Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Champions League Round of 16: March 7

Barcelona 1 - 1 Chelsea (aggregate 3-2)
You know what's great? Coming home from a long day at work, settling in on the couch with some leftover curry, and watching Chelsea get schooled by Ronaldinho. I kind of love him and his crazy teeth now. He just always looks so happy out there -- whether he's scoring a goal or getting called for a foul, there he is, smiling away. Which is more than you can say for Jose Mourinho. (I especially love whoever it was in the editing booth who put together the montages of the Not-So-Special One looking disgusted on the sidelines.)

Mourinho has been about as charming and gracious in defeat as you'd expect, insisting that the better team didn't win and Chelsea would have prevailed if they'd played 11-v-11 for both legs. Which is crap, because Chelsea didn't play that well. They came into this game knowing they had to score at least twice, but with a few exceptions like John Terry, they weren't really playing like they wanted to win. Mr 2nd-Best-Player-in-the-World was invisible for way too much of the game, aside from scoring that dubious penalty.

Plus, it's not as if Chelsea had one of their players sent off arbitrarily in the first leg, just to spite them or whatever. Del Horno fouled Messi because he couldn't defend against him cleanly, and his team paid the price. Gallas must have breathed a sigh of relief when the wee Argentine went off injured in the second leg -- not that it really seemed to help.

Also: I think this was the first time I'd seen footage of the Nou Camp, and wow, it's incredible. It kind of reminded me of the quidditch stadium from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, actually. (Shut up.)

Juventus 2 - 1 Werder Bremen (aggregate 4-4)
You know, I kind of wish I'd watched the Italian commentary instead. I woildn't have understood what they were saying, but at least I wouldn't have had to listen to the Americans on ESPN and their obsession with offside calls.

Anyway, on to the game itself: I was half-heartedly rooting for Werder Bremen on the strength of their whacked-out orange and green uniforms, plus the fact that I figure Juventus is sort of the Chelsea of Serie A. The first leg was a crazy 3-2 in favour of Bremen, but Juve had the advantage on away goals, so both teams needed to press hard in this leg. Which they did, albeit only sporadically.

Tim Wiese, the Bremen keeper, had a damn good game up until the last five minutes, when he dropped the ball and Emerson pounced to put Juve through. Ouch. (Someone also needs to tell Wiese that his tight pink jersey makes him look like he has man-boobs.)

Villareal 1 - 1 Rangers (aggregate 3-3)
Oh, come on. You didn't really think Rangers were going to make it through, did you?

Up next: Liverpool go out with a whimper rather than a bang, Arsenal are the last quote-unquote English team left in the competition, and I attempt to console myself with Andriy Shevchenko.

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