|The two most celebrated players in the world couldn't make it to Munich|
"Cristiano had to fail someday" - Jose Mourinho
Bayern Munich and Real Madrid played an uncontrolled entertaining and wide open 120 minutes of football in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League semifinal tie, for the second ticket to the May 19th final game in Munich. It was indeed a champions league game.
Real Madrid had the perfect start. Mourinho’s men took a 2-0 lead early, but Bayern answered with an away goal that locked up the tie at 3-3. Unlike Lionel Messi before him, Ronaldo had stepped up in the semifinal second leg, filled the gap and scored when it really mattered. With Ronaldo’s display, Real had one foot in next month's final.
But, that one foot didn’t stay there for long. Bayern wanted theirs there also... Thirteen minutes after Ronaldo's second, Arjen Robben scored the only goal Bayern would need, a pinpoint penalty kick just far enough to his left. Casillas went the right way, but could only help the ball into the back of his net. Game on!
With the tie even, both teams changed their strategy and eventually found themselves in a penalty shootout. During the penaties, we saw DRAMA... It was a remarkable moment, with both goalkeepers coming up when their teams needed them most. David Alaba scored the opener for Bayern Munich, which was followed up by a terrific save by Manuel Neuer on Cristiano Ronaldo kick, low and to his right. Advantage Bayern!
The drama didn’t stop. Gomez stepped up and scored for the Bavarians, Kaka got to the spot and missed. Toni Kroos confidently stepped up and LOST. Xabi Alonso scored for Madrid and for me, that triggered the timer on the bomb. Phillip Lahm would have been the hero of the night for Bayern, but oh my God the pressure was too much for the Captain and with an infant kick, Casillas save his penalty and the pride of Los Blancos.
I was thinking Higuain would step up and take the crucial penalty that 'could' put Real Madrid back into contention. But you know Mourinho does the unusual and so he gave Sergio Ramos his blessings. Ramos wasn’t thinking right when he got to the spot. He thought the goal post and Neuer were miles away and with an outrageous kick, the Spaniard blasted to the sky the hopes of Champions League football final for Madrid. Here, I concluded it was over when I saw Bastian heading to the spot.
Bastian Schweinsteiger went the right way, Iker Casillas went the other, the ball flew into the net and destroyed the dreams of over 85,000 Madridistas at the Bernabeu. Painfully, it shattered the hopes of Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho who was vying for his third Champions League title with his third different team.
So, on May 19th, at the Allianz Arena in Munich, Bayern Munich will host Chelsea in a final that probably only about ten percent of football pundits and followers all over the world predicted. Here, there's no small team... No wonder its called the CHAMPIONS league. Period!