European Super Cup Final
0 Real Madrid
1 Chelsea (Poyet 82)
For the first time since 1972, this trophy is played over one leg in a neutral stadium, and that stadium was Monacos Luis II stadium. Now I dont know whether UEFA will choose a different stadium each year or will this final always be played here, because I believe its a bad choice because of the pitch condition.
Real started with the following formation: Illgner Panucci, Hierro, Sanchis (c) and R.Carlos Karembeu (Morientes 57), Seedorf, Redondo and Savio Mijatovic (Jarni 73) and Raul. The only major missing player was be the World Cups top scorer Davor Suker, who is injured. Also, Fernando Morientes, who did not start due to injury.
Chelsea started with: De Goey - Ferrer, Leboeuf, Desailly and Le Saux - Duberry, Wise (c), Di Matteo (Poyet 62) and Babayaro Zola (Laudrop 83) and Casiraghi (Flo 89). Duberry for some reason started in the midfield, but soon dropped back to play as a 5th defender. Petrescu (injury) was the biggest absentee, while Laudrop was only on the bench.
The match started with both teams playing in a very unorganized style, but after a few minutes both teams started to find their rhythm. Real controlled the midfield early on focusing on the left side of the field. The first real chance of the game came as R.Carloss throw in, not cleared well by Leboeuf, falls to Raul but his shot goes over. Ferrer was booked moments later for bringing down Savio, indicating a long day for the Spaniard. On 10 minutes, Real continue on the left as R.Carlos crosses to Raul but Leboeuf manages to stretch his leg and prevent a shot on goal at the very last second.
Chelseas first chance came as Babayaro played a long, low pass towards Casiraghi but Redondo was quick to cover him and win the ball back. That was followed by more Real, Seedorf plays a long ball towards Mijatovic, who heads it down to Savio, but the latter was unable to get a clear shot and the chance is wasted. Chelsea had a great opportunity to score after that when Zolas cross from the right gets by both Casiraghi and the Real defense to fall to the unmarked, wide-open Babayaro but his shot goes wide right. Raul shows some of his skills getting by three Chelsea defenders right outside the box but Desailly steps up and wins the ball. Another Real chance followed as Mijatovic chested down a Panucci long ball and quickly passes to Raul but Leboeuf was quick to intercept it. Chelsea comes back through a Le Saux cross from the left that again gets by the whole Real defense but just out of Wises reach, whos shot goes wide right. By far the best first half chance came through a direct free-kick just a few feet outside Chelseas box, with the world waiting for R.Carlos to unleash a rocket, Hierro steps up calmly and bends a beauty by the five-man wall and beyond De Goeys reach, only to see it come off the right post and dribble by the empty net for Leboeuf to clear. (Babayaro was booked for time wasting before the shot). Reals last serious chance of the game came as R.Carlos plays Mijatovic through with a low pass, Predrag gets by De Goey but he puts the ball out of his reach and his desperation shot goes over. One more chance for Chelsea prior to the refs whistle as Di Matteo plays a perfect long ball but Illgner was aware of that and he rushes out to get hold of it. Real had a huge ball possession in the first half (61% to 39%).
Chelsea, totally outplayed in the first half, took control early in the second and never looked back. Desailly got the first chance of this half as he attempts a shot from the tip of the box only to see go weak and wide to the right. Mijatovic displays some of his brilliancy getting by both Leboeuf and Le Saux running parallel to the Chelseas goal line on the right, he gets in the area and passes back to the unprepared Seedorf who watches the ball go by and out of danger. Chelsea took control again and Babayaro finds space down the left and fires a shot from just inside the box but its no problem for Illgner. Karembeu brings down Wise and is booked, and from the free-kick, the cross is played in and Illgner punches it out, it falls to Leboeuf who plays a superb lob/shot that gets by Illgner but clips the right post and goes wide, by far Chelseas best chance of the game. Raul, who drops back a bit with Morientess entrance to the game, picks-up a cleared ball and gets by both of Leboeuf and Le Saux but his shot is saved brilliantly by De Goey. Gustavo Poyets substitution is sandwiched by two dangerous Zola crosses that were headed both over the bar, one by Casiraghi and the other by the diving Wise. A corner for Real, Seedorf crosses but Hierros nice header goes inches wide to the right. Another great chance for Chelsea, Le Saux gets by Sanchis on the right and sends a low, fast pass in the area that gets by Casiraghi and goes mere inches wide of the right post. But Chelseas second half dominance is rewarded when Zola and Poyet take advantage of a breakdown in the Real defense on a counter attack as Zola sets-up Poyet on the edge of the box, Poyet doesnt hesitate and his shot beats Illgner to the right to give Chelsea a vital goal late in the game. But Real were robbed from a chance to replay when Morientes receives a ball inside the area only to have his Jersey clearly pulled from Duberry, but the ref whistles and books Morientes for diving. The replay clearly shows the jersey pulling. Reals last descent chance comes from a Jarni cross from the left to Savio who tricks Le Saux as he pushes the ball forward, but he pushes it a bit out of reach and is unable to get a good shot, the ball goes for a goal kick. A few minutes of unorganized chances is followed by the refs final whistle announcing Chelsea as this years European Super Cup winners.
Lestats Man of the Match: Leboeuf and Hierro both get my vote, each was under extreme preasure and each lived up to it. Leboeuf faced a little more preasure in general and never crumbled under it. Hierro marked Zola to perfection, forcing him to play a little behind or to the edges of the box, and made some great passes and plays upfront.
In the End, it was a highly entertaining match despite the low score, and the game could have gone either way. Congrats to Chelsea and better luck to Real, who still have a date with Vasco of Brazil for the World Club Cup.
"The Vampire Lestat"
Comments are most welcome..
Oh well, the upset happened in an overall tired and BORING match. Real dominated the first half, but played with NO striker- as Morientes was rested as an injury precaution. What we had was Raul, Mijatovic, Savio- all who play roles as setup people more than goalscorers. Additionally Suker was also injured. What Real Madrid had was a side with a slow attack, and Chelsea weathered it out very nicely. What I disliked the most- KARAMBEU, (whom I have NEVER liked)- once again he was terrible- as he has been in La Liga and also in the Champions' League (he played well for 2 games and scored a goal in each game, afer which he disappeared from football). His World Cup was also terrible. I wonder WHY he keeps starting both for France and Real when Real Madrid has young Spaniard Jaime, who is so much more solid than Karambeu (sorry Vamp:-) ). It seems that every ball he touches is given away to the other team... His ineficiency on both attack AND defense in the game gave Chelsea a big break.
The second half became Chelsea's when Karambeu came out and Morientes came in. El Moro was clearly not 100%, and Gus made a big risk using him after this weeks injury that he picked up in training. He was far from his normal physical form. The right side of the Real Madrid midfield became blown open in the absence of Karambeu- becomming completely unmanned. Chelsea took advantage of Panucci's runs forward- made to compennsate for a missing midfielder. Hierro was solid as Iron throughout the match, but as I predicted, Panucci became very loose on the marking in the 2nd half. The goal came as a result of TOTAL lethargy by the Madrid defense. Panucci gave Zola ALL DAY to simply stand facing the goal with a full METER between them. Seedorf, covering on the defense, gave the waiting Poyet MORE than TWO METERS to receive the simple pass from Zola. An easy pass, then Seedorf was too far off Poyet to remotely come close to blocking. Poyet had infinite space to run, tie his shoe laces, comb his hair, and take a clear shot on goal. VERY SLOPPY defending. I am very dissapointed in the defense, and with Hiddink's decisions during the match- ie putting Jarni in for Mijatovic. Doing this filled the Real side with Left-sided players (Jarni, Raul, Redondo, Roberto Carlos, Savio) and opened up the right even more.
My only grievance in this match was a penalty that should have been called in favor of Madrid. When watching the replay of a second half action, Duberry CLEARLY pulled down Morientes in the box near the goal, by pulling blatanlty on his jersey. Somehow the ref did not see and instead gave Morientes a yellow card when he protested. Anyways, I honestly think that we were taken on that call, yet we did get a couple lucky saves and there is no excuse. We could have won the game- but our defense was the worst I've seen it in some time....