Mar 11, 2013

On the Chelsea Comeback

I have seen comebacks before. It's not always that your team is down against the best team in the world by two goals, and also down to ten men- striking back with two goals, not to mention the resilience to kick the team playing the wonderful football out of the most important competition in Europe. It is even rarer to go out, defend miserably, yet edge most of the match without conceding- until the 82nd minute, only to get the equalizer in the most dramatic fashion just two minutes from time, and eventually winning on penalties in arguably the most important match in the history of the club.

This was, in no way, comparable to the aforementioned victories. Nonetheless, it was special. Down by two goals in just over ten minutes, I hardly saw light for the dysfunctional Chelsea squad, who were lucky enough United hadn't already put four past them. Little did I know that an hour later, my thoughts about someone would have changed so drastically.

I am no fan of Benitez and my previous posts on him say it. However, I must give the credit where it's due. Chelsea started horribly, with someone as solid as Cech committing an error which lead to the first goal. Chelsea were lucky to have conceded just one more in the first half. Down by two goals at half time, Benitez was visibly frustrated, but it seems he had plans... On the contrary, I was wondering if Abramovich would pull the trigger tonight.

Fernando Torres could be seen warming up as soon as the second half got under way. Just six minutes into the second half, Benitez made two substitutions- Mikel on for Super Frankie Lampard, and Hazard on for the AfCon hero but now misfiring Moses. Such was my frustration at this point that I ended up tweeting this.

However, the frustration turned to excitement, as Chelsea immediately started dominating the match, waves after waves of attacks. It eventually paid off with Hazard curling the ball into the bottom corner of the far post. Soon after, Ramires slotted home, beating two defenders, and de Gea's fingers not enough to keep it out. Chelsea continued the pressure, with Mata coming the closest to scoring, but de Gea's boot denying him the winner in the final moments of the match. The shadows of Tuesday night came back to haunt the United supporters, and it was great to see. There are very few moments like this, especially with Howard Wevv officiating the match.

I would still want Benitez to leave as early as possible. I still don't accept him as a successor to club legend Robbie di Matteo. However, this brought back memories of the Liverpool comeback against Milan in the champions league final, which seems like a faint memory now. Such a comeback definitely comes as a huge moral boost for a team that has been struggling lately, losing to even Romanian teams now. And Rafa Benitez deserves a huge credit for the great comeback against a team, which is arguably outplaying the rest of the Premier League by a considerable margin at the moment.

The roar of Stamford the Lion could certainly be heard as far as Manchester tonight. Rafa or no Rafa, I certainly hope this continues.

P.S. The following gif shows what a scumbag Rio Ferdinand is. And it's not really surprising Howard Webb (or his assistants or the linesmen) had no idea what went on there. I am really proud of Torres for not making it an issue.

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