5 May 2004
CHELSEA 2-2 MONACO
For an hour this was the match of the season. Cole should have given Chelsea a 15th minute lead but shot wide after Roma spilled Geremi's shot. Cole played in Jimmy but Roma flew off his line and made a great save. A complete fluke goal gave Chelsea the lead. Gronkjaer, wide on the right, went past Rothen and sent a cross straight into the top corner. The post denied Morientes a quick equaliser. Terry was caught ball watching, Rothen pulled the ball back to Morientes and his shot was deflected onto the post. Jimmy hit a fantastic cross to the back post, which completely took out Roma and Gudjohnsen, the piece of crap, managed to head against the underside of the bar. Gronkjaer volleyed Cole's free kick into the box, Lampard controlled the ball on his chest before blasting a shot towards the bottom corner, Roma saved. Lampard slid in with a challenge as Rothen broke, both players hit the deck but Rothen got up first, raced away and slipped in Morientes, a magnificent first touch took him away from Gallas but with only Cudicini to beat he shot wide. A superb thirteen pass move gave Chelsea the lead on aggregate. Gudjohnsen laid off Melchiot's pass into the patch of Lampard and his first time shot hit the back of the net. Gronkjaer was too busy arguing the award of a throw in to notice Rothen charging past him, Rothen skinned Melchiot then lobbed the ball upto Morientes, his header came back off the post, hit Ibarra and dropped into the net. 3-4 to Monaco on aggregate.
Chelsea should have levelled the tie two minutes into the second half but the absolutely wretched Gudjohnsen kicked fresh air after Bridge skipped past two defenders and laid a chance on a plate. Another bridge cross, this time deflected off Plasil and fell to Gronkjaer but he blazed over the bar. A brilliant counter attack, in which Rothen and Morientes were heavily involved ended Chelsea's dream of a first European Cup final. Morientes laid off Evra's pass off to Bernardi then continued his run, the Chelsea defence seemed to be preoccupied with Giuly, Morientes ran into the space left by Giuly's run, Bernardi passed him the ball 2-2. From needing one goal to tie the game on aggregate, Chelsea now needed three to win the match. This dawned on both sides quickly and it showed. Substitute Johnsen got himself a yellow card for a wild lunge on Rothen. The worthless piece of crap Gudjohnsen managed to stay on for the whole match.
Monaco win 5-3 on aggregate.
Assists : Melchiot, Gudjohnsen, Bernardi
4 May 2004
DEPORTIVO 0-1 PORTO
I wasn't paying too much attention to the first half. All I remember is that Naybet was booked and Valeron missed an absolute sitter late in the half.
Derlei headed against a post then converted a penalty awarded for a foul on Deco by Cesar. This was a good spot by Collina as initially it appeared as if Deco was fouled outside the box. Molina dived the right way but just failed to get a hand on Derlei's spot kick. Pandiani got on the end of a cross but headed wide. Depor should have been awarded a penalty when Nuno Valente elbowed a Depor player in the box. He may have got away with it during the match but if recent incidents such as this are anything to go by he'll be suspended for the final. Naybet was shown an extremely harsh second yellow for a sloppy challenge on Paulo Ferreira. With Depor a man short the game finally opened up . Maniche got on the end of an excellent move involving Deco and Derlei but Molina blocked his volley. Ricardo Carvalho made a fantastic block to deny Tristan and the striker went close with a free kick before being booked for diving.
This was incredibly boring. Porto are not exactly entertaining to watch. After a tremendous performance against Milan, Valeron went back to normal i.e. he went missing. I think Chelsea vs Porto would for a really dull final so hopefully Monaco can finish the job and go through.
Porto win 1-0 on aggregate
Assist : Deco (won pen)
Red Card : Naybet 70 (Deportivo)
21 April 2004
PORTO 0-0 DEPORTIVO
This match sucked major arse. Neither 'keeper was tested. Porto at particular were very good at snuffing out any potential danger. Maniche tried his luck from the edge of the box and the ball came back off the crossbar. When he wasn't busy diving for penalties Jankauskas wasted a great chance, heading wide from Deco's free kick. Andrade was sent off for kicking Deco in the ribs, smart move and coupled with Mauro Silva's absence (he misses the return after picking up a yellow card) it's a huge loss for Depor. Luque left the field at half time with what looked like a bad ankle injury.
I wouldn't be surprised to see Porto go through on away goals.
Red Card : Andrade 87 (Deportivo)
20 April 2004
MONACO 3-1 CHELSEA
Poor defending from a free kick gave Monaco the lead but Crespo, who was at fault for the goal, redeemed himself with the equaliser five minutes later. Rothen swung a free kick into the box, Crespo threw himself at the ball, compltely missed and Prso read the bounce and heading into the corner. I actually think this was a very good finish. Lampard, who had a tremendous first half, found Parker in space on the right with a magnificent lobbed pass, Parker centrered for Gudjohnsen who, not surprisingly, fell on his arse but managed to help the ball on for Crespo and he took a touch before rifling into the corner. Parker and Gudjohnsen were both offside when Lampard crossed.
There were several million collective groans across Europe (apart from in Rome) when Ranieri substituted Gronkjaer, who had a decent first half, for that complete waste of space Veron. Veron hogged possesion as Lampard's influence faded. The once great, really great in fact, Desailly was lucky the ref didn't see him send an elbow crashing into Morientes' face. From the resuling corner creamed rice made an excellent save from Prso's header and soon after Desailly cleared Morientes' shot off the line. Makelele did a first class Rivaldo impression and fell to the ground clutching his face as if he had broken his skull after Zikos gave him a slap across the back of his head. Zikos was sent off but inexplicably Makelele was only given a yellow presumably for diving. Chelsea went close twice in quick succession from corners and Morientes was lucky to avoid a red card after lashing out at Parker. Jimmy, on just past the hour mark for Melchiot was annonymous stuck out wide right and Huth's introduction minutes later for Parker left Chelsea short on midfield and defence. Monaco took full advantage but not before Jimmy wasted a free header. Giuly sent Morientes clear with a beautiful pass on the turn and he finished emphatically, smashing a bouncing ball over Ambrosio. Within 30 seconds of coming on for Giluy, Nonda had given Monaco a 3-1 lead although creamed rice has to take the blame for failing to hold such a soft shot.
Only a gifted coach can out-think himself tactically, Claudio 'Tinkerman' Ranieri is that man. It's preciously because of inexplicable substitions such as those made today that he has earned 'The Tinkerman' tag and why, barring a miracle turnaround in the return at Stamford bridge, he's going to be out of work at the end of the season.
Assists : Gudjohnsen, Rothen (fk), Giuly, Rothen
Red Card : Zikos 53 (Monaco)