April 14th, 2011
Champions League Results, Pt II: Naked But Numb
Your PFA Player of The Year? Image: Getty Images/Zimbio
Having studied the habits of Kickette staff over the last four years, our data has demonstrated that emotional stress causes increased ingestion of cookie dough and white wine. As we approach the business end of the season, a review of our orders to the bakery suggests that we’re in for a record year, and we predict that unfulfilled threats to join a gym will spike in late May.
You too? What”s your
fatproof foolproof method of stress management? Can you share it with us, please?
Tottenham Hotspur 0-1 Real Madrid (agg 0-5)
You know when you’ve been fantasising about a pair of shoes for months and then your friend turns up wearing them? This is the level of agony experienced by Heurelho Gomes in this photo. Images: Getty Images/Zimbio, Getty Images/Daylife
Oh, Heurelho. Your attempt to take the heat off your colleague Peter Crouch by offering forth an error at least on a par with the striker’s mad tackles in the last leg was truly admirable but not necessary. Overcoming a 4-0 deficit against a Real Madrid side managed by Jose Mourinho was always going to be a stretch, but it’s a testament to Harry Redknapp and his boys’ will for a way seeing that there was still some interest in this game for the Spurs home leg.
Kickettes know that dreams can come true, but it doesn’t happen very often. Spurs looked far more confident in the opening stages than they did in the Bernabeu, but aside from a few inspiring runs by Gareth Bale and a penalty shout from a Xabi Alonso tackle on Roman Pavlyuchenko in the box, Real Madrid looked comfortable and the result never looked in doubt.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s twenty-five yard strike should never have troubled Spurs ‘keeper Gomes and for a split second he had it covered. Those pesky balls have Houdini-like powers though, and moments later we were treated to the agonising sight of it trickling over the line a’ la Robert Green. Fortunately for Gomes, the game was already lost. The censure he receives for his mistake is likely to be muted.
So Spurs are out and now face a battle with Manchester City for the Champions League qualifying spot of fourth in the EPL. Madrid, meanwhile, face their semi-final opposition Barcelona on Saturday in a crucial league fixture. This is the first of four games between the Spanish giants and will invariably define the seasons of both.
We’re fearful but excited. You?
Schalke 04 2-1 Inter Milan (agg 7-3)
We did like this image of Raul celebrating his goal against Inter last night, but have to confess we were pushed to include it because we really loved the fluffy, furry microphone thing in the corner. Image: Reuters/Daylife
We think it’s a shame this tie slipped through the cracks, particularly for Bundesliga side Schalke, who have earned themselves a semi-final against Manchester United with an astonishing display of football that made last year’s champs look, dare we say it, fairly ordinary.
All the hard work was done in the first leg, where visitors Schalke dominated play and gave themselves an insurmountable five-away-goal cushion. No team has ever progressed in the competition having accrued such a deficit for an away leg but there’s always hope when a side can call upon experience like that of Javier Zanetti, Maicon and Julio Cesar (left). And for forty-five minutes a flicker of hope remained, until Raul struck just before the whistle blew for half-time.
Tiago Motta equalised the tie on fifty minutes, but it was arguably academic by that point, and Benedikt Howedes made certain with another goal on eighty-one minutes. Schalke are clearly the underdogs going into the final four, but as they showed over these two games, anything is possible in football. We wouldn’t bet against ‘em.