Wednesday, May 06, 2009

live blogging: Chelsea v. Barcelona, Champions League Semi-Final, Second Leg

Derek: Wow, is right. Thanks to everyone and anyone who stopped by for this. We've never done a livblogging thing before, so it was fun. I think we'll do it again and get better at it. Damn, it was hard! Anyway... cheers to you all.

Lynda: Wow, that was . . . that was grueling. Chelsea played a better game than they did at Camp Nou last week. It's true, I too have seen them snatch a soul-crushing stoppage time victory more than once (and was afraid of them doing it this week).

I'm looking forward to the Messi v. Ronaldo showdown in Rome.

I think I'm in shock. Over and out.

Derek: GAME OVER. With all due respect to my friends who are Chelsea supporters... I feel nothing. I've seen Chelsea kill off teams just like this in the last minute. Brutal, though. No doubt about it. All in all, I don't think Barcelona played up to their usual standards, but this is the craziness football. And no, Eto'o did not touch the ball with his hand. He was obviously turning away from the ball and the ball hit him in the upper arm (I think it was; haven't seen the replay). That's not a handball, sorry. It wasn't intentional.

I have to take a breath. My head is spinning.

Chelsea 1, Barcelona 1; 1-1 aggregate with Barcelona moving on to the final with that mean away goal.

Lynda: Iniesta in stoppage time. I think I just had a heart attack.

Derek: GOOOOOOOOAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lynda: 85.00 My Bojan Krkcic in for Busquets.

Derek: 80:00 Pique gets plenty of touches and movement on the ball and makes a good shot on goal. Hard to believe that this was the same team who destroyed Real Madrid on Saturday.

Lynda: 76.00 Remember what I said earlier about wanting two goals? One would be good.

Also, when I said I wanted John Terry to cry, by "John Terry" I did not mean "me."

Lynda: 71.20 Former Barca man Belletti in for Drogba.

Lynda: 68.00 The ref, Tom Henning Øvrebø, has done this before.

Derek: 66:00 This is ridiculous. I'm stunned. Red card for Abidal, who made no contact on Anelka. This is wrong, wrong, wrong. And I'm now officially in favor of instant replay.

Lynda: In fairness, I've seen Dani Alvez shot by snipers from the stands in more La Liga games than I can count.

Derek: 61:00 This is horrifying. I've never seen anything like it before. It looks like... the ball... assassinated Drogba. I guess crime really is on the rise in London.

Derek: 56:00 And Drogba dives again! Beautiful. Clean tackle by Toure.

Derek: 48:00 Pep is understandably pissed at Alves. What the hell is Dani thinking by taking that shot?

Lynda: HALF. I may spend the second half lying down in a dark room far from the TV. But in the meantime, yeah, I'm with Derek--I want to see two goals from Barcelona. Chelsea are too good at those stoppage time, dream-crushing goals for me to comfortable with a 1-1 scoreline.

Derek: HALF. Frustrating first half, no doubt about it. Eto'o, Iniesta, and Messi have been absent for large portions of the game. Hopefully Pep will get 'em focused for the second half and we can get two goals. I know all we need is one, but two is insurance against a Chelsea squad who know how to kill off an opponent at the last minute.

Derek: Stoppage. Excellent shot by Xavi... but to no avail.

Derek: 41:00 Looks like Barca is slowing it down a bit more, inching closer to goal, but still they can't connect.

Derek: 32:00 Hate to see my man Puyol seated in the stands.

Lynda: 30.00 Yellow card for Alvez. It's unsurprising, but Dani, chill out. Seriously. And now Lampard's down on his hands and knees with a split lip. Not sure what went down there.

Derek: 29:00 And Messi finally appears....

Lynda: 26.45 Tommy kept bragging about how this was going to be a "physical" game and how La Liga just isn't used to such a "physical" game because La Liga refs don't allow it and now he keeps complaining when Barca gets "physical" and Chelsea doesn't get the call....

Lynda: 22.53 Free kick for Chelsea after Alvez fouls Malouda. And it's a miss. I can't argue with the ref's decision.

This is getting nerve-wracking. Barca need to score.

Derek: 22:27 Great save by Valdez. Close though.

Lynda: 15.00 Yes, rather than watch the game, please treat us to a montage of shots of Essien's goal. There's still a game going on. Anyway, 15 minutes gone and there's my first prediction shot down--the wrong side scored! No more predictions. Come on, Barca.

Derek: 9:30 Nice goal from Essien.

Lynda: 8.50 Goal for Chelsea, Michael Essien. Valdez should've had that. Damn.

Lynda: 7.30 I can't really argue with Tommy's remark that Dani can be "a bit of a cheat and goes to the ground too easily." Heh. That Dani.

Derek: 4:30 Some really nice forward movement from Barca. Didn't see the supposed handball by Messi. I'd like to see Terry cry again too.

Lynda: 3.30 I've got nothing against John Terry, or even Chelsea for that matter, but that doesn't mean I don't want to see Terry cry again this year.

Derek: 2:25 Nice "shot" Lampard. Or was that a pass? Only he knows.

Derek: Looks like Toure is playing in Marquez's position and Pique has shifted over to Puyol's place. Watch out for Busquets... he's the unknown factor for Chelsea.

Derek: And we're on.... Visca Barca!

Lynda: To their credit, all three ESPN pre-game commentators predicted a win for Barca. 1-1 except for Shaka Hislop who thinks it'll be 1-2. I'm scared to make any scoreline predictions.

Derek: Glad that Pep has pulled Toure back into Puyol's normal position too, shifting Pique into Marquez's. Caceres has simply been too unpredictable to start.

Derek: Still pre-game. Did Tommy Smyth just say that all Chelsea had to do was win? What a genius. No wonder I can't stand to listen to these guys.

Derek: So enough of the ESPN half-informed commentators. Let's get this thing going. I hate predicting anything at this point but I agree with Lynda that Barcelona will score within the first 15 minutes. Iniesta is going to be trouble to defend again. I think it's funny that the four commentators on ESPN keep talking about Barca as untested and that they have trouble getting past the semi-finals. Does no one remember that we won just three seasons ago with many of the same players? Stupid.

Lynda: We'll be liveblogging until the end or until our heads explode from the ESPN announcers' slavish adoration of the Premiership and All Things English (question: if a loss for Barca means La Liga is a second-rate league, does a loss for Chelsea mean the same about the EPL?). Looks like Henry's out with that knee injury he sustained this weekend during El Clasico. Guardiola's made some interesting shuffles in the lineup to account for the lack of defenders--he's got Toure in Puyol's position (who's out on accumulated yellow cards). For Hiddink's part, he's added Anelka as a striker alongside Drogba.

Hang on tight. We're just minutes away from the start.


Sportsbettingcentre said...

Fifteen minutes left and Barca have ten men....

All England final anyone?

Lynda said...

I hate to see Champions reduced to a league match...ANY league.

Mike said...

Since when do handballs have to be intentional. Why doesn't the defense hold there arms up in the air at a 90 degree angle at all times. If the ball hits the arm, it's not intentional so therefore not a handball.

I've seen a lot less get called hand balls. That ref took 3 obvious PK opportunities away from Chelsea. The takedown IN THE BOX that was called a penalty and the ref moves the ball back outside the box.

The blatant hand ball earlier in the box that prevented the ball getting to the goal.

And the last hand ball in the box.

Just because a ref doesn't want to call a PK doesn't mean he shouldn't.

That ref was a total tool. Either that or paid off. I would lean towards incompetent. He gave a red card to Barca that shouldn't have even been called a penalty. Drogba deserved a card for diving. He was pathetic. And the 3 PKs should have been awarded to Chelsea.

Just because you don't want to see 2 EPLs in the final is no reason to hand the game to Barca. That ref was a disgrace. Too much is on the line at that level of play for there to be a Rec league Ref.

Mike said...

Barcelona's Pique tells Chelsea: It was handball

Lynda said...

Yeah, I think it's pretty clear from reading our post that we weren't happy with the refereeing. I don't think either side was.

But "deliberate contact" is absolutely an important distinction in calling a handball.

Handball: Fifa Rules of the Game, p. 35 "A direct free kick is awarded...if a player...handles the ball deliberately"

Further discussion of the handball issue and what "deliberate" means can be found in lots of places:
'Former Premier League referee David Elleray said the referee's interpretation depends on whether the hand or arm is in an "unnatural" position at the point of contact.' ' "Deliberate contact" means that the player could have avoided the touch but chose not to, that the player's arms were not in a normal playing position at the time, or that the player deliberately continued an initially accidental contact for the purpose of gaining an unfair advantage.'

Referees have a tough job. Even the ones I hate. I enjoyed reading a couple of ref blogs during the last World Cup because it really gave me some insight into how decisions that seem very cut-and-dried to me as a fan are often more nuanced than that.

And then some games are just poorly refereed, of course.

Lynda said...

I should add to the above that I think the Eto'o "handball" is where I real see a real point of dispute, not the Pique one, which we never even mentioned until Derek conceded days ago in the comments to the post above this one was probably a bad call.