We are the champions! :)

We are the champions… the EUROPEAN champions. Man Utd has won the Champions League 2008. We have reached the ‘promised land’ of European soccer by defeating premiership ‘rivals’ Chelsea in an enticing thriller of an encounter in Moscow last night.

It’s been an amazing season for Manchester United football club (MUFC). They have won the English Premier League (EPL) for the second successive time, which created a record 10 premiership wins for MUFC under the able guidance of Sir Alex Fergusson as manager.

Last night’s victory was special in its own way:

  • 50 years ago, in 1958, a plane carrying Manchester United players crashed on the run way in Munich. 8 players died during the accident which shocked the entire world. It took them years to recover from the loss.
  • Sir Matt Busby, one of the survivors himself rebuilt a team around the other crash survivors. His team was famously called the ‘Busby babes’. It was 40 years ago in 1968, that they won their first European Cup.
  • Ryan Giggs surpassed Bobby Charlton’s record of maximum number of appearances for Man-U when he substituted Paul Scholes last night.
  • It was an all English clubs final for the first time in the history of Champions League.
  • In all previous Champions League finals where clubs from the same country played, the club which was lower on the table in the domestic competition won the cup. Last night it was destined to be different … Man-U won the cup despite being the champions at home.
  • Man-U had never won a major tie on the basis of penalties under Ferguson before.
  • Paul Scholes, one of Ferguson’s all time favorites, could not play during the famous Champions League final victory against Bayern Munich at Cam Nou in 1999 due to suspension. In this edition, he not only played but also had a crucial role in winning the cup.
  • Cristiano Ronaldo dismissed his critics by scoring in one of the biggest matches of his life.

Last night, Man-U dominated the first half. Kudos to Chelsea’s Cech who made two crucial saves. It was a characteristic Chelsea equalizer just before half time that brought them back into the game. Second half went Chelsea’s way as they created more chances and caused a lot of scare for Man-U. Extra time, stoppage time could not bring anything substantial and finally it was on the goal keepers to steal the victory for their sides.

Penalty shoot outs are often very unpredictable. After Ronaldo missed the 3rd penalty and Chelsea scored the subsequent one, they were back on top. I some how had a feeling inside, “No! No! We just cannot afford to lose… It cannot happen… It was gonna be our day” John Terry missed the last penalty after slipping on the pitch… Luck was there on our side.

When Van der Sar saved the shot from Anelka, that was the bestest thing to have happened to me… I was so emotional by then that I wanted to jump with joy. I don’t know why I have become so passionate about a game like soccer which was almost unknown to me only two years back. Manchester United was something that I had heard of but I never thought someday I would become a crazy fan of this mighty club. All the time while I was fighting with my life’s own problems, I started following this club… It did really help me a lot in diverting my attention from shitty things during my free time. Thanks Man-U!!! Thanks a ton… for all the happiness.

Some Links for the game here:

1. Penalty Shoot outs: Link

2. Award ceremony: Link

3. Celebration: Link