Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Review: Champions League- Round of 16

Consider the draws: AC Milan Vs Arsenal & Real Madrid Vs AS Roma fighting for place in the Quarter-Finals of UEFA Champions League. At any point of time in last century, these draws will produce memorable contests.

In both the matches underdogs went and won in Lions Den in return leg matches. History was made in one match when Arsenal became the first English team to register a win at Mythical San Siro (AC Milan's stadium). In another hisory repeated when Real Madrid failed to go to quarter finals for 4th consecutive year.

Spaniard Cech Fegregas fought inch for inch with Gattuso, Pirlo and Kaka and came out winner. Arsenal were patient and determined not to loose ground initially in first half. Once they had done that, they grew in confidence. Fabregas's clearance of Maldini's header at the goal line was a moment bringing together two giants of European Football. One hanging up the boots and another anouncing proudly that he is ready to take on champions. Later in dying stages of the game, Fabregas went past Gattuso and fired a shot out of nothing to score the vital away goal.
This man has got the potential to be one of the game's greats. This season he has taken first step by beating Milan.

Elsewhere Real lost to Roma. Roma have a very competitive and hard working team lead by classy Italian Francisco Totti. Their manager's astute substitutions to bring fresh legs in match had huge impact in this victory. Once again, we see why its important to have good bench strength.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Historic Win for India

Today India beat Australia in second consecutive final (match for that matter) and took the trophy in final version of CB series. Sachin scored 117 Not Out chasing in first encounter and played valuable 91 in setting up the target in second match.

In second final Pravin Kumar took 4 wickets, all at crucial points. Later Irfan Pathan held his nerve (even when he was beaten badly earlier)to bowl last over. Its one thing to bowl dot balls , altogether different thing to pick up 2 wickets to wrap up the match. Cheers for Piyush Chawla for holding on 2 catches in such pressure cooker atmosphere.

It was a monumental win by few young men, lead by cool, smart and intelligent captain who seems to have taken captaincy like fish taking to water.