First All-England Champions League Final

Friday, 2 May, 2008

Manchester United and Chelsea advanced from their respective semifinals to set up the very first all-England final in Moscow. Manchester United defeated Barcelona 1-nil on aggregate, and Chelsea defeated Liverpool 4-3 on aggregate. One team was clearly better, but both teams have an equal chance of winning.

Manchester United were the best team in either of the semifinals. They shut down some of the best players, including Lionel Messi, Deco, Thierry Henry, and Xavi. Their defense was outstanding, even without Nemanja Vidic, one of their top defenders. Also, United have not had team captain Gary Neville for many of their recent games in any kind of competition. Patrice Evra has been the best of them all, while Wes Brown, Rio Ferdinand and the rest have done very well to give Vidic and Neville plenty of time to get back in the lineup. There are only two games left in the Premier League season, and the Champions League final later this month left on the schedule. Neville should be back for the final at least. Paul Scholes, my favorite United player, made the difference with the only goal of their semifinal with Barca. If you missed it, that’s a shame. It was a real cracker!

Chelsea have finally made it to a final in this competition. They had a pretty good performance against Liverpool, and managed to make it through. The Liverpool matchup brought exciting drama we don’t usually see from these two sides. Both sides had several great chances for even more goals to be scored. Frank Lampard’s penalty, and the second extra-time goal were crucial, since they won the semifinal by one goal. Liverpool made a good comeback to get a goal of their own in extra time to make Chelsea sweat it out and not relax. Chelsea, for the most part, played good defense. They do have to step it up to beat United in Moscow.

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