Sunday, May 11, 2008

Champions League final

I watched the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League on a long road-trip of Mozambique: the first leg matches in a boring bar in Nampula and in a kitsch old hotel in Quelimane. On the following day I crossed the mighty Zambezi river, and eventually I arrived in Maputo exactly for the second leg of the semifinals.
I was not expecting Barcelona to go through, even though my support went for them, both personally, but also football-wise, since I believe we would get a much more exciting final with them there, than the two (great) teams we had got. But without scoring at home, it was bound to happen. I am nevertheless surprised that a team with Barcelona's firepower was unable to score in the first match at home, a sure sign of the crisis the Catalonians are clearly going through. Manchester United were surely not the better team in the first match, and did look shaky even at home; but football is about scoring goals, and after Paul Scholes' blast, they are deservedly in the final.
Liverpool and Chelsea gave us some great and intense matches. The first one was a tactical and hard encounter, while the second was intense and very entertaining. While Liverpool played their game, never surrendering, it seemed to me the entire time that Chelsea was the team that wanted to be in the final the most. The players are great, and Chelsea is surely hungry for their first European title.
The final will indeed be hard to predict; I do not expect a very entertaining match. It will probably be very tactical, a bit nervous, and with few (if any) goals.

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