December 8th, 2011
Midweek Results, Champions League Part II: Ascending Arms Race
Before we rehash last night’s drama using our trademarked system of pictures and snark, let us hit you with this: which match do our Kickettes think produced the most incredible or shocking result over these past two days? What about your pick for most memorable game (or post-match speech by a manager) of this year’s UCL group stages?
For now though, on with our show.
Benfica 1-0 Otelul
Leading off with the one second leg tie everybody probably forgot about. We said arms, guys! Not legs or rears. Image Credit: AP Photo/Armando Franca; REUTERS/Rafael Marchante.
Our cards our on the table and we’re calling our own bluff: we didn’t once watch either of these teams play separately during the group stages, which gave us carte blanche to skip last night’s match where these two sides played against one another.
Show of hands for those that don’t give a damn?
‘You can look, but don’t touch.’ Image Credit: AFP PHOTO PHILIPPE HUGUEN.
Alright, so we may not have been paying total and complete attention to this tie either. Fortunately, the powers that punish laziness and snacking on the job decided to overlook our ineptitude once again and dismiss both of these teams from the competition. Lucky for us, if not for them, no?
Manchester City 2-0 Bayern Munich
Image Credit: REUTERS/Phil Noble.
Ok, now we see something we recognise. It might only be Sami Nasri’s smooth thighs, but it’s a start.
Having already qualified as group winners, Bayern Munich fielded what reporter Henry Winter described as a ‘Von Carling Cup‘ team. Meaning most of the pretty boys we love (plus Franck Ribery) were left on the bench. Manchester City did what they do and won the tie by a comfortable two goal margin, but thanks to defeats at Napoli and Bayern in earlier group games, it wasn’t enough.
Villarreal 0-2 Napoli
Could someone call Marek Hamsik and tell him Movember is over, please? Image Credit: AP Photo/Alberto Saiz.
It could’ve been so different. There was a lot of complex ‘possible outcome’ extrapolation going on last night (most of which we didn’t understand) but even with our laughable math skills we figured out that Manchester City were dunzo if Napoli beat Villarreal. Since Villarreal essentially had nothing to play for and the Italian sky-blues are on something of a roll, a win for Napoli was perhaps inevitable and came courtesy of goals from Hamsik and Inler. The difference between Champions League glory and Europa League ignominy in Group A?
Basel 2-1 Manchester United
‘Our Phil is alive with the Sound of Losing‘. Oh alright. It was funny at 3am this morning when we were writing this post. Image Credit: FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images; VALERIANO DI DOMENICO/AFP/Getty Images.
The question now for Manchester United fans is what’s more upsetting? Crashing out of what, on paper appeared to be a relatively ‘user-friendly’ CL group, or losing Nemanja Vidic to a super nasty knee injury that could threaten their whole season?
The Reds only required a draw against Basel and seemed perfectly capable of getting one early in the game, at least until David De Gea inexplicably dealt with a Xherdan Shaqiri shot with his feet which allowed Marco Streller to score from the rebound. United’s luck then popped off for an early bath as Wayne Rooney missing a Nani cross that quite frankly, one of us could have converted, and Vidic was carted off in all kinds of agony after short circuiting a knee ligament. He will go for a robot-scan later today.
In the meantime, United emerge from the wreckage of a 2-1 defeat as record holders. They are the first team ever to make the final in one season and then get dumped out of the group stages next. Eek.
On the plus side, Yann Sommer’s chiseled cheeks live to see another CL stage. So it’s not all bad news.
Dinamo Zagreb 1-7 Lyon
Image Credit: Getty Images.
Six second-half goals helped Olympique Lyonnais to a remarkable 7-1 victory against GNK Dinamo Zagreb – their biggest ever UEFA Champions League victory – and the most unlikely route through to the round of 16. We actually scrubbed this game from our ‘to watch’ list on the basis that there was no chance they would score the required seven.
Which, on reflection, makes us look even more faithless and inept than we usually do. Amazing.
Ajax 0-3 Real Madrid
We could stare at his rear all day long. And frequently do. Image Credit: Getty Images.
The shock result for Lyon at Zagreb had implications in this game too, but not for Real Madrid. Ajax were three points clear of Lyon before kick-off, but after having two goals disallowed and their superior goal difference rendered worthless, they failed to qualify. For their part, Real Madrid’s three goals (two from Callejon, one from Higgy) topped off a perfect record in Group D.
It’s unlikely to escape the notice of our Madrid contingent that this is a better record than Barca.
Inter Milan 1-2 CSKA
Image Credit: REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo.
Inter haven’t exactly left their poor form in Serie A, but had already qualified as Group B winners prior to kick off so the pressure was largely off. CSKA had to win the game in order to qualify ahead of Trabzonspor anyway and did so via a late, late goal from Vassili Berezoutski, but when all the shouting and celebrating ends, are you Inter fans satisfied? Your season stats suggest you won’t be soon, even if you’re all smiles now.
Were you any more successful in picking the right game to watch, Kickettes? You couldn’t have been much worse.