Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Tuesday night Champions League

I caught the last few minutes of Real Madrid’s match at Zenit St Petersburg, as Zenit were chucking the kitchen sink at Real in a search for an equaliser. Megabucks Danny missed a chance right at the end as a Real Madrid defender got his arse in the way. I often wonder how UEFA feel about having Russian clubs in the Champions League, as the temperature and time difference means matches have to be played in what is the end of the afternoon in the rest of Europe. Looked pretty cold too judging by the winter warm clothes on some of the spectators (apart from a few hardy topless souls). The evil part of me wants Luch Energiya of Vladivostock to one day make the Champions League, which is on the far East of the country!

Then watched Manchester United’s fairly low key match in Aalborg. United eased to a win with goals from Rooney and two from Berbatov (who could have had a hat-trick, but missed a sitter), without really seeming to extend themselves. It could have been a costly win though, as Scholes will be out for two months with knee ligament damage, and Rooney and Rafael also getting injuries. Rafael had another impressive match, and while learning the ropes defensively, looks very promising going forward, and must have Wes Brown and Gary Neville looking over their shoulder. The fluidity of the weekend performance against Bolton wasn’t there, as passing was sloppy in the final third, but a 3-0 win away from home in the Champions League isn’t to be sniffed at. Assuming Manchester United beat Aalborg at Old Trafford, they realistically need to pick up 3 points from their two matches with Celtic and trip to Villareal. Shouldn’t be too difficult, and shows how simple it is becoming for the bigger European clubs to qualify for the later rounds of the competition, almost without breaking sweat, whilst making plenty of money in the process.

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