07 March 2007

That just happened.

So, looking at Tuesday's Champions League games, wow, I have never been so happy to be wrong. I got exactly one of those matches right. (In my defense, I only picked Lyon because I liked their uniforms better.) I only got to see the Liverpool match, but that's not going to stop me from discussing all of them.

First, Roma/Lyon. I'm still amazed that Roma's no-strikers formation is working (if only Liverpool could pull that off). Also, didn't Lyon bring Houllier in to win the Champions League? Oops. I'm actually kind of happy to see Roma advance; while Serie A is a bit of a clusterfuck this season, Roma were consistently solid last season and are one of the few big clubs in Italy to have avoided the match-fixing scandal. I'm not a huge Totti fan, but it'll be interesting to see how Roma does in the quarters, since they haven't been in the Champions League for a few seasons now. (Also, how badly do Lyon have to perform in Europe before Tommy Smyth will stop calling them a dark horse team? Maybe two seasons ago, but not now, sunshine.)

And then there's Inter/Valencia. That link goes to video of the post-match fight, which seems to have been the only interesting thing about this one. A 0-0 draw, Valencia advance on away goals, and since I don't like Inter, I'm fine with it.

Before I start talking about Chelsea/Porto, I'd just like to say this: OH MY GOD MOURINHO GET OVER IT. Garcia's goal was over the line; but even if it weren't, what do you want them to do about it now? (And let's not forget Gudjohnsen' s miss in front of an open goal before we talk about why you didn't advance.) God, I really can't stand him. Anyway. This is the only tie I called correctly, but I didn't think Chelsea would make such a hard time of it. As useless as Ballack and Shevchenko have been in the Premiership this season, it's a little bit surprising to see them be actually worthwhile in this match, combining for the crucial second goal. I'm still not convinced Chelsea actually needed Ballack in the first place, but I guess if you're Abramovich, one goal in a knockout match is worth 120,000 pounds a week or whatever ridiculous amount they're paying him.

And last, Liverpool beat Barcelona on away goals. As you may have heard. I have to say, this game gave me a heart attack, just about. Especially in games like this, and especially after the Man U game Saturday (do not speak to me of John O'Shea), I'm never happy when we've got an advantage to defend. Honestly, with that Gudjohnsen goal, I thought it was all over. Considering we'd had our customary no-goals-to-15-shots, yeah. The last fifteen minutes of this match were the most tense I've been watching Liverpool since stoppage time in the Chelsea semifinal. I think we were the better team for the majority of the game -- even with Eto'o back for Barca, they were never really able to get him into the game. I forgot Messi was even on the field, so thoroughly did Arbeloa shut him down, and Ronaldinho doesn't look like even half the player he has been in the past. The BBC has all the details, up to and including possession statistics.

So, we did it. I still really can't believe it, but I'm happy. I hesitate to predict any further, because the team has been so incredibly inconsistent this season (or really, for the past couple seasons), but you know. This is good. Anything that gives Steven more opportunities to stick things down his shorts is very good indeed.

Coming up, post-mortem on Wednesday's matches, and at some point I may attempt to work through my PTSD after the Man U game. Who needs the Premiership anyway?

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