After 120 minutes+, Europe has crowned its newest soccer champion: Chelsea FC.
The night in Munich looked like it was setting up perfectly for the hosts, Bayern Munich. They were playing a final in their home field with thousands of fans there supporting them, plus the knowledge of having had a much more solid campaign in both the league and in this same tournament.
This bit of information seemed to be present with the team as they dominated the match for a great majority of it. Peter Cech was on the receiving end of most of the shots being made and all signs were pointing to an eventual win for the Bavarians. In the 83rd minute all this effort culminated in a goal from Thomas Müller’s header to give the red side of the Allianz Arena something to celebrate. But the celebrations were silenced just 5 minutes later when Chelsea’s longtime hero evened the score with a header of his own. The game was tied in regular time and it would require extra time to define the next champion of Europe.
Chelsea seemed revitalized by the jolt of energy that Drogba’s goal gave them, that was until that very same hero dropped Ribery in the box just 2 minutes of extra time to give Bayern Munich an opportunity to get an early lead early. But Chelsea got another big performance from their hero who does his best work between the three posts when Peter Cech effortlessly blocked Arjen Robben’s attempt. From then on, very few attempts were made at goal and soon the match went into the most dramatic of game-decider for a soccer match, the penalty shoot-out.
A miss by Mata in the first round of shots seemed to give Munich enough to believe that the Champions League title would inevitably be theirs. Even Bayern’s goalkeeper, Manuel Neuer, took a shot to extend his side’s lead in the shootout. But in the fourth round of shots, Cech came up big again for the London team and blocked Olic’s attempt and gave his side a major boost in morale. After Ashley Cole scored the tying penalty shot, it was up to Bastian Schweinsteiger, the man who gave Bayern the win in their previous penalty shootout against Real Madrid. This time around, the Bavarian didn’t fare too well and his shot ended up hitting the bottom of the post and bouncing away from goal. All eyes were now set on the man who helped his team get into this position just a few minutes before, Didier Drogba was given the fifth and final shot. The man who helped halt the Civil War that was going on in his native Ivory Coast, showed his greatness once more as he stepped up to the spot and proceeded to make the ball hit the back of the net. This single shot earned him his first first European conquest, as well as his club’s first in its entire 107-year-old history.
In soccer, the best team in the match is not always the team that wins the title. But, on this night in Munich, despite the host team’s numerous efforts, it was Chelsea’s determination, never-say-die attitude and their passion throughout the entirety of the game that allowed them to raise the most important trophy in European club soccer.
Congratulations to Chelsea and all its fans for this historic accomplishment.
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