Thursday, May 22, 2008

Evil Reigns in Europe

Manchester United became the champions of Europe yesterday by winning a penalty kicks shootout over Chelsea, 6-5, after a 1-1 tie that lasted for 120 minutes in a deluge at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium.

England's Evil Empire scored in the 26th minute on a blistering header from Cristiano Ronaldo. Chelsea knotted the match at one just before halftime with a goal from Frank Lampard.

And it stayed tied through the second half and extra time. So it came down to penalty kicks to decide the club champion of Europe. It was a best-of-five, and Chelsea and Man U were tied 4-4, with Chelsea's captain John Terry taking what could have been the final shot. If he put it in, Chelsea would take the trophy. As he took the shot, United goalkeeper Edwin Van der Sar went left, and Terry went right. But he seemed to have slipped in the wet conditions, and the shot sailed wide right.

At that moment, you just knew how this was going to end. With Man U leading 6-5, Van der Sar stopped a shot from Nicolas Anelka (pictured), and Manchester United had its third Champions League title in its storied history, the two others being in 1968 and 1999. For more on the match, go here.

I'm not a Chelsea fan (although I was pulling for them yesterday), but I feel badly for John Terry. He's a terrific player, and unless he leads Chelsea back to a Champions League title or England to a World Cup victory, he'll never live down what happened with that wide open net.

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