And here it goes. Manchester United simply brushing aside the title dreaming side, Chelsea with a 3-0 win at Old Trafford. 11-May: this was the day many football aspirants were waiting for when Chelsea comes over to Manchester for their reverse fixture in 2008-09 EPL. Our EPL group members all were waiting for this day for months. The reverse fixture was a 1-1 draw at Stanford. Then fact that ManU was just 4 points behind their rivals in the table, with 2 games in hand, increased the pressure and anxiety for both teams and their fellow fans.
We, the community were planning for a get together for sometime, and we couldn’t find any other day more suitable for this get together other than these. Sajan had just returned from UK, who unfortunately is a Chelsea fan. But all other Chelsea fans were out of Bangalore and couldn’t make it. Finally we decided to go to Sports Bar Express at Cosmos Mall, near to my office at Brookefields. We made the count and it came to 6 including Arshu, Sujeesh, his brother, Sajan, Prem and me. Hours before play itself I got ready with my new ManU t-shirt which Sajan brought for me from UK.We reached there on time and were very nervous as we were all waiting for the match to begin.
I liked the ambiance of the Sports Bar very much. Big screens for showing matches, then facilities for net practice, basket ball, snooker and many thing that too at the roof top of the Mall. It was awesome. Seeing a match at Old Trafford, still being a dream, we were all set to make the whole ambiance feel like OT. At the moment when they changed the big screen to ESPN, we all rose into our foot and were making so much noise and whistling, that the waiters were literally running towards to make us calm. Prem started whistling, when the display showed the line up of ManU. Manager came and asked to calm down saying “Please don’t whistle, more than that this is not India’s match, na?” Those guys were wondering how can these guys can cheer for some teams, that too clubs, playing at England. But we were on full and was determined to have no compromise in cheering up.
We did had some more chelsea fans and manchester fans sitting at the nearby tables and believe me, seeing football matches in big screen with commentry flying to us from speakers around is really an awesome feeling. We were enjoying the full ambience for the full and the match started. Chelsea – ManU match is always like India – Pakistan cricket match. However form out each team are, they will play for the full against each other. And the depression of last two title less seasons had made Chelsea really extra motivated. ManU once fell to even 15th position on the start of this league, but SAF’s read devils are famous for their return to the league’s top position on the second half of the league. Arshu was happy to see that the first lineup of ManU SAF selected was somewhat similar to the line up he predicted. With Park and Evra in, we all were feeling great. Sajan, being the lone supporter of Chelsea among us, sat silent in a corner.
Match started and both teams were attacking from both these sides. It looks like both teams were playing at same strategy of attacking football. Both of them committing fouls each other and were literally competing to get yellow cards. Chelsea stands ahead of ManU in this competition of getting cards, but ManU was the team which was really attacking. Evra, held the key of the game and was playing super in the left wing. With his left leg pass, he made that part of ground always active, which was almost dead for past two games, when O’shea was playing there. The first moment of anxiety came when Berba missed out one super chance to goal, which we thought would have been vital. We thought, missing that chance would cost us. But what happened was entirely different. Ronaldo shook the net from a cross of giggs with a cracking header, which referee declared as foul kick. Again a chance was lost and we were feeling really tensed. But it was negated the next minute. It was the first minute of injury time of first half, and we saw Vidic heading one superb corner of Giggs into the net and opening the scoring for us. We all rose into screams, which shook the entire room, and we were dancing like anything. Waiters and others were wondering how crazy we were and yes, anybody will scream like that if u r seeing that at Sports Bar. And there comes the whistle and the end of first half. We all were filled with joy and anxiety of what type of play SAF and boys will play in the next half and waited for the next half to begin. In between, that was the third goal of Vidic this season, who is a defender.
With so much enthuse, we started the second half, where we saw a less motivated, desperate Chelsea team, fighting for an equalizer. ManU were constantly attacking the Chelsea box and were testing the Chelsea defense headed by Terry. Wait a moment! There comes the second, from great Rooney, from an excellent cross from the left wing Evra’s left leg. This guy is having an awesome season for the Red Devils. That one he scored between the legs of the defender. He runs for celebration and kisses the ManU flag. Waaoh! What a game this is. To be frank, we came to see the game with a hope of draw, and here it has already became 2-0 with still 30 minutes to go. Couple of substitutions on both sides and the game is now no more interesting. Chelsea doesn’t even trying to win the match and yes ManU had clearly outplayed them in this game. 83rd minute. 🙂 Here comes Ronaldo’s superb free kick, on which Berba had to do nothing other than just placing his feet and divert the ball into the net. That’s the 3rd one and that surely marked the end of Chelsea and was the last nail in the Chelsea’s coffin.
Phone calls came flying in from Chennai and even from US from Thampi and Vinod Sir sharing their joy and happiness of ManU beating Chelsea. Even they also wanted to join us at Sports Bar, but they were feeling the festive mood existed in the bar through the phone. We were celebrating the victory like anything.
Oh Man!!! What else can be so worst for Chelsea than this. 3 goal defeat with ManU and that too when the title race became so tight. That was one of the most proud day of all ManU fans across the world, when their team played so well amidst of the tight schedule of 8 games in the span of 17 days. Here is the moment, when all can say, yes, we are proud of ManU and proud to be a ManU fan. With Liverpool settling down with a draw against Stoke City for the second time this year, it seems like ManU is heading towards a hat-trick in the premier league title. The amount we spent on Sports Bar had thus became worth with the single side win, which threw away Chelsea from the roots. The clock hitting 11:30 PM, I returned to home with Sajan, who was so silent that evening. Another great and thrilling day came to an end.