It took me a week to semi-organize my thoughts about the UEFA Final. AC Milan prevailed 2-1 over Liverpool last Wednesday. I watched the game on TIVO - taking a day off two days after coming back from a week long vacation is frowned upon at the Fun Factory - so that kind of dulled the pain.
After a week of thinking about it the same thoughts keep coming back. Rafa waited too long to bring in Peter Crouch. His game plan was solid, but the big names couldn't finish. Stevie Gerrard, Xabi Alonso and John Arne Riise all had chances to score and couldn't find the back of the net. Jermaine Pennant did a great job of creating space, but couldn't do anything once he was open. I guess a little bit of karma was paid back. The magic 6 minutes in Istanbul were repaid with 93---errr 92 and 1/2--- minutes of frustration in Athens.
Watching the replay of the first goal.... it might have been a handball, but there is no way the ref can make that call at real speed. Even watching slow down replays on the TIVO didn't show a definitive replay.
The second goal from AC Milan was the result of a sublime pass by Kaka. Pepe Reina hesitated off his line for a second and the ball was trickled into the back of the net. Crouch played strong once he was in maybe he would have been a factor on some of the wayward crosses from Steve Finnan and Pennant that were harmlessly booted away earlier in the game.
Kruyt's goal in bonus time brought a little hope into the hacienda, but I never had the feeling that they could pull it off.
Time for the mastermind to rebuild. it would be nice to see him build a team that is competitive in Europe and in the Premiership, but that will be difficult. Crouch has been assured he is still in the teams plans, but it looks like Craig Bellamy will be gone as will Robbie Fowler. It should be interesting to see what happens once the transfer window opens up this summer.
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