Thursday, April 05, 2007

Champions League Quarter-finals: April 3

PSV Eindhoven 0 - 3 Liverpool
I didn't think a 3-0 Liverpool win could be so boring. The firsrt 25 minutes or so were especially dull -- lots of Liverpool possession without ever really threatening the PSV goal. I mainly amused myself by counting the number of times that Carragher and Agger passed back and forth to each other.

PSV had obviously come out playing for a draw, which might have been a better idea if they hadn't been so terrible defensively. Partly that's because they were missing Alex, who was a key player when they beat Arsenal. Partly they just didn't seem to know what they were doing. Or, in fact, to care. They finally put a bit of pressure on Liverpool in the last third of the game, but it was way too late by that point.

Good points, from a Liverpool perspective:
- Mascherano, who impressed me once again for being able to tackle and not constantly giving the ball away like Sissoko does.
- Two great crosses from Steve Finnan to set up the goals for Gerrard and Crouch. (Is Finnan the most underrated right back in the Premiership? I say yes.)
- Peter Crouch, for the second game in a row, actually getting some power on his header. Have they been giving him lessons, finally?

Bad points:
- Losing Aurelio to injury -- I think he's been improving slowly, and this leaves them really short of options on the left.
- The referee, who I thought overly fussy, particularly the way he repeatedly penalized Crouch for the mortal sin of being tall.
- Those fugly yellow kits. Yes, I still hate them.

So, Liverpool weren't overwhelmingly great, but they didn't need to be. I don't want to take anything for granted, but they should be able to take it easy next week, seeing as PSV have effectively thrown in the towel already.

And finally, a gold star to (1) the ever insightful ESPN commentators who criticised Riise for pushing up too much, totally ignoring the fact that he was playing midfield and (2) TSN for contriving to cut off the first minute of the second half, which is particularly sad since it was tape delayed so it's not like they didn't know when they were coming back from the break.

AC Milan 2 - 2 Bayern Munich
This was roughly a thousand times more interesting than the Liverpool game. Very open, especially in the second half. I think Milan were probably the better team, but a draw is a fair result, especially considering that their second goal should never have been a penalty. Bayern did well to come back and equalize twice -- with two goals from defender Daniel Van Buyten, of all people, and it puts them in a good position for the second leg.

Milan will have to hope that Kaka has a better game -- yes, he scored the penalty, but he also missed a sitter earlier -- especially since Gilardino will be suspended, meaning that their options up front are reduced to 87-year-old Pippo Inzaghi. Gilardino I think must be cursed, because he absolutely could not score, between a great save from Rensing and then another goal being (incorrectly, I thought) ruled offside. Maybe it's karma catching up with him for that atrocious dive against Celtic.


Anonymous said...

No, Gilardino's been battling karma since way before his swandive v Celtic. He's been missing sitters all year. Must have run over a puppy or something.

thebench said...


Glad to hear you are in better spirits today!

Although I thought Liverpool were fairly destructive and found the game far more interesting than you did.

You will also be pleased to hear that the surgery went well yesterday and I now have two properly functioning testicles.