Watching the Europa league is a weird experience. Be it for the Anfield faithfuls or those thousands of miles apart watching it on their telly. To start with I have never watched live footy on a thursday night. Or technically friday morning in which case uttering the phrase “Thank god it’s Friday” makes it even weirder. Last time this year, to be precise, we were at the place where Lyon are now, ripping Real Madrid apart making a clown of them. The 5th referee was another weird distraction and you simply can’t wait but wonder when he’ll do a Beach ball. And what is to be utterly weird is the fact that we are playing a team whose name is not only unheard of but also practically un-spellable until atleast three attempts even by the standards of those Indian-born spell bee champs. C’est la vie Ladies & Gents , welcome to the Europa League.
By the way, did you know Unirea is a closet Chelshit team in disguise.
As mystifying as it sounds, certain raw secrets were unearthed about Unirea.
1. Their footballing logo bears a close resemblance to Chelsea FC’s except for the part where the lion is replaced by a goat head.
2. The club sports the same blue jerseys as CFC at their home games.
3. The clubs trophy room show cases as many trophies as there are in the Bridge, which is by the way same as the number of Us in their name.
4. Owner of the club is some ex-Chelsea player, who goes by the motto “When you’re in Romania, do as Roman Abrahmovich do”.
5. All these put together gives them their nickname which is quite simply Chelsea.
None of these were made up. Somehow we don’t miss playing Chelsea in the knockout stages.
Not that they were as good as Chelsea or even close. But in the scale of boredom and the lack of amusement ON THE PITCH, they certainly etched their mark. The other end of the scale is of course Arsenal, which even though their fans considered to be a boring affair, provided plenty of comic relief and additional footages for the Zee Sports’ best “goal-unkeepers” show. Again they have got plenty of goal keepers in Senderos, Fabregas and if possible ex-legend Henry to put them off their misery. But who cares about goal-keepers these days when you’ve got the toughest coup in “Barclay’s Fan of India” contest. Yesterday’s series of boring events started in a not so boring fashion with Gerrard laying in a shot to the near post prompting the keeper to make a good save. That was 40 seconds into the match and since then it proved to be a dull fest. In fact it was so dull that even non-cricket lovers switched their channels to watch the ball by ball replay of Hasim Amla deliciously stroking the ball at ease.
Liverpool played a decent game in both halves, which by their routine style of play goes included scuppering many chances. At one point the players sort of felt this wasn’t working and came up with a cunning plan. To race down the wing and aim for the defenders legs, hoping for a deflection. For non-purists this is a famed master trick ,which although not as devious in execution a la Paul Scholes’ Brahmashtra, has found to produce favourable results. Riera, Gerrard, Mascherano and even Carragher tried their hands(or technically their legs, no bother) at this Houdini act. And after innumerable miserably-failed attempts it was decided magic tricks are better left to them sissies past the M62. For the most part of the game Skrtel and Agger almost looked like making it up for their missed training sessions by playing pass practice amongst themselves. For the least part of the game, however, David Ngog headed the ball into the goal.
Eggnog knows how to head a ball, alright. And even though he did put one high over the bar, he made amends when it mattered the most. Babel did good work in crossing the ball to Pacheco, who in turn had a good perception of where Ngog was. Ngog then just latched on to the ball sweetly. One has to admire the romantic-ness of the moment as the ball kissed his head before it delightfully unleashed itself into the goal. Unirea Urziceni parked the bus and frustrated Liverpool throughout. Their plan was to hit us back on counter attack, but unfortunately this wolf in sheeps clothing business was as futile as Rafa’s last week.
I’ll take the win and clean sheet as positives from the game. There is a need to address the lethargy down the wings, with Riera and Maxi being sheepish at their best in the last two games. Babel’s late show was promising, and hopefully he gets more frequent starts from now on. As is always said of him, the lad has got technique. It was nice to see Pacheco getting the vital assist. But more importantly first team experience. Yes, that is how wunderkids evolve and here’s hoping we have got one.