Thursday, May 24, 2007

My two cents on the Champions League final

Or rather the Lucky League final, because the luckiest, not the best team won. No wonder Napoleon used to enquire whether his generals were lucky.

This seems harsh and bitter to you? Let's look at the facts. Milan's group consisted of Lille, Anderlecht and AEK Athens. Honestly, if Serie A sent last-placed Ascoli they would stand a chance of going through. Then in the knock-out stages the first opponent was by far with the least quality, Celtic who in European cups hasn't been able to draw, let alone win away from Parkhead in ages, yet managed to hang on to 0-0 at San Siro after 90 minutes only to fall after extra time. Next opponent were Bayern who did not even manage to qualify for the CL in the Bundesliga. Enough said. And then came Man United whose style of play suits Milan perfectly and against whom they played the only decent games in the whole season. Milan won this trophy without showing anything all season really.

The recipe for stopping Milan is quite easy: pack the midfield, cut up space there, prevent Kaka's runs and they are lost. And if you've got a couple of guys capable of raising the pace of the game every now and then, you've got it. This is what Rafa Benitez did last night and it worked well in the first half until the usual lucky deflected goal for Milan. The second came after Liverpool thrust everything up front and Kuyt's strike was to little too late.

All in all, a Champions League season to forget really.

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