Manchester United have to thank both Ramires and Ancelotti for letting them off the hook, the former for receiving a second yellow and getting sent off, while the latter for keeping Drogba on the bench in the first half, as Chelsea created more opportunities then, but thankfully not scored in that half and in the end, being down to 10-men, Chelsea had to bow out of the Champions League in the second leg of the quarter-final at Old Trafford, courtesy of Chicharito and Park, the two scorers who sealed United’s passage to the semi-finals, with a 3-1 aggregate.
The match promised much, with declarations from both Benayoun and Lampard in pre-match interviews, whereby they were making it clear they were coming for a win on OT, while United for once did not respond to the comments, and kept their cool in trying to hold on to that 1-goal lead from the previous leg. As if to emphasize their intentions, Chelsea took control of the first half after United made a somewhat good start, but luckily for the Red Devils, the Blues were not finding the target, and 50M Torres, favored by Abramovich instead of Drogba, gave United little to worry about as the Blues are still waiting for him to score his first goal in the new shirt. Lampard came close for the Blues, while at the other end, Chicharito saw a goal being ruled out for offside. The match was still undecided until the 43rd minute, a one-two between Giggs and O’Shea, saw the 37 year old Welsh Wizard (and wizard of OT), take the ball into the box before delivering a beautiful cross on the ground across goal, and Chicharito this time made no mistake as he tapped in easily. 1-0 for the night, 2-0 on aggregate, it was nearly mission impossible for Chelsea at half-time.
However, the second half saw United back to their bad habits, leaving the ball for Chelsea, and Drogba, who came on for the ineffective Torres at half-time, was a man on a mission, as he threatened the United backline in an attempt to get the Blues back in the game. However, with 20 minutes left, and United still holding on, Chelsea saw themselves down to 10-men, as Ramires tackled from behind on Nani, and was booked for the second time in the match, resulting in a red. While it then looked to be easy for United, they got themselves in trouble with some lack of concentration at the back, and Drogba made them pay as he drilled his shot through Van Der Sar’s legs to level the match, and with away goals being precious at this stage, fear aroused around OT, as the goal came on the 77th minute, with plenty still to play for. But United responded immediately, as from the restart, United passed the ball down to the Chelsea box, and Giggs found Park with a beautiful chip, the latter making no mistake as he fired into the bottom corner to definitely put Chelsea out of the contest, with 2-1 for the night, and 3-1 on aggregate. Two passes from Giggs and two goals scored on the night, and add the one in the first leg where Rooney scored, that’s three assists already in two games, the Welsh Wizard still has his magic flowing in the blood, and is an example for the young players rising at United on how to play the game (although we have to concede sometimes he’s just not in a match due to fatigue).
However, had Chelsea been with their 11 men playing at the time of equalization, it could have ended in a different manner for the Blues, as United did not produce a fine football at all, contenting themselves with some counters instead and a Chelsea with Drogba from the start could have well ended the dreams of the OT outfit. Next crucial game is in the weekend, as Wembley will host a Manchester derby for the FA Cup semi-final, and Rooney is suspended for that one, while for City Tevez could be missing after his injury against Liverpool on Monday night, where the Citizens lost 3-0. Hopefully Chicharito and Berbatov will score in that one too and help the Red Devils march on to another possible trophy.