Hail The European Champions!!!

My goodness!!! What a match!!! End to end, heartstopping, edge-of-the-seat stuff and one that had the heart pumping all the way down to that final penalty save by Edwin Van Der Sar on Nicolas Anelka‘s spot kick. Yes, I was not that confident coming into the game especially with the team playing so defensively of late and fielding five midfielders over the past month. But when the team sheet was announced, I grew quietly confident that the night could indeed be something special for Manchester United, even if the only grouse I had was not seeing Park Ji-Sung being afforded even a place on the substitutes’ bench.

Manchester United being Manchester United certainly know how to put their fans in anxiety as after a brilliant first 40 minutes where they held the bulk of the possession, suddenly became timid and cagey when Chelsea equalised just before the stroke of half-time. Chelsea attacked relentlessly but United held firm and when that dumb Ivory Coast captain got himself sent off in the last five minutes of the second period of extra time, the momentum swung back again in United‘s favour. But it wasn’t plain sailing as God had other ideas.

Cristiano Ronaldo, who had a brilliant first half making Michael Essien look like an idiot and capping it with his 42nd goal of a remarkable season, contrived to miss his penalty kick during the mandatory shootout. It was Chelsea‘s title to be lost and they duly did when their brave captain John Terry missed the very last spot kick which could have won it for them. United, buoyed by that miss, scored subsequently through Anderson and Giggs, the current appearance record holder in Manchester United‘s history (759), while Chelsea replied through Salomon Kalou before Anelka missed his opportunity to level the score and in turn destroyed his team’s pursuit of the title.

It has been a memorable season, capped by this Holy Grail that has eluded United time and time again. This team is still young and could possibly improve and go on to achieve even more glory. Ok some of you sour grapes out there will say we were lucky to win via shootout, but the same could also be said when Liverpool last won it in 2005. But let us not forget the resolve shown by Chelsea who have shown that they had the stomach to chase and challenge United all the way right down to the final whistle. Yes, they might have some unlikeable characters in the team, but I believe rival fans too hate some of our players. This win and the Premiership title which we won last week are only as good as till the start of next season. Let’s enjoy the win for now and not go overboard as we all know pride always comes before a spectacular fall.