Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Truly Remarkable Game of Football

Stamford Bridge, West London, was the locale, but -- really -- the whole world was watching. Quite how this second leg of the "other" Champions League semifinal on Wednesday (the one that didn't involve Manchester United and Barcelona) managed to eclipse its more-anticipated predecessor of the day before is remarkable ... but, hey, that's football.
End-to-end stuff. High-action drama. Emotional investment. (Wasn't this meant to be taking place yesterday?) Who knew that a Chelsea side deprived of Jose Mourinho's sense of panache was capable of such a display? When grieving son Frank Lampard converted a penalty in extra time just days after his mother's premature death at the age of 58, who among us could deny his bravery and sense of professionalism?
And when Blues manager Avram Grant, a Jew, dedicated his post-match center-circle celebration to Israel's remembrance of Holocaust Day, well ... who could even think of sport at that point? Chelsea v. Manchester United in Moscow for the biggest club trophy in the world. In our global village, somehow it all seems to make sense.