Athletic Bilbao 2 Manchester United 1 (5-3 Agg)
Manchester City 3 Sporting CP 2 (3-3 Agg)
Chelsea 4 Napoli 1 (5-4 Agg)
March Madness indeed. The weather, for one….80 focking degrees in mid-March in Wisconsin?? The NCAA tournament with 2 upsets that no one saw coming….Norfolk State and Lehigh toppled Duke and Mizzou….quite a few people are wishing this morning that they hadn’t auctioned off their wife and kids I’m here to tell you. The only consolation is that they are probably sharing their regret with the descendents of their European forebears in the aftermath of Europe’s March Madness…the 8th Finals of the Champions League and the Europa League. Both Manchester teams are done in Europe for the season. No one in their right mind could have foreseen that, to be honest when the tournaments began…that the Madchester teams were booted down to Europa was giant-killing enough, but to have both of them flame out…well even a True Blue Chelsea fan such as myself did not expect that ((wish for, yes, expect, no)). I guess now the only hope for the Mancunians now is to borrow ALL of their Mother-in-Law’s money to buy their wives and children back. Well…that would have been the hope is they hadn’t already spent their mother-in-laws’ money on Napoli making it to the Quarterfinals on aggregate.
Now I’m a true Blue Chelsea fan and even I did not expect to see what I watched last Wednesday between Chelsea and Napoli at the Bridge. Especially in light of the Thomas Hardyesque season they’ve been having this and last. I new Chelsea would win, but I honest thought they would lose the war after putting up a good fight. I did NOT see a 4-1 win coming on the heels of this frustrating and duplicitous season of turmoil, treachery, and trauma. But WOW!! What a fucking game it was!! Chelsea played tough, played solid, played with a ferocity and energy that I haven’t seen from then in most of the past 2 seasons. The Old Boys stepped their game up and scored….Drogs at the 28th minute, then Terry’s header off Lampard’s corner at the 47th minute…to reach the magic scoreline of 2-0 needed to move on. But Gokhan Inler fired a bullet into Chelsea’s heart at the 55 minute mark, giving Napoli the 3-4 aggregate advantage. The Chelsea of earlier this season would have been dropped like a wounded rhino at this point ((see the Chelsea/ManU tilt of Feb 5th where the Blues blew a 3-0 lead)). But not on this foggy night in London. At the 63rd minute, DiMatteo removed Sturridge for Torres and from that point on there was a renewed energy and purpose to Chelsea’s attack. At 74 minutes, Ivanovic’s header was handled by Napoli’s Andrea Dossena and referee Felix Brych pointed to the spot. Lampard stepped up and smacked it home for a 3-1 lead, evening the aggregate at 4-4. The game went to extra time, and that’s were the miracle occurred, as Ivanovic flicked home the winner at the 105th minute. Absolutely unbelievable!! I don’t know what else to say. This was the greatest Chelsea match I’ve ever seen, that’s for sure.
Now I don’t know where these old slugs have been hiding all season ((yes I do)), but they picked the finest of times to come out of their petulant retirement in place. Let’s see what tomorrow will bring.
Hamilton edges Button for 2012 Quantas Australian Gran Prix pole
I really have nothing against Sebastian Vettel (yet), except for red Bull, ofcourse, and that’s not his fault. I don’t mind him winning races and championships…ie. it hasn’t gotten tedious yet plus he’s less boring than Jimmie Johnson ((which is an unfair to Jimmie Johnson, but c’est la vie)). But it IS a nice surprise to see the (evidently) resurgent McClaren team holding the front row for the Australian Gran Prix. This is a pleasant, if surprising, change of pace. Even more surprising is that Romain Grosjean of the new Lotus-Renault team qualified 3rd….while his teammate, Kimi Räikkönen qualified way back in 18th. Lotus-Renault will bear watching as the season rolls along….and sometime in the middle of the night here in Western Dane County, Wisconsin, USA we’ll see is young M. Grosjean will hold to a potential podium berth. The race from Melbourne tees off at 1:00AM here and I can bet all of my mother-in-law’s money that I won’t be awake to watch it, tempted to, yes, but in reality, no. Vettel and Webber tee off 6th and 5th so one of them could leapfrog Schumacher (4th–wtf??) or Grosjean to the podium. Ferrari is certainly starting off like slugs with Alonso rolling out 12th and Massa 16th. I don’t what accounts for this crazy shakeup other than the cars are new and not all the teams are up to speed (pun intended) with the changes. If the year continues this way, F1 will be VERY interesting this season indeed.
In any case, I will read all about it tomorrow morning at breakfast. And so will those of you who dwell within my general vicinity.
The Biff tops the charts for Sunday’s Food City 500, but..where will Danica finish in today’s Ford Eco-Boost 300?
I would be remiss to not give you a few words about NASCAR’s ultimate March Madness….the Food City 500 at Bristol. I will that when NASCAR introduced the COT, that Bristol became more tame…the races didn’t have the old feel of 43 rabid chihuahua’s racing around in a teacup. Hopefully, with the new spoiler changes this season and the EFI, racing at Bristol will return to the mad slugfest days of old. I have not watched a lick of the racing from Bristol this week…have not seen either practice or qualifying. My first glimpse will later today once I finish illuminating this manuscript for posterity ((or until the internet implodes, whichever comes first)). I’m probably going to miss Happy Hour, which will start by the time I finish typing this sentence….a weak excuse, I know. But I’m not sure Happy Hour will unveil the clue I’m looking for.
Tomorrow will tell the tale. And wherever Danica finishes today, well, that will tell a tale. Something for Thomas Hardy to consider for his next novel. Oh, snap!
Here’s to the Busch Brothers going all focking Kurt Busch v Jimmy Spencer on each other. Yes indeed!!