Thursday, April 28, 2005

Champions League 04-05: semifinals 1st leg

In the semi-final between AC Milan and PSV Eindhoven, Mr. Schevchenko proved why he is the best striker in the world. His speed totally overwhelmed an otherwise stable PSV defence for the first goal. For the second goal, AC Milan showed its strong attacking credentials, when substitute Jon Dahl Tomasson made a second goal, making sure AC Milan is on their way to Istambul. It was all a pity for PSV, who had played an excellent match, and certainly did not deserve to go down like this. If they are to have any chance at all when playing in Eindhoven, they will have to be more dangerous in attack.
Liverpool got a good result from Stamford Bridge, with a goalless draw. Liverpool were motivated and showed great discipline, while Chelsea was a bit disappointing. While Liverpool will have a crowd hungry for titles supporting them, Chelsea is full of confidence, and the match will without doubt be far more exciting than the one last night.

When are the next matches?
- May 3rd, 20:45: Liverpool-Chelsea
- May 4th, 20.45: PSV Eindhoven-AC Milan

Thursday, April 21, 2005

The most annoying fans

Last night, after a long day at work, went directly to Champs, my sports bar in Accra, to watch the match between Arsenal and Chelsea. And somehow boring match, from which much more was expected, ended 0-0, and not really much to tell about it.

Many Ghanaians love either team. Last week, during Chelsea-Bayern Munich, had to listen to an obnoxious man in a Chelsea shirt during the whole match. Last night, here was there again. Now just as an Arsenal fan. And just as annoying. At least there were other annoying Chelsea fans to level him off. Talking about sell-outs...

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


Last week, on the evening these two great teams were playing in the Champions League quarterfinals, I was invited for a reception at the Royal Danish Embassy in Ghana, to meet the visiting Danish Mister of Development. What should I choose? To mingle among my countrymen whom I can talk work with? Or after a long day of work, go to Champs Sports Bar (Accra) and watch these great teams?
I went to watch the game.
The match wasn't great. Liverpool did what they had to do, and did it well. The Juventus attack was a disappointment in the face of Mr. Benitez' disciplined side. Liverpool deserves to be in the semifinal, but will almost certainly have their hands full against Chelsea.
And just an anecdote from the game:
Americans are not known for being great "soccer" fanatics, in spite of the growth of the sport in the United States. Now, I was joined in Champs for this game, by a good American friend. She seemed interested in following what was going on, and in situations like that, I am only too happy to share my football-knowledge. At one point, she asked "Why is the referee kicking that other guy?". I let the question go, but then she said "the referee seems really involved. What is his role?". At this point I realized that she thought Juventus players, with their black and white striped shirts, were referees... "Well, in the US the referees in games wear black and white stripes", she tried to defend herself. But at this point, I was already cracking up in laughter.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Bayern Munich-Chelsea

I do not dislike Chelsea at all. I rather admire what Mr. Abramovich has done (if I was a billionaire, first thing I would do was probably to buy a football team), and the team's great capability of changing styles: from attacking, counter-attacking and ultra-defensive. But yesterday evening, I found myself strangely supporting Bayern Munich.
Firstly, it was because in Champs Sports Bar in Accra, where I watched the match, I had to listen all night to the world's most annoying football fan, frantically (and not fanatically) cheering for Chelsea.
Secondly, I found the spirit the Germans put into the match very refreshing. Even when the game, at 1-2, was obviously lost, they kept pushing for the victory, which came, although bittersweet indeed. But again Chelsea showed why they are the favourites for this season's CL title: they were lucky in many situations, but like most great teams, they also search for their luck, and deserve to be where they are.
I look forward to next Chelsea match. Just hope I can avoid the wanna-be annoying fans!

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Champions League 04-05: Quarterfinal predictions

After an exciting first round of quarterfinals last week, we are nearing the moment of truth: who will be semi-finalists of the 2004-2005 Champions League. It is hard to predict, but I will dare anyway:
Inter-AC Milan: AC Milan pulled back what in Italian terms is a comfortable victory. 2-0, and they will also have their strong attack ready tonight. However, I believe that Inter may pull a tie or even a 1-0 victory. In any case, AC Milan is the next semi-finalist.
Bayern Munich-Chelsea: The first game was a game of superlatives. Both teams played great, and Chelsea certainly showed why they are the most dangerous team in Europe this season. Even when Bayern Munich was dominating, the Chelsea striking force was devastating, particularly an amazing Frank Lampard. Bayern is under pressure, and I believe they can pull a 1-0 or 2-1 victory. But Chelsea is the next semi-finalist!
Juventus-Liverpool: The first was an exciting and emotional match between two of Europe’s greatest team. Liverpool managed a deserved 2-1 victory that gives them hope for a semi-final spot. However, Juventus is the master of 1-0 victories (five alone in the first round of the CL), and I think they will get it. Juventus will be in the semi-final.
PSV Eindhoven-Lyon: Just as much as Lyon was a disappointment, PSV was a positive surprise in the first match. After 1-1 in Lyon, the aces are in the hand of PSV. While I believe that Lyon will try hard, it will not be enough against a well-organised and motivated PSV side, which is back with the strength of former times. PSV will win 1-0 or get 0-0.
I am seldom right. But I keep trying!

Monday, April 11, 2005

Real Madrid-Barcelona

I had been waiting with excitement for this match for a long time. A match set up with the legends of former times, with many of the greatest players on the pitch. And with the rest of the world of football fanatics, I was not disappointed. The match was absolutely extraordinary from the first moment!
I watched the match in a sports bar in Accra, Champs, with a bunch of friends who know nothing about football. However, even they could see the marvels of this match, and it even angered me a bit when some would lift their arms at Madrid’s beautiful goals.
I do not like Madrid, but I can see when they do something brilliant. Specially Iker Casillas, was amazing, again tonight, and is on the way of becoming the world’s greatest goalkeeper.
Now, Barcelona is “only” 6 points ahead in the Spanish Primera Division. I hope they will become champions.
My dear Valencia is out. I just hope they might get the Champions League spot!