Just four minutes after the
Anfield kick-off earlier today, Chelsea’s dream season came to a
shuddering halt when Liverpool scored the only goal in the Champions
League semi-final second leg, to become the first team into the 25 May
final. But after the match, Chelsea players claimed the winner didn’t
cross the goal line. The home crowd of 42,000 was delirious when Luis
Garcia controversially tapped in the winner in a frantic goal mouth
scramble. And while he celebrated, Blues’ players protested its
legitimacy. From where I was sitting in front of the SBS coverage it
looked ok, based on the view given by the camera behind the net.
Chelsea can protest all they like – they are now history.

But
that didn’t stop Blues’ manager Jose Mourinho from claiming his team
had been robbed by a home town decision. “The linesman scored the
goal.” Mourinho whined. “No-one knows if that shot went over the line
and you must be 100%. The best team lost. After they scored only one
team played, the other one just defended for the whole game.”

Liverpool
manager Rafael Benitez, ever the diplomat, didn’t offer an opinion one
way or the other; and he didn’t need to. He now gets to write another
amazing chapter in Liverpool’s famous continental book of deeds.
Similarly his captain Steven Gerrard was honest in his response when
asked if the ball crossed the line. “We don’t know whether it was a
goal or not,” he said. “I’m sure people will talk about it; but we’re
going to the final, we’re going to Istanbul. We’ve beaten the
Premiership champions tonight for the first time in five goes, but it
was worth the wait.”

Harry Kewell came on in the 72nd minute
and more than did his bit to help tie up Chelsea and run down the
clock, which included an astonishing six minutes of added time.

Liverpool’s
opponent will be decided tomorrow morning when Dutch club PSV Eindhoven
playing at home, seek to overturn a 2-0 deficit against the might of AC
Milan in the second leg decider. Everything points to AC Milan facing
Liverpool in Istanbul, with the Dutch battling injuries while the
Italians claim to be injury free.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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