Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Chelsea? No, It's Liverpool

Liverpool booked their ticket in this year's Champions League final after defeating Chelsea in the second leg semifinal yesterday. Daniel Agger scored from a freekick in the 22nd minute and brought Liverpool levelled on aggregate. The two teams then had to play the extra times which again ended level. So the match had to be decided by a penalty shootout. Pepe Reina emerged as the hero after saving to penalties from Arjen Robben and Geremi. Liverpool now have the chance to repeat their triumph two years ago, and the their opponent will be Milan or Manchester United. If Milan beat Manchester tonight, it will be the rematch of Champions League final of 2005 in Istanbul where Milan lost on penalties. As for Chelsea this would mean their dream of a Quadruple has gone astray. They are currently behind Manchester United by five points in the race of the premiership title.

The Match

Rafa Benitez fielded Javier Mascherano to partner Steven Gerrard in the middle. Jermaine Pennant started as right wing and Boudewijn Zenden on the left. The visiting team played Michael Essien as a central back alongside John Terry with the injury of Ricardo Carvalho while Khalid Boulahrouz was still unfit. John Obi Mikel and Salomon Kalou also got the chance to replace Michael Ballack and Andriy Shevchenko. The first shot on goal came from Steven Gerrard who shot from outside of the box which hit
sidenetting. Peter Crouch then failed to connect with a cross from Pennant. Beside those two events, there was nothing more.
On the 22nd minute Liverpool got a freekick after Gerrard was fouled by Mikel. The Chelsea defender was ready for a lob ball into the penalty box, instead Gerrard just launched a pass to Daniel Agger who was free just outside of the box. He then shot the ball pass Peter Cech. The Anfield supporters reacted crazily after the goal. The first real chance for Chelsea came on the 31st minute when Drogba was free from the offside trap only to find his shot was well stopped by Reina.
It was all Liverpool on the second half. On 55th minute, Peter Crouch leaped above the defender to head a cross from Pennant. But the header was saved by Cech using his leg. Three minutes later Liverpool was again on the attack. A cross from Riise was headed by Kuyt against the bar. Because the score was still level the match went to overtime. Kuyt scored a goal on the 100th minute mark, but had it ruled out for offside. He had another chance saved by Cech on 118th minute which conclude the match. In penalty shoot out, all of Liverpool's penalty taker scored while Robben and Geremi failed which made Liverpool through to the final in Athens.

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