Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Champions League Semi-Final Live Blog: I Don't Have Time For This Shit...

But I'm doing it anyway.... Fucking Bissinger has me wound up. So I'm going to be completely unprofessional and do something that would totally piss him off. I'm going to write about a sporting event I'm not even attending.

Chelsea v. Liverpool at the Bridge.

I think I'm ambivalent here, I hate Chelsea (although I pulled for them to beat United as I wanted the last couple of matches to matter) but I'm still upset that Liverpool and not Arsenal are playing today. So follow along after the jump as I update live.

Shoddy journalism at its best.

Teams coming on the field. John Terry shakes hand in the tunnel with a kid in a Liverpool kit.

My friend Deepika loves the Champions League anthem. I find it contrived. Handshakes and Gerrard and Terry exchange pieces of fabric with tassels.

There's the coin flip. Is there anything more meaningless in sports that the flip for a soccer match?

Grant already looks clueless.

And we're off.

No clock on the broadcast yet, so don't know if I can give minutes.

There we are. Clock is up. Chelsea is playing Route 1 football for the first minute.

2nd minute: Goal kick from Reina. Lots of back and forth in the midfield. Both teams are cautiously generous and sloppy.

Please God, let these teams NOT play eye-bleedingly awful football. Slippery pitch isn't going to help matters.

4th minute: Don't think Liverpool has even gotten to the edge of the box with the ball yet.

6th minute: Long shot from Drogba. Maybe hoping for a skip off the wet pitch. Save by Reina. Essien follows with a blast high.

Liverpool know they do need a score, don't they? Free kick for the Reds. Hand ball. Well outside the box. Kuyt falls on no contact. Good clearance by Chelsea.

9th minute; Nice run up by Chelsea spoiled when Benayoun decked Cole. Counter by Liverpool. Torres in. And a nice save by Cech.

Corner Liverpool. Cleared.

A little more attacking from both sides. Shot from Ballack but Joe Cole can't find the other end of it. Ballack wants offsides. No dice. The ref hates Germans.

12th minute: More long ball by Chelsea. Hey it worked against Arsenal. Drogba makes a run, spoiled by Skrtl. Throw in for Chelsea, followed by a throw in for Chelsea followed by some boring possession as they cross back and forth. Oooh... a burst through the center from Drogba.

Reina clears.

Skrtl down on the sidelines. No word on why or what.

And he's back on. Another free kick for Liverpool. Cech is screaming like Howard. Riise kicks it right into the wall.

Oh god, I can only imagine what's going on inside Riise's head. I probably wouldn't understand it anyway as I don't speak Danish (Riise is from Denmark, isn't he? Shit I should know... some flavour of Scandinavian).

17th minute: Chealse get a free kick in the midfield. Quick restart.

So far it's a lot of exchanged possession in the midfield with the odd long ball that ends up in the keeper's hands. At least they are attacking long balls.

Pirates are pounding the Mets by the way. Hey... I've got the ticker. I'll keep yo...

Holy shit, Droga missed an easy one.

In on Reina and he pushes it wide of the far post. He buries that 9 out of 10. Maybe if he didn't hate his teammates so much one of them might have run on to the end of it.

20th minute: Skrtl still limping. Someone is warming for Liverpool.

And yes I know there is at least one vowel in Skrtl's name I'm just not sure where it goes.

Ballack wide for Kalou. Crosses to the box. Ballack can't find the header. Then Essien from range again. Reina saves it. Was going wide anyway.

Hyypia coming on.

Chelsea having the better go of it. Liverpool is countering they are just getting caught up in midfield.

24th minute: Better build from Liverpool here. Throw in deep in Chelsea territory. Reversing field.

Joe Cole takes Hyypia down. Welcomes him to the match.

25th minute: Liverpool very deliberate here. Get a nice cross... Cleared.

Drogba tears down the left side. Crosses to Ballack. He can't get on the end of it... Long blast from Ballack. Easy save for Reina.

Then Torres responds. Almost end-to-end here. Nice cross. Also cleared by Carvalho. Corner.

Into the box. Carragher lofted it over the bar. He also fouled Ballack.

28th minute: Wow almost a half hour into the match before Drogba complains to the ref. That's gotta be some kind of record.

Liverpool getting a llittle more possession now. Still, not threatening. Even their good corners... there's nobody in the box to find the other end.

Cashley Cole tries to find Mikel but gives it away. Liverpool tries to give it right back and we're playing more Route 1 footie.

I guess chicks dig the long ball.

31st minute: Nothing exciting. Droga complains about something.

Decent run through the middle by Chelsea results in a giveaway. That they get right back.

Kalou... DROGBA!

Kalou put in a nice shot that looked like it was cleared. Drogba ran on to the deflection late and BURIED it on the near post.

Nothing Reina could do. He was even at the near side, but that was a blast.

33rd minute: Doesn't change much as Liverpool still need a goal.

Liverpool trying to regain composure and just maintain possession.

Rafa does look a little nervous though. Uncharacteristic of him.

Gerrard just had it taken from his feet. In fact he and Torres have been pretty invisible. More pressure from Chelsea. Corner? No, deep throw in.

Drogba looks a little like Messi did yesterday. He is totally taking the game into his hands (feet). Too bad Messi failed.

38th minutes: Kalou offsides.

Ooof... JUST offside.

Liverpool look like they aer starting to push forward a little more. Gerrard down. Or slow to get up.

Late challenge from Drogba. Caught Gerrard's ankle. Should have been a card.

40th minute: Ball played back to Reina who kicks it out of bounds. Don't think Chelsea is going to get caught on that like Arsenal did.

Xabi Alonso yellow card. Brought down Kalou on a dead run.

Oooh... are Ballack and Drogba going to argue over the kick?

Ballack! Oh no... just off the stick behind the goal.

Shot was wide but not by much. Well taken but still 1-0.

44th minute: Sorry, phone rang. Nothing happened though.

Liverpool playing with a little more speed but they are sloppy in the midfield.

Paging Steven Gerrard. Dude... your team needs you.

Starting to look really misty. From one angle.... looking across the pitch it looks like it's raining. Looking down the pitch from midfield less so.

Mascherano runs through the midfield then gives it away. Par for the course... Torres had a chance then stupidly played it back and gave up possession.


Guess what? I'm engaged. Oh wait... they don't run PennyTalk commercials on ESPN do they?

Hard to deny that Chelsea have earned the lead. Liverpool hasn't really threatened and have had problems getting the ball out of the midfield. Chelsea haven't been spectacular, but they took the game to Liverpool early and created enough chances.

On the goal... it looked like Reina had parried it away. Drogba had to make a run from deep but the ball kind of rolled out there without anyone going to clear or collect.

Oh God... On the replay A) Kalou was offside on the shot that lead to the goal. And B) It was Riise who couldn't get in front of Drogba's shot to deflect. Ouch.

Torres hasn't done dick. Have I said that yet? He had one shot that Cech made a good save to come out and shut down.

Fuck this Nike commercial is awesome.

I hate commercials but that thing makes me want to lace it up and play for the Dutch national team.

I'm not Dutch either.

Also: What happened to Shaka Hislop in the studio halftime show?

Well, it's pretty obvious what Liverpool have to do. Specifically: score. Twice if they'd like to avoid extra time and possible PKs. Gonna need a spark from someplace or a slip up (literally) resulting from the wet pitch.

One thing to give thanks for in ESPN's coverage of the CL... No Julie Foudy. Wonder if Jesus could provide the same courtesy for the rest of humanity. Oh, and now we are being a mean-spirited blog.

Okay... second half about to tee up. At least it was not a dreadful first half that made me want to gouge my own eyes out. For that Chelsea and Liverpool are to be congratulated. It's a collective step forward.

Kick. Okay, now it is really raining. That could make it interesting. Let's see how Grant plays it.

Well Drogba is clearly looking to score again. He works through the midfield before surrendering possession. Essien plays it back to Cech.

Didn't see if either team made any chances at half.

Free kick to Liverpool. From well out.

Oooh... So close. Kuyt almost re-directs one to the back post.

Then Torres off the corner. Denied by Drogba.

Both dangerous chances with the ball sitting there for a bit long to be comfortable if you are a Chelsea fan. Liverpool putting pressure on. Again, the wet pitch...

50th minutes. Essie fouled but Chelsea had the advantage. Probably worked against them that the ref didn't let them play it. Free kick goes clear across the box. That was crap. Lampard. Figures.

52nd minute: Throw in for Liverpool in Chelsea's half the pitch. Ball is played back. And back again... then back to Reina. Wimpy.

53rd: Nice play from Chelsea gives Lampard a shot from the top of the box but it's right into Reina's hands.

Judging by the scores on the ticker, my fantasy baseball team is not having a good afternoon. Better than Liverpool's so far though.

55th minute: No hurry from Liverpool. Nice job by Riise to save the ball and feed it to Torres, but nothing comes from it.

Chelsea seemed to have eased off the gas a bit. They've got possession in the midfield, then a feed for Kalou goes long. Liverpool builds back through the midfield.

57th minute: The winning pitcher for the Twins today is named "Blackburn." Probably not relevant even if this is a soccer match.

This is seriously a deja vu to the first 10 minutes of the match. Really, not ready for summer reruns yet guys.

Pitch looks like it's gone from being slick to being waterlogged. Ball doesn't skip anymore. It really dies on anything over a touch.

60th minute: Good run from Masch... kicks it right to Cech. Nobody from Liverpool seemed to want to run with him so it was a bit of wasted effort.

Crouch and Babel are warming up. I'd go with Crouch. That might be because I want to fuck his girlfirend. And I have no idea what Babel's WAG looks like.

DO SOMETHING TORRES! Do something resembling anything.

Chelsea has started to settle back. They are clearly looking to defend the lead now.

63rd: Shot Cole. Deflected ever so slightly by Hyypia it looked like but still right into Reina's hands.


Benayound pokes it through to Torres who gets a quick finish past Cech to the lower right corner.

So it's 1-1 and now Grant might have to manage this. Advantage Liverpool.

That goal really came out of nothing. It will go on the scoresheet to Torres, but it was all Benayoun's work. He made that happen by taking it right at the central defense. Nice work from the Jew.

Can I say that, or will it piss off Costas?

67th minute: Chelsea robbed of a corner. Bad call.

So here's the problem for Chelsea, once they decided to sit back they lost what little rhythm they had. And now it's Liverpool playing with more confidence.

Again Benayoun back to Torres. Back to goal. He delays... delays... Oh that was dangerous but cleared.

Essien with a lon blast that skips. But Reina covers it.

Gerrard pushes one over the bar. Not ever close. Looks like Kalou is off and Malouda is coming on. Again, Grants lack of desire to play Anelka with Drogba boggles the mind.

How shitty of a year would this have been for Liverpool without Torres? They wouldn't be here and they would be fighting in the Prem just for the chance to get back here. Guy was a bargain at £30M (or was it 30M Euro?)

72nd minute: Drogba shot from long deflected... or maybe it was a pass. Either way, harmless.

Too much pace from Malouda... wasted run by Drogba.

Ballack has totally disappeared from the game.

75th minute: Throw in Chelsea. Given away. Then given back. Cashley Cole looking for a penalty as he falls down in the box. Or was that Malouda?

Possession and pressure here from Chelsea.

Wonderful run by Essien, but he kicks it into the side netting... Too bad as Drogba was waiting in the box. Seriously, he kind of fucked that up trying to be a hero himself.

Pennant on for Benayoun. Sorry if the updates are getting weird. My connection has been bitchy the last 5 minutes.

Oooh... dangerous back play. Torres almost collects it as Cech was coming out. Ball cleared to a corner, which is knocked out by Makalele.

Exact same thing happens. Don't thin Makalele was giving him 10 yards. And Ballack is limping.

Correction: Ballack is limping badly.

Hey, Aaron Harang held on to give me a Quality Start, even if he did take the loss. Nice.

81th minute: Hey, this has been a decent game and decently played given the conditions.

Oooh... Late charge by Kuyt taking out Cech right as he collected a cross from Pennant. Could have been worse, or rather looked worse than it was.

83rd minute: Chelsea builds it from the back. Essien plays it to Drogba... nothing.

Drogba not getting much help up top. Neither team wants to concede anything, but both are doing just enough to pressure the other teams. Sloppy play with Liverpool having just slightly the better of it.

Five minutes from time.

Some back and forth in the midfield. Corner to Chelsea. Poor play by Masch. He just kicked it straight out the end line.

Reina fouled.... Eh. Not sure about that call.. GK instead of a PK though.

Ballack whistled when Mascherano pretty much just fell. Weak call.

Pennant crosses. Handled. No. Chelsea can't clear. Almost bounces to Torres. Another weak header to clear. Chelsea having problems with a simple clearance... There it is.

89th minute: No indication of extra yet. Liverpool throw in.

Whistle for Chelsea. Kick from Cashley Cole... He's being whistled back almost to the midline to kick.

Service into about 9 red shirts.

2 minutes stoppage time.

Carvalho through the middle. To Cole... Offside Malouda.

One minute left... GK Reina. Pennant. Ball kicked by Cole off Pennant and out of play.

Last few seconds click off the clock and there's the whistle. Three hours of futbol and nothing has been decided.

Hey, this is fun stuff. Even if I don't have a positive rooting interest. Grant has Anelka. Benitez has Crouch. Be interesting to see who makes a move first.

Woot! Extra pay for extra time... Oh wait. By the way, has the blog world imploded at Deadspin today?

Shit... my connection totally dropped there. Sorry. And I lost a few dick jokes at the break. Okay, Anelka on, Joe Cole off. And we' just kicked the 1st OT.

92nd minute: Babel is warming again.

Liverpool... Ooooh. Riise almost redeeming himself.

Good possession by Liverpool gave JA the ball deep in Chelsea territory and he made a superb cross that nobody could find a head to put to. So close.

And now Hyypia with a clean header off a corner. He misses it wide.

Liverpool with 2 really good chances already. Drogba appealing for a foul. How novel.

Chelsea, they don't look like they want to win it.

And as I say that Drogba gets in.

Essien 2-1.

Did they wave it off?

Wow... WOW! Great play off a corner. Perfect strike by Essien and they wave it off as they said Drogba was interferring with Reina.


Shit, my phone rang again.

Not Ballack but FAT FRANK?

He scores. Just inside the right post.

Holy shit the last three minutes were nuts. A great defensive play by Carragher. A corner with a disallowed goal. A PK from a foul by Hyypia I beleive and Lampard converts the PK.

Torres comes off.

Ah, cruel irony. The PK giveth and the PK taketh away.

And Babel goes down as he tries to recreate the foul against Arsenal. No luck this time.

Oh, and a free header from Xabi Alonso off the corner, but he hits it RIGHT INTO CECH'S ARMS! It is pretty nuts right now. Didn't see who came on for Torres but it wasn't Crouch.

Gerrard. Crosses right to Cech. Nice build up but they come up empty.

I am an idiot. I say I didn't catch who came on for Torres and I'm talking abot Babel's dive. Duh. Babel on for Torres.

103rd minute: Still more than 15 to play and I imagine there have already been more than a dozen heart attacks in North London in extra time alone. It was happening pretty quick there for a while. Sorry if I missed detail on the action.

This is why the away goals rule is stupid. Extra time. If Liverpool score, do they deserve it when they played 33% more time on the opponent's pitch? Doesn't seem right to me.

105th minute: Throw in for Chelsea . Edge of tyhe box.

That's it Anelka to Drogba 3-1.

Chelsea are likely thru to Moscow.

Five red shirts in the box. One blue shirt. And as Anelka went around the outside the five couldn't mark the one. Poor, poor defending by Liverpool. Really shoddy.

So it's the sub in Anelka who salts it away (probably). But just a reminder of the UEFA Cup match with Munich. They scored two late in the second over time to win against Getafe I think it was. So not impossible.

Okay, they finally showed the replay of the Hyypia penalty. I have a hard time being objective about penalties and Liverpool these days. I've seen worse not called, but I have seen less called. It was a foul though. Ref had no choice.

Two corners. Hyypia goes down on the second trying to draw a penalty. Wasn't totally clean, but Hyypia certainly didn't fight gravity much.

There is some talk and chest bumping but the ref clears it up.

109th minute: Jesus... this almost makes up for all of the shite matches between these two over the last couple of years. Bummer for the Scousers, but certainly exciting stuff. And Liverpool aren't going down without a fight.

Goal kick Chelsea. TV shot of Torres. Man I feel bad for that guy. If there is anyone you want on the pitch if you are Liverpool, it's him. Benitez doens't need people second guessing him.

111th minute: Foul on Mascherano. Free kick? More Dorgba and Ballack arguing? Nope. Drogba takes it. And he hits the wall.. Results in a corner.

Short corner. And the two teams keep giving it back to one another in the corner. Cleared by Liverpool who are countering.

Pretty solid defending by Chelsea. Terry heads it out. Liverpool feeds it back into the box and it's punched out by Cech.

114th minute: Clock is as much the opponent as are the Blues.

Jesus, Rafa... at least get Crouch out there so you have someone tall if you get a corner. Chelsea keeping possession. God, they are going to fellate Fat Frank on the broadcast. Ugh...

116th minute: GK for Liverpool. They work the midfield. Cleared. Then get it back. Can't string together passes or any threats over the top.

Babel from halfway to Edinburgh... Holy Shit! 3-2. Not done yet. Just swerves at the last minute and deflects off Cech's hands.

Did I not mention Bayern Munich and Getafe? Wow.

Shevchenko on for Lampard. Larmpard has never walked so slowly in his life. 119th minute.

Whistle for what? Offsides?

Liverpool still trying. Gerrard. Is that a corner? No. GK. 1 minute stoppage. Looks bleak.

Shevy wastes a chance to waste time. That's it.

Chelsea v. United. And we can all safely pray for the meteor.

Good stuff today. Yet, I'm strangely detached as I don't really like a single Chelsea player. But Congrats. They were the better side today. But damn if Liverpool didn't make them earn every bit of it.

Thanks for playing along today folks. I'm totally fucked on things I need to get done today. But it was worth. Tough to beat Champions League Semi-Final football when teams are attacking and goals are going in in extra time.


Ian said...

So better or worse so far than that terrible nil-nil from a few months ago?

The Black Dog said...

I'm "watching" your liveblog, I didn't want you to feel lonely.

The Fuse Project

Signal to Noise said...

I know it's wrong and I know Petr Cech wears the headgear because of a concussion or other head injury, but I just keep thinking of Special Ed from Crank Yankers.

Also, if Chelsea wins, it's a "Here we go, meteor!" next week for me.

Lingering Bursitis said...

is it neurotic that I have 5 liveblogs open, including this one?

ΓΌ75 said...

Yes, it is.

The Black Dog said...

Didier, hit it like you mean it!

The NY Kid said...

In Riise's mind:


As for Cech, that injury was like 2 years ago - get over it, man!

The NY Kid said...

Fucking Drogba.

Signal to Noise said...

Damn it.

The Fan's Attic said...

I think it's Crouchaldinho time.

Ian said...

You want Crouch's sloppy seconds?

The Fan's Attic said...

if that means i am bedding abby clancy, so be it.

The Fan's Attic said...

game on motherfuckers!!!!!

The NY Kid said...

This Torres kid may be a decent player.

RE: Abby Clancy - yes please.

Ian said...

What's the away goals rule in the semis?

The Fan's Attic said...

you can win on away goals just the same as the other rounds. if it is tied like it is right now 2-2 even on away goals, we go to extra time and then possibly to pks.

The Fan's Attic said...

you know, i should just turn on sopcast for this match's final minutes. to hell with work. my team is playing for the CL final.

The Fan's Attic said...

well, there were 4 guys in an offside position.

Mike Georger said...


Mike Georger said...

so we can add riise and arbeloa to the names of zenden, gonzalez, bellamy on the list of 'people who have absolutely no business playing in a vital champions league match' right?

Mike Georger said...

ah soccer, where you can bet your ass there wont be a climactic finish because the leading team can drain three minutes through goal kicks and substitutions without any repercussions. and we wonder why it gets made fun of so much here.

if this isnt riise's last game benitez deserves to be fired out of a fucking cannon

strong like bull smart like tractor said...

Just back from an extra-long "lunch hour" at the bar. Helluva game. Finally, the Blues get over the hump.