Thursday, February 22, 2007

European Cup Greatness, Mr Hicks

I may have forgotten to mention the biggest sports story in my world on the morning blog, so I make up for it here. Here is a brief rundown:

Tom Hicks buys my favorite Soccer team, Liverpool FC.

Team has a week to prepare to play the best team in the world, Barcelona FC.

During this week, team has vacation/training in Portugal.

In Portugal, team comes apart at the seams, with striker Craig Bellamy attacking midfielder John Arne Riise with a golf club after a drunken karaoke incident.

Chaos ensues.

Game On, at a place only 1 English team has ever won (Liverpool 21 years ago)
Barcelona threatens to blow Liverpool out.

Bellamy scores.

Riise scores.

Liverpool wins first leg of Champions League Round of 16, 2-1.

Rematch in Liverpool, March 6.

Liverpool 2, Barcelona 1

John Arne Riise spoke of "destiny" last night as he struggled to come to terms with the reality that he and Craig Bellamy, reluctant golfing partners turned slayers of Barcelona, had scored the goals to condemn the reigning European champions to their first continental defeat in this arena in 14 games.

This staggering tie had been played against the disconcerting backdrop of events on the Algarve last week, when Liverpool's training camp had degenerated into a drunken frenzy with Bellamy reportedly threatening Riise with a nine-iron. But after the Welshman celebrated his equaliser here with a lusty golf swing as he tore towards the corner flag, all that was left was for Bellamy to tee up Riise wonderfully for the second-half winner to complete the visitors' astonishing comeback.

"It was destiny for both of us to score, I think," conceded Riise in the aftermath, the memory of his fierce right-footed finish seared on the memory. "Both Bellamy and myself have had a difficult run-up [to the game] but we've put it behind us when it mattered. The team is happy. We're going to enjoy this. We put the incident behind us very early and we worked hard for the team and we'll move forward.

"His celebration didn't bother me. Look, he's had a difficult time as well and I could see it meant a lot to him, so I'm happy for him that he scored and the whole team is as well. As for my goal, I don't think I've ever scored with my right foot. I just played on instinct - I could have taken a touch with my left but when I got the ball from Bellamy I just thought 'Smash it'."


Phil K. said...

As the resident Arsenal fan, I was not pleased with the scores from u.e.f.a for the week. Mostly, because of a uninspired performance by the Gunners against a mediocre PSV Eindhoven squad. I think the game film is out there for opposing teams on Arsenal: sit back and defend the hell out of your goal. Of course, if they find a seam, they'll exploit with an ugly-stick.

As for Liverpool, good job. However, I'll temper that by saying that former World Footballer of the Year, Samuel Eto'o was riding the pine the whole game. I suppose there's no excuse for the Catalonians, though; not with that talent-base. What's even more unbelievable is that Barca's best player may be Iniesta and not Ronaldinho.

BACM said...

Best part of this post:

In Portugal, team comes apart at the seams, with striker Craig Bellamy attacking midfielder John Arne Riise with a golf club after a drunken karaoke incident.

The only thing that would make it more interesting is if Pac Man Jones was involved and it happened at a strip club.

Yeah sports.

Ryan said...

Craig Bellamy is a class-less thug and is therefore a perfect fit for Liverpool. Great performance though. The golf swing goal celebration was priceless.

Glory, Glory Man United.