Tuesday, May 16, 2006

FA Cup Final (or, Steven Gerrard, have my babies)

Liverpool 3 - 3 West Ham (Liverpool win 3-1 on penalties)
Liverpool just can't do anything the easy way, can they? Apparently it's not a true cup final unless they fall behind, Stevie G. drags the team back into the game by the scruff of their neck, and they finally win on penalties. Oh, and Harry Kewell goes off with a groin injury.

Let's recap, shall we?

  • Jamie Carragher opens the scoring with an own goal. He looks like someone has just reached inside him and ripped out his intestines.

  • West Ham get a second flukey goal when Pepe Reina flubs a save and spills the ball right in front of Dean Ashton.

  • Peter Crouch has a goal ruled out, proving that still, nobody understands how to apply the offside rule properly. But it's less of a controversy than it could have been, because Cisse scores just a couple minutes later -- one of his rare contributions to the game, other than modelling various flashy boots.

  • That's three (or four) goals already, and it's only half-time. And it could have been more right after the half, but Reina makes a great double save to keep Liverpool from falling even further behind.

  • Then Steven Gerrard -- who else? -- scores to level things at 2-2. He celebrates by sticking his tongue out at the West Ham fans, because he is secretly five years old.

  • So Liverpool are right back in it, they're pressing for the winner, and of course what do they do? Give up another one: the flukiest of all the flukey goals in this game, from a shot that was meant to be a cross and that had Reina totally out of position. Fantastic.

  • Liverpool throw everything they've got at West Ham but can't break them down, and it looks like it's just not going to be enough. And then, in the 90th minute, out of nowhere, the ball falls to Gerrard -- who barely a minute before was limping around with cramp -- and he smashes it into the net. One of the delirious Liverpool supporters behind me in the pub spills beer all over me, and I don't even care.

  • And now: extra time! Both teams have used up all their subs, players are dropping like Arjen Robben after a pat on the cheek, so clearly what we need is another thirty minutes of football. Yes.

  • Neither team is able to get the golden goal -- although Reina has to tip a shot onto the post, in a brilliant save that makes up for his previous attack of Dudek-itis -- so we're off to penalties. I still think penalties are a crappy way to decide a match, but then, I play in a league with unlimited substitutions.

  • Sami Hyypia demonstrates why central defenders aren't supposed to take penalties. But he's probably one of the only Liverpool players who can walk at this point, so we'll cut him some slack.

  • And it doesn't matter anyway, because Pepe Reina is a penalty-stopping machine and Liverpool wins the shootout 3-1. I feel a brief pang of sympathy for mini-Rio, but really I'm too busy celebrating, because Stevie G. is lifting a trophy once again and so all is right with the world.

So. It wasn't the best game for Liverpool -- their defense, supposedly the best in the Premiership, was a mess for all three West Ham goals, and once Kewell and Xabi Alonso went off, they really didn't have a lot of creative options going forward -- but wow, was it great to watch. Also, anyone who still thinks that Frank Lampard is a better player than Steven Gerrard needs to sit down and shut up now.

Up next: Arsenal v. Barca in the Champions League final. I promise to be more objective about this one.

1 comment:

ynba said...

Players are dropping like Arjen Robben after a pat on the cheek, so clearly what we need is another thirty minutes of football.

Dude. How much do I love you?