Arsene Wenger cobbled together starting lineups with spit and duct tape and Denilson and somehow the team dragged its ass over the finish line in third or fourth.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Though overshadowed by Arsenal's show-stopping performance in Milan, let's quickly look to Fenerbahce and note a few things:
1. The Champions League is a fantastic competition. We already knew this, but it's results like these that really confirm its greatness. The Turks were massive underdogs in this tie and though they won the first leg, everyone knew it would take a heroic effort to overcome Sevilla in Spain. Things didn't get any easier when Sevilla scored TWICE inside the first nine minutes, leading the game 2-0 and 3-1 at various points. Done and dusted. But there is no quit in this side, and the Hulk came through for them again with a 79th minute goal to force extra time. Arsenal may have initially rued the decision to take their foot off the gas and let Sevilla win the group, but at this point should be glad they drew Milan and not the Istanbul side.
2. When it comes to penalties, never bet against the keeper who made costly errors during the match. If anything, put your money on that guy. Though nobody likes to admit it, shame and guilt might be the most powerful motivators there are when it comes to human emotion. And after having a pretty poor game, Volkan Demirel came up huge for Fener when the chips were down. You had to expect it.
3. People whine about the same teams showing up in the Champions League and call for change, but at this point, we have a Turkish side knocking out a legit La Liga side and the current Champions out in the cold. The leading Italian and Spanish squads are both on the brink of elimination today. You couldn't ask for more entertaining plot lines. Enjoy the matches.