Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Champions League Matchday 5: November 21

Celtic 1-0 Manchester United
Shunsuke Nakamura seems to bear a strange similarity to David Beckham -- in both his free kicks and his ability to irritate the hell out of Alex Ferguson. Just as he did at Old Trafford in September, he scored an absolutely gorgeous free kick -- although this time it was for a non-existent foul, as Jiri Jarosik went down in slow motion on the edge of the box after Nemanja Vidic apparently breathed on him wrong (I'm sure he never learned that at Chelsea, right? Oh.)

There's no question that United were the better team yesterday, but in the end it didn't matter. They had a ton of possession without ever really testing the keeper. I suspect they might've been a bit complacent coming into this game, knowing that they only needed a point to qualify for the next round, and it backfired.

Louis Saha in particular had an off night, highlighted by his freezing when he was through on goal with only the keeper to beat. Presumably he expected to be flagged offside -- and honestly, I think he was off -- but still: PLAY THE WHISTLE. Come on, this is Footballing 101. Oh, and not to mention that he had a crucial penalty saved.

And United had nobody on the bench that they could bring on to save the game at that point. Super-sub Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is still injured, Alan Smith is off fighting a loan to Cardiff or re-bleaching his hair or whatever, and so, in the 86th minute, Sir Alex turns to...John O'Shea. WHY?

Real Madrid 2-2 Lyon
Man United might be feeling nostalfic for Ruud Van Nistelrooy today. Or maybe not, seeing as he also missed a penalty that could have left Real Madrid top of their group.

Arsenal 3-1 Hamburg
It looked like it was going to be more of the same for Arsenal -- a 1-1 draw with a supposedly inferior team -- until Theo Walcott came on as a late sub and spurred the Gunners on to win. They may even have let him stay up past his bedtime to celebrate.

Other results
Steaua Bucharest 1-1 Dynamo Kiev
Benfica 3-1 Copenhagen
CSKA Moscow 0-2 Porto
Lille 2-2 Anderlecht
AEK Athens 1-0 Milan

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