Goals from Javier Hernandez and Ji-Sung Park put an end to Chelsea’s Champions League hopes as Manchester United kept their treble hopes alive. Blues’ manager, Carlo Ancelotti’s future with the club looks to be in serious jeopardy since Chelsea will more than likely be trophy-less this season. Once again it was European failure for Roman Abramovich’s club. Chelsea controlled the game for the first thirty minutes, but was unable to score. Anelka shaved the woodwork with a volley, which was set up by Torres. Then later, Lampard was unable to convert on an open shot, right in the penalty box. The United defense was a busy workhorse in the first-half. Chelsea, like the first leg, couldn’t capitalize on their opportunities. And again, United showed Chelsea how to get the job done, as the Red Devils snuck in a goal right before the half. Beautiful combination play from John O’shea and Ryan Giggs caught Anelka sleeping down the left sideline, as Giggs snuck right behind the Frenchman. Giggs then delivered an easy finish to Hernandez back-post. It was a huge blow for the Blues. The second half was the same story for Chelsea. They continued to get frustrated by the United defense, eventually losing their cool. Ramires made an unnecessary challenge resulting in his second yellow, making it even harder for the Blues to produce a comeback. Chelsea did show a glimpse of hope as they were able to equalize in the 70th min. Drogba was able to sneak in behind the United backline and calmly tucked the ball into the net. Unfortunately for Chelsea, their chances of a comeback were thrashed thirty seconds later as the Blues were caught sleeping at the kickoff. Off the quick-attack, Giggs found Park chilling in the penalty-box, and the Korean put the dagger into Chelsea. After Park’s goal, Chelsea pretty much admitted defeat as they were unable to maneuver a comeback.
United was clearly the better side. The Red Devils showed excellent poise and mental toughness throughout both legs. Ryan Giggs is clearly my man of the match as the 37-year old Welshman had a part in every United goal. Giggs delivered the vital pass on all goals against Chelsea. He has been playing world class football all season long and continues to be a difference maker. As for Chelsea, the entire squad looked in disarray. The formation change since the arrival of Torres has really caused this team the struggle. They did not look comfortable in their offensive sets. I really question Ancelotti’s decision of starting Torres in such an important match. Torres is yet to secure his first goal as a Blue and he has already played 11 matches! I almost feel sorry for the dude. Torres was replaced by Drogba at half, and what do you know, Drobga scored a goal. Ancelotti needs to find an identity for his squad asap, or he will soon be out of a job. In my opinion, he has already left the club. There have been rumors of him going back home to Roma next season, and I somewhat believe it. As for United, they have hit their stride as they cruise into the semis.
Manchester United 2-1 Chelsea (agg: 3-1)
Player of the Match: Ryan Giggs
Photo courtesy of ESPNsoccernet.