Saturday football marathon

Sunday today, and it should be a day of rest. Unfortunately I have a mild cold that yesterday prevented me from enjoying what is about the only worthwhile day of the week. Saturday. So I turned to the TV set and the newly-restarted football leagues to watch the footy.

Things started rolling with the Formula1 qualifiers actually, but I managed to nod off during the last valid section for the top ten. Damn. Next up it was the Chelsea-Burnley match, which I did not elect to watch.

My favourites were on next. Tottenham against Birmingham. With the Spurs winning every match this year so far, it seemed to be a fair bet for an easy victory. At least on paper. What turned out to be had me and my daughter in tears right up to the very end.

A very tense (and domineering) first half performance ended goalless, and it looked as if the City Blues could easily hold on for a draw. That is, until Harry Redknapp unleashed Peter Crouch onto the field of play. The lanky forward showed the way to go and a number of chances started coming our way. Finally the deadlock was broken in the seventy-second minute. Crouch rose above the defence to power a header beyond Cooke’s reach. No more than Spurs deserved, and despite having a sore throat and all, our shouting was at fever pitch for the goal. Phew, what a relief!

But as a Spurs fan, one has to suffer, and suffer we did. Barely three minutes had passed, and the Blues were level. Another mix-up in defence, and Cudicini hesitated, before giving Birmingham an easy tap-in to score. 1-1. And we have to do it all over again. And this time in fifteen minutes.

Spurs not only did not manage to look too dangerous, but City had a glorious chance to win the match, but O’Connor managed to fluff the ball wide of the goal after a pass by Benitez.

On 88 minutes Jermain Defoe (who wasted innumerable chances) went to the ground injured and Russian international Roman Pavlyuchenko was drafted in to replace him. Still no go. The Russian giant barely touched the ball until the dying seconds.

94th minute and City were going forward, with ex-Spurs Steven Carr slipping on the ball. Tom Huddlestone nipped forward to take the ball off him, and pass it towards the Russian. Roman dribbled past two players before finding Aaron ‘Speedy Gonzales’ Lennon on the far left. The winger skipped nimbly past two defenders before allowing the ball to settle on his favourite right foot and slide it in beyond the reach of goalkeeper Cooke.

Ecstasy, Pure Joy, and of course much shouting at the last play of a match we thouroughly deserved to win. There we were, me, Roxy and Nunu, all jumping for joy, and my throat even more sore than before. Ah…the beauty of football. So exciting and unpredictable.

The next match was Man.Utd-Arsenal. That finished 2-1, with the Gunners feeling thoroughly peeved at the way they managed to lose a match they should have won easily. United are nothing without Cristiano Ronaldo, and trying to play Giggs in the same way as CR is such a wrong move. Suffice to say United won by a goal coming from a penalty and a ‘classic own goal’ by Arsenal defender Diaby…inexplicably, the defender, left alone, misjudged wildly his header, sending a bullet past team-mate Almunia in the Gunners goal.

The big match was then on at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza in Italy. Two giants, Inter and Milan taking on each other in the ‘Derby della Madonnina’. Expectations ran high for this match, and things indicated it was going to be too close to call. As usual, Inter had no Italians in their side, while Milan had six. (In the two matches between English sides described above, there were barely ten … mostly in the Spurs squad!)

Anyway, back to the match. This was a whitewash. Inter dominated a hapless Milan from the start. Milan’s weak link this year is surely coach Leonardo. I never really fancied him as a player, let alone as a coach! He is so hopeless. Adding Kaka’s goodbye was then nothing short of disastrous. The scoreline? 4-0, with the first half finishing already 3-0 and Gattuso sent off for Milan. His injury hampered him and showed Leonardo’s inexperience in not preparing Seedorf for an immediate change. Between being injured and being substituted, a whole three minutes had passed. An eternity in football! Thus it was that following a late challenge on Sneijder , Gattuso was sent off! What a shambles.

Inter selected not to inflict too much injury to Milan, as they backed off their pace a bit, but managing to score again by Stankovic, who it seems, sees red every time he plays against Milan.

And now….I’m off to bed…AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAchoooo.

Damn that was good!

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