Today in the soccer world, Manchester United FC defeated Chelsea FC for Champions League title. I have to admit, this was the first time in my life that I actually sat down and watched an entire soccer match from start to finish. And even more surprising to me, I loved every minute of it. I was glued to the television from the first minute of the game to the last. Now I did watch some of the games of the FIFA World Cup in 2006, but I did not enjoy any of those games as much as I did the game today (this may be due to the fact that the US did poorly in the World Cup and didn’t make it out of the group stage).
The two teams today had some of the best players in the world going at each other, perhaps even the best player in the world in Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored his first goal ever against Chelsea in the 26th minute. Chelsea answered right before the half when Frank Lampard scored his goal in the 45th minute of the match. Regulation ended with the teams still locked in a draw at 1-1. Thirty minutes of extra time were then added to see if either team could manage a goal before going to the penalty kick shootout. Chelsea got very close to taking a 2-1 lead but came up short when Frank Lampard’s shot hit off the crossbar of the goal and bounced away. Extra time ended deadlocked at 1-1.
Then came the penalty kick shootout to decide it all. Both teams had made their first two PK shots. Then stepped up Cristiano Ronaldo, who had scored Manchester United’s only goal of the game, and he missed his PK shot! Both teams then went on to make their next two PKs, and it all came down to John Terry, the captain of Chelsea. With both teams tied at 4-4 in the shootout, all Terry had to do was make his PK shot and Chelsea would win 5-4 and claim the Champions League title, the most prestigious soccer championship in all the world. He ran up to kick his PK, and as he kicked the ball he slipped and fell to the ground, unable to control his kick, and he hit the post of the goal and missed! Man U made their next PK, which Chelsea answered and made theirs as well. Man U upped the pressure again by making the following PK. Chelsea’s Nicolas Anelka had to answer to keep his team alive. He ran up to take his shot, and Man U’s goalie Edwin Van der Sar predicted which way Anelka would shoot and blocked the shot, clinching Manchester United the Champions League title. Chelsea had their opportunities to win. They were so close, yet they just couldn’t finish the game off.
This is the soccer game I experienced today. The biggest soccer game on the biggest stage, and man was it exciting! Now I have never been a huge soccer fan, but today may have changed my mind!