Some introductory space-filling nonsense
Two of the most successful football managers of the last decade locking horns again is always going to be interesting, but the very nature of UEFA’s curtain-raising contest – a bit of a jolly for Platini and his pals, if we’re honest – leaves it some way short of Rumble in the Jungle type status.
So we’ll just have to settle for a bit of a Punch-Up in Prague if we’re to win our first Super Cup since 1998.
But as The Happy One has pointed out, this is not about Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola. It’s about Chelsea and Bayern Munich, who just happen to be managed by Jose and Pep.
Twelve months on from Robbie’s Champions League winners taking a right royal spanking in Monaco at the hands (well, boots) of Falcao and Atletico Madrid, the Super Cup has moved lodgings. Falcao, showered with offers from Europe’s elite clubs obviously liked the less taxing environment of the Principality so much that his advisers decided to move him there (presumably along with a fairly sizeable entourage to help him to carry his wallet).
I’ll avoid the temptation of asking whether he is truly happy and let you make up your own minds on that.
Bayern are here after partially erasing their ‘Unser Pokal’ nightmare at Wembley in May and we’re there courtesy of Branners’ late heroics in Amsterdam. Back when HE WHO SHALL NOT BE NAMED was in charge.
It’s on ITV and Adrian Chiles is hosting. He plays that amiable buffoon act so well, doesn’t he? Gus Poyet, scorer of the winner when we last lifted this particular trophy and Lee Dixon, who played for Arsenal when they used to win silverware, complete the studio line-up.
We lined up with Cech, Ivan, Luiz, Cahill, Cole, Ramires, Lampard, Schurrle, Oscar, Hazard and Torres. Mata is on the bench, which obviously means he’s fallen out of favour with Jose and is about to be sold to Arsenal for a £20 iTunes voucher and a six-pack of Munch Bunch yoghurts.
The teams set up in formations that probably involved pivots, false nines and inverted wingers playing vertical possession football with mustard vinaigrette, but if you want to know about that then I suggest that you find yourself a hipster with a tactics blog. I remember Andy Townsend’s ‘Tactics Truck’ and we won’t be going down that route on this fine corner of the internet, thank you very much.
The teams take the pitch through what looks like a tunnel of giant inflated condoms. I take this to mean that while UEFA are fucking football, they’re at least taking precautions. Which is jolly considerate of them.
Bayern have a banner that says ‘Oana basst no nel!!!’. I have no idea what this means, but I’ll bet it’s arrogant. Pep and Jose are pacing the technical area, setting the hearts of many a lady a-flutter (and quite a few chaps, I shouldn’t wonder).
3 minutes: David Luiz seems to have annoyed Mandzukic. Splendid.
6: Fair bit of Bayern possession. Ribery scuffs a shot wide. What will he do when his looks go, I wonder?
8: BOOOOOM! Torres! Lovely driving run from the centre circle from Hazard, feeding Schurrle out on the right hand side of the box who puts a fine cross in for Torres to hit superbly on the volley, leaving Neuer with no chance. Lovely goal.
9: Bayern counter almost immediately, Lahm driving the ball straight at Cech. The travelling Blues are in fine voice.
We’ve started a little better than we did last year, that’s for sure.
13: Chelsea corner. Frank takes – straight into Neuer’s hands. Unlike his penalty that night in MunichAHAHAHAHAHAHA!.
16: Quick break from the Blues and Torres – well, cross/shot, I’m not quite sure. Other options were available.
Bayern well in charge in terms of possession. But 1-0 down. Oscar buzzing around nicely when he gets the ball.
21: Good interplay between Mandzukic and Ribery, the latter forcing a smart save from Cech. Resulting corner cleared with Ribery seeing yellow for pulling Ramires down.
26: Tempting fate, this, but we’re looking pretty solid without the ball. Very Mourinho-esque stuff, which is good to see given how vulnerable we looked at times last season.
28: Ribery with another shot from the edge of the box, just wide. See what I did there?
30: Good run from Schurrle, fine turn and shot from Torres who is looking lively (it’s all relative, obviously). Jose is scribbling a lot of notes.
34: Ribery again – tries to curl one and fails. He’s been Bayern’s only real threat thus far.
37: Cahill makes his traditional uber-block – denies Mueller from close range after a clever reverse pass from Robben (I think).
There will now be a brief interlude in this commentary whilst I have my fish and chips.
Half time. Decent game of football, this. Bayern in charge in terms of possession, but we look very good on the counter. The move for the goal was actually started by Torres, so all credit to him. Impressed with Schurrle too.
Javi Martinez on for Bayern, replacing Rafinha. Who sounds horribly like he is HE WHO SHALL NOT BE NAMED’s Brazilian cousin.
46 minutes: Arse. 1-1. Ribery with a rocket. Cech possibly a bit disappointed with that, I’d imagine – beaten at his near post. Great strike, though.
48: Ribery at it again, volleys just wide. Difficult to keep a lid on him when he’s on this kind of form.
54: Bayern on top at the moment, pressing very well. Robben shoots over. Need to get ourselves back into this a bit sharpish. Wouldn’t be surprised to see a change soon if this carries on.
60: We’re struggling to string two passes together.
61: That’s better. Chelsea corner. Which is terrible.
63: AAAAARGH! Slip from Dante gives Oscar a golden chance, Neuer saves with his legs and Frank fires over. Should be 2-1 Chelsea.
66: Luiz booked. Think Ramires got one a moment or two ago.
67: Great defending from Ashley to deny Mueller. Bayern corner, Robben volleys wide. Jose getting agitated on the touchline.
68: Flurry of activity in the Bayern box. Oscar shot headed out for corner by Dante. Cech comedy scuffs clearance at the other end, thankfully without consequence.
70: Gotze on for Mueller. It’s all go here. Would like to see Mikel on to lend a hand in midfield and take the sting out of things. I can’t type any quicker.
72: Camera on Mata warming up. Somewhere in North London, a Frenchman gently nurses a lazy semi.
76: Torres breaks Javi Martinez.
77: Chelsea corner won by Ramires. Martinez still hobbling a bit. That’ll learn him. OOOOF! Ivan with a header – hits the bar! So very close.
80: As tradition dictates, there are 10 minutes left. Can someone shout “DROGBAAAAAA!” really loudly at Neuer, please?
83: Card for Boateng for a fairly cynical foul on Oscar. Boateng’s haircut makes him look like a member of 90’s R&B sensations Jodeci.
84: LUIZ! Oh, so close again – good save from Neuer. And, bollocks – second yellow for Ramires. Won the ball, but followed through on Gotze. No, not THAT kind of followed through, you dirty sods. Ten men against a Guardiola team? No problem.
86: Mikel on for Schurrle. Makes sense.
89: Free kick to us, just outside the box. Torres booked apparently. No idea what for.
90: All getting a bit narky in the wall. Luiz and Frank hovering over the ball. The former sticks it straight into the wall. Three minutes added on.
And that’s that. Extra time. Jose is having words with the officials. He’s in the laundry basket for the first group game then. Just like old times.
First half of extra time
1 minute: Robben blazes a free kick over. Bayern pressing like a group of very efficient ironing ladies.
2: HAZAAAAARD! Brilliant – great ball from Luiz, Eden cuts in, dances past Lahm and slams the ball home past Neuer (who probably should have done better). 2-1 Chelsea. Great goal.
(Replay suggests that Lahm has had a shocker there.)
5: Robben off, Shaquiri on. Isn’t he married to Gerard Pique?
6: Luiz takes the ball off Ribery’s toes just as he was about to let rip. Torres off, Lukaku on. Good game and a great goal for Fernando.
9: Cech tips Shaquiri’s shot out for a corner. Nothing doing.
13: Plenty of Bayern pressure but we’re hanging on. Cahill chucking himself in front of everything, JT style.
Second half of extra time
17 minutes: Great save from Mandzukic by Cech. And again from Martinez! Big Pete on sparkling form – kept us in it there.
20: That Shaquiri chap has a terrible haircut. I should know, I’ve had a few in my time.
22: Another life saver from Cahill. Living dangerously here. JT on for Hazard, who had a superb game.
24: Neuer comes racing into the centre circle to head the ball back. If I’m honest, I’d have given a kidney to see him miss that.
26: Clock ticking down. Bayern free kick. Ribery clears his nostrils. Attractive. Another fantastic save from Cech!
28: Boateng fires over. Jose rallying the troops, on and off the pitch.
29: Mandzukic’s header bounces over the bar. Just hang on in there. Yellow card for Ivan. I think everyone in Blue on the pitch has now been booked. One added minute.
30: Fuck it. Martinez 2-2. Penalties. Very harsh on Petr, who has been excellent tonight.
Whatever happens, it’s been a great performance from the boys in Blue tonight. Excellent game – Jose and Pep were never likely to do dull, were they?
Ash 4-4 (just!)
Bayern Munich win the Super Cup.
No real disappointment, though; a very harsh late equaliser but a great performance from a team clearly growing in confidence. And it was a far better showing than this time last year against a very strong Bayern side. Lamps sounding confident in his post-match interview that the team will be a force to be reckoned with this season and on that showing it’s hard to disagree.
A good break coming up for the team now – internationals followed by Everton away.
And anyway, we won the right penalty shoot-out against Bayern, didn’t we?
The Guardian, Daniel Taylor: “It came down to penalties, just as it had in the Champions League final a couple of seasons ago, only this time there was no happy sense of deja vu for Chelsea and the players in blue were on their knees rather than dancing round the pitch and pretending to drink from the trophy. They have made an art form of winning these occasions, sometimes against all the odds, and they can take great dignity from defeat considering the backs-to-the-wall operation they put up against formidable opponents. Javi Martínez’s equaliser to take the game to penalties arrived, cruelly, in the final seconds of stoppage time at the end of the additional 30 minutes. The difference this time, unlike in Munich, was that Bayern’s penalty-talking was flawless.”
The Daily Telegraph, Henry Winter: “The Super Cup rarely lives up to its lofty name but it really did on Friday night. Chelsea, the Europa League champions, played superbly but lost this classic of a meeting with the Champions League winners, Bayern Munich, when Romelu Lukaku missed his penalty in an otherwise faultless shoot-out. But what a game. Eden Hazard’s goal in the first half of extra-time, after Fernando Torres and Franck Ribéry had exchanged goals in normal time, appeared to have settled the game but then the magnificent Petr Cech was beaten in the dying seconds by Javi Martínez.”
The Official Chelsea FC Website: “The first nine penalties in the shoot-out at the end of 120 minutes in Prague were all scored before Romelu Lukaku’s was saved, denying Chelsea a trophy we had been seconds away from winning. Fernando Torres gave the Blues an early lead in normal time which was lost even earlier in the second half to a Franck Ribery goal. After a good counter-attacking display by Jose Mourinho’s men, the tide was turning in Bayern Munich’s favour, especially when Ramires was sent-off shortly before the end of normal time, but Chelsea, who had earlier hit woodwork, responded splendidly in extra time with Eden Hazard cracking in the second goal. German chances came and went before, with a minute to the end of the match already indicated, one more dropped their way and Javi Martinez took it. The pain of victory snatched away was only compound by what was to follow from the spot kicks, but there was still plenty to value in the performance.”
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