Two red cards, a lucky goal and that’s about it. Last night’s european “clash” between Bayern Munich and Olympique Lyon was a poor one, to say the least. After seeing Inter’s win against Barcelona a night before, I was hoping for another good game, but I guess that the Champions League logo flashing all over the place isn’t always a guarantee that quality football is going to take place. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t mongolian quality, no offense to mongolian football, but it was a level or two lower than the first semi-final.
I was expecting things to go a little bit different, silly me. Tuesday’s game, the Mourinho one, was supposed to be the boring one (at least that’s what I was expecting), Inter would defend to the death (actually they did, not important!) bla bla bla goalless draw. Instead we had a cracker of a match, Inter coming from behind and winning 3-1. Mourinho, in my opinion, is a true mastermind, kept his cool and came out the winner, it doesn’t mean that they’re qualified, but the score will surely help.
Quality possession did the trick for Inter, yes Barcelona dominated the game in terms of who passed more and who kept the ball more, but it didn’t count. The italians were great at recovering the ball and their counter attacks were very efficient. I was very impressed by Goran Pandev, the Macedonian striker, who played more as an attacking midfielder, even though he only played about an hour he really gave it his best, he played with dedication, teamwork and almost scored a goal. Diego Milito was clearly the man of the match, scoring a goal and getting two assists, an amazing striker, he’s 30 years old and this is his first year at a major club, I wonder how did he pass unnoticed all these years, what a shame!
But let’s get back to last night’s game. With Bayern scoring a total of five goals in the games with Manchester United and four against Fiorentina and with players like Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery and Ivica Olic on the german side and Lisandro Lopez and Miralem Pjanic on the french side, I was expecting a very open game. I argued in a previous post that it was going to be a very close encounter, it was, but both teams displayed games unworthy for The Final in Madrid, unworthy even for a Champions League Semi-Final!
In truth Bayern dominated, Lyon came to Munich with the sole purpose not to concede, they failed. Claude Puel’s lack of courage lost Lyon the match and here’s why: Ribery is justly sent of in the 37th minute, after he brutally fouls Lisandro Lopez, so the french now have an extra player, and what do they do? they defend, with an away goal being crucial, they choose to be cautious. Now with only ten players, naturally Van Gaal takes some precautions and substitutes Ivica Olic, a striker, and brings in a defensive midfielder, Anatoliy Tymoshchuk, and with no reaction from Puel, Bayern surprisingly continue to dominate.
With one team defending, Lyon and with one team unable to attack efficiently, Bayern, the game is slowed down, until the 54th minute, when Jeremy Toulalan, one of Lyon’s central defenders (not his usual playing position), gets eliminated, bad night for Puel, bad night for Toulalan, bad night for football, but perfect opportunity for Van Gaal, who brings in Mario Gomez, a striker, again clearly showing his intentions. With the game balance restored, Bayern push even harder and get the winning goal, by who else but Arjen Robben, with a deflected lucky long shot.
Both games, even though of different levels of play, showed us that skilled, experienced and talented managers can make the difference in a game. Sadly, in my opinion The Final, no matter who will play in it, will be a one-sided affair with Inter or Barcelona winning the trophy.