Apr 242008

1. They were mind-numbingly dull.

We all knew Liverpool-Chelsea wasn’t going to be a classic, but even that snorefest produced more chances and goals than the complete non-event that was Barcelona-United. There was Ronaldo’s early penalty miss, and then there was…er…nothing. Yawn. I thought these were supposed to be two of Europe’s premier attacking teams?

2. None of the teams even looked that impressive

Liverpool never looked like scoring against Chelsea unless they made a horrible mistake (which they did), Chelsea never looked like scoring against Liverpool unless they made a horrible mistake (which they did), Barcelona never looked like scoring against United unless they made a horrible mistake (which they didn’t), and United never looked…..you get the picture.

3. Benitez’s reaction to the ref

“I was very disappointed with the officials. And it’s not the first time, it’s really disappointing.”

Said without a touch of irony, despite Liverpool’s last four Champions League games featuring a ludicrous red card for Materazzi, another harsh red card in the second leg, a penalty on Hleb that should’ve been given, and a penalty for Babel that shouldn’t.

And he’s moaning about the standard of refereeing in their matches? He knows that very standard may be the only reason they’re still in it, right?

4. Didier Drogba

I’d forgotten how utterly infuriating Drogba could be when he has one of his play acting days. Diving, throwing himself around at every opportunity, feigning injury, sulking, the works. Didier, you’re 6 ft 4, built, and you’re actually a good player when you set your mind to it. Grow up.

5. Cristiano Ronaldo

Almost the same, although he at least doesn’t sulk and stay out of the game as a result. He sulks and then gets back on with it. But he still seems to think the world is against him every time he doesn’t get the latest soft free kick he’s after, appealing to the ref as he’s going down (he does have an uncanny ability to tumble while looking straight at the official). He should’ve had a second penalty though.

6. The ITV commentary team’s blatant bias

We all know how one sided they can be when an English club is playing against continental opposition, but their pro-Liverpool commentary on Tuesday night was painful to listen to at times. Every time Drogba went down easily, they adamantly cried ‘he dived’, every time Torres or Gerrard did the same, they reluctantly conceded ‘there perhaps wasn’t that much in that’. The excitement was there to hear when Liverpool scored, the disappointment even more so when Chelsea equalised. Standards, people.

7. Deco and his imaginary card waving

Come on folks, I thought we’d cut this behaviour out long ago, as we don’t seem to see it so much these days. But it is still a mandatory yellow card, so why the ref only denied Deco’s requests rather than booking the little weasel, I’ll never know.

In fact, I don’t see any reason this shouldn’t become a red card offence, as it clear gross unsportsmanship. It isn’t like a dive, where the referee can get it wrong, there is simply no mistaking the act of waving the imaginary card, so no risk in increasing the punishment. Why not make it a sending off offence? Maybe they’d stop doing it.

8. Chelsea’s luck

They played appallingly for 94 minutes, and then with seconds left Riise decided to head a ball a few inches from the ground instead of hoofing it away with his foot, gifting them an away goal they never deserved. The thought of them winning the Champions League makes me want to be sick.

9. Samuel Eto’o

Was there a more disinterested player on the pitch last night? Strange to think so many want him to go to Arsenal, his laziness is surely not helping his popularity over in Barca.

10. Ferguson’s gum chewing

The Spanish coverage like their little montages, showing images of key players in turn, their emotions, and then cutting to the touchline to do the same with the managers. All very dramatic, until you see Ferguson and his masticated Wrigley’s, his red face chomping furiously on what must be at least two whole packets at once. Is there a more disgusting sight in football, now that Sam Allardyce is out of a job?

  One Response to “Groan’s 10: Ten irritating things about the Champions League semis”

  1. […] was in last week’s list, and he’s back for more. Benitez mentioned before the game that Drogba dives, which he does. […]

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