sides in Europe brought out the best of the Premier League. A breathless second leg at Anfield has already been hailed as a classic after Liverpool won through 5-3 on aggregate to set up yet another semi-final against Chelsea, which will doubtless be slightly less of a classic.
Still, let’s take a bit of time to let Tuesday’s match sink in. It will be remembered by Liverpool fans as another great European night at Anfield, while Arsenal supporters will see the tie as a whole as a tale of two penalties — one turned down in London and one given in Liverpool.
On Sunday night, after five years of calm, Barcelona fans finally exploded. The white handkerchiefs — a common way of showing frustration in Spain’s stadiums — were out, against the club president, the coach, the players … anybody involved in what seems set to be a second straight trophy-less year.
More precisely, Sunday’s exhibition was against the perceived apathy of millionaire players who appear to move ever more slowly, as if they weren’t in the match at all.