Old Futbol Buffet–Two Late Goals

So I took a little break from blogging over the past two weeks, although I didn’t take a break from watching games and listening to podcasts. I caught an amazing game between FCB and Valencia; watched United struggle away to Stoke, where Crouch scored with his head (collector’s item); and struggled through Juventus’ 1-1 draw at Catania. Elia made his debut and looked far from the dynamic player that is in the orange of Holland.

I lost my podcast notes from the previous week, but basically if you are not subscribed to Guardian’s Football Weekly, Beyond the Pitch and the World Football Phone-In, you are missing out.

Xavier Rivoire was asked about the current French Revolution at Newcastle on the Off the Ball show on Monday 9/26. He says the original Revolution was in the mid-90’s, led by the fabulous David Ginola, which were great times.

The panel of the Manchester United Redcast was brought back to Earth after draws against Benfica and Stoke City. They wondered if the Red Devils were too dependent on Rooney. Maybe, maybe not, but they can’t maintain this pace without Wazza and Chicharito. During the show Robert Meakin told why Darren Fletcher is valuable and his summary was spot on.

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Looking at the slate of games for Saturday was a little underwhelming, especially when compared to Sunday’s matches—North London Derby, Atletico Madrid v Sevilla, Juventus v AC Milan and PSG against Lyon. My grand plan was to wake up, clean the house and go to a local establishment for a triple header before my Over 30 Final under the lights.

Well that didn’t happen. We saw some friends we hadn’t seen in a while. A couple of Magic Hats and Gin & Tonics later, we ended up spending the night. We spent a leisurely morning with them before heading home. Our slow start to the day took out Spurs v Arsenal and Atletico v Sevilla. I got my housework done and got my nap in, then headed out for the Serie A clash.

First off was to grab a quick salad and head to work to watch the game online. The Drive Thru line around McDonald’s was wrapped around the building, so I made a quick decision to go inside and watch the game. The internet connection was absolutely horrible and I saw very little. At halftime, I packed up and headed to work.

Juventus were much sharper than my previous viewings, with Vucinic going close several times in the first half. Milan didn’t do much in the opening period (that I could see), but started the second half well and asked a couple of questions. The game was much more balanced in the second period with Milan frustrated but content with a share of the points.

Vidal really deserved a goal and his laser just went wide with 15 minutes to go. Vucinic as well moments later, but the match was crawling towards a draw, with both teams very tired. Then magic happened. Vucinic and Marchisio played a one two that didn’t quite come off, but the clearance went of Marchisio’s foot and into the back of the net. 1-0 Juventus on 87 minutes and the stadium went wild. They closed out the match, with Marchisio grabbing a second, and gained three vital points over their rivals.

Riding the wave of adrenaline, I went to my match. I had been sick all week and knew my fitness would suffer, but I planned to give it a go and do what I could for the team. We were down a couple of key players but felt confident that we could win the game, which would give us a league and cup double.

We started horribly, conceding possession, defending shambolically and a lacking a cutting edge up top, yet the game remained scoreless until just before the break. Our fastest forward darted through their back line and went in on goal. His shot was saved but his forward partner gathered the loose ball, settled himself and buried it. One nothing to the Evil Empire at the interval.

In the second half our opponents took it us and finally scored early in the second half. We had a bad match up and their top scorer got in on goal. After that, the game went back and forth. We had a couple of chances on free kicks, but nothing came of it. The over time periods were pretty poor, with both teams being pretty tired and the quality of play wasn’t that great. I came out after the first overtime period with nothing left in the gas tank. We had plenty of subs, so I conceded my spot to someone who could actually run.

In the second overtime period, we had a point blank header saved on the goal line. The ensuing clearance was hoofed forward and our defender lost it in the lights. An opposing forward ran onto it, beat a recovering defender and slotted it home. Four minutes to go and we had nothing left. The seconds ticked away and so did our chance at more silverware.

We had a good season, finishing as League Champs with 13 wins and 1 draw, but it was the two cup losses that we focused on. All in all, we won 17 of our 20 matches, yet we found this campaign unsatisfying because we could have won more. Always next season, right?

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