Thursday, April 24, 2008
Manchester United Survives Ronaldo Miss
Cristiano Ronaldo's missed penalty kick in yesterday's Champions League semifinal first leg at Barcelona has apparently driven Sir Alex Ferguson mad. The greatest manager in football history was actually quoted: "... maybe it came too early for us." Good one. Almost as good as those folks who wanted the New England Patriots to lose a game before the playoffs began last NFL season in order to relieve some of the pressure that accompanies the chase for an undefeated season.
Sir Alex's quote is spin, pure and simple. Ronaldo blew it, and blew it badly. He had Barca keeper Victor Valdes diving in the wrong direction, aimed for the top corner as any stellar penalty taker should, and pushed it wide of the goal. Manchester United is fortunate to have the return leg at Old Trafford, because this gaffe can be quickly overturned and forgotten.
Ultimately, Barcelona has to be supremely disappointed with the outcome yesterday. It dominated the run of play for the most part, got the most fortunate of breaks with Ronaldo miss, and still was unable to get a favorable result. Barca can score at Old Trafford, but will it keep Man U. off the board? Unlikely.