Saturday, February 25, 2006

Champions League Round of 16: February 22

Just pretend I posted this a couple days ago, okay? The Olympics are wreaking havoc with my football-watching schedule.

Chelsea 1 - 2 Barcelona
I'm not sure what was the most frightening visual: Puyol's hair (how does he even see the ball through that mop?) or Barca's neon yellow uniforms. Deco's eyebrows were a distant third.

Actually, it was kind of an ugly game all round, from the condition of the pitch to the two own-goals. Although Chelsea did a decent job of containing Barcelona in the first half, you still had the sense that the Spanish team could break through at any time. Chelsea came out hard to start the second half and eke out a goal, but after that it was all Barca. Samuel Eto'o scored a gorgeous second goal, leaving Chelsea with a huge disadvantage to overcome at the Nou Camp.

As for that controversial red card for Del Horno? I thought it was a bit harsh, but definitely at least a yellow. Plus, I'm in favour of anything that pisses off Jose Mourinho.

Werder Bremen 3 - 2 Juventus
This is where you pull out all the clich├ęs about it being a game of two halves and whatnot. It was end-to-end play in the first half, with Bremen enjoying most of the possession, finally grabbing a messy goal just before the break. The second half was much chippier, with momentum shifting back and forth. Juve equalized and then took the lead after some terrible defending from Bremen, but the Bundesliga's top offence scored twice more in a frantic end to the game. This one could go either way next week.

Ajax 2 - 2 Inter Milan
Ajax scored twice within the first 20 minutes, with Inter's defence looking ragged. After that, Ajax were content to sit back, soak up the pressure, and break forward when they could. Inter had lots of possession but still looked cautious, although they were unlucky not to score just before halftime, with the ball pinging off the crossbar twice in a row. But a totally different Inter team came out for the second half and pulled one back right away. The game opened up again then, with both teams giving the ball away a lot. Inter managed a well-deserved equalizer in the last five minutes, giving them the advantage heading into the second leg.

Rangers 2 - 2 Villareal
They didn't show this game here, which was fine with me since I don't care about either team -- aside from my residual bitterness that Villareal got through to the knockout rounds instead of United. I'm sticking with my prediction that Rangers will be the team to go out.

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