Friday, 11 April 2008

Rangers Twelfth Man


After a fairly boring two legs, Rangers went through to the semi-finals of the EUFA Cup last night by beating Sporting Lisbon 2-0 in Portugal (both goals being in the last half hour of the three hours).

The travelling Rangers fans were on song but my vote for Ranger's twelfth man is Assistant Manager Ally McCoist. The ebullient former Scotland player and TV personality makes a perfect foil to the manager, the dour but effective Walter Smith.

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Liverpool's 12th Man


I apologise to all on the Kop on Tuesday night - I meant to point out in my blog posting that Liverpool always play with twelve 'men' on European nights at Anfield. There is no doubt that the twelfth man is worth an extra goal to Liverpool. Opposition players must dread coming out of the tunnel under the notice "This is Anfield".

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Liverpool 4 Arsenal 2 (5-3 on aggregate)


People with heart problems should not get involved with supporting Liverpool FC. This was their third (and most important) meeting with Arsenal in a week. They drew 1-1 in the first leg of this European Champions League Quarter Final last week at The Emirates. They drew 1-1 at the Emirates in the Premiership on Sunday. And at half-time it was 1-1 in this match at Anfield last night.

Sammy Hyppia celebrates
Arsenal had the best of the first half with some excellent play leading to a one goal lead which they held for 17 minutes until Liverpool’s 34 year old Sammy Hyppia scored a brilliant header and Liverpool took control for a while. For those not au fait with the rules, away goals count double. So each had one home goal and one away goal – that would lead to extra time and a penalty shoot-out. However, if Liverpool scored they would win by 3-2 on aggregate. If Arsenal scored they would win by 3-2 on aggregate. However, if the score were 3-3 Arsenal would win on the away-goals rule... So any goal meant there would be no extra time / penalties.

Torres scores
The teams were evenly balanced in the second half until Liverpool scored with another excellent goal by Fernando Torres. Just fifteen minutes separated Liverpool from the semi-finals. Then Arsenal scored and at 3-3 they would go through on the away-goals rule and it seemed all over.

Gerrard from the penalty spot
But Liverpool never lie down and within a minute they had earned a penalty which captain Gerrard put away with tremendous calm and skill.

The Arsenal fans faced dropped – they could not believe they had gone from winners to losers in a minute. The Kop were desperate for the final whistle. After all, another Arsenal goal would see the Gunners through and anything seemed possible in this match.

Despite being pulled Babel scores Liverpool's fourth of the night
Then, in injury time, to stop the Liverpool supporters from having any more heart attacks Ryan Babel scored again and the Gunners were out.

No one can ever say that Liverpool don’t give value for money in important matches.