A whole lotta motta
Inter 1 Chelsea 0 (Inter advances to the CL QFs on a 3-1 aggregate)
Chelsea’s composure was rocked by an Inter defense that harried, hustled, and pummeled their way through. And when that did not work, resorted to cold calculated histrionics.
The master was Thiago Motta who was probably given the singular task of destroying Didier Drogba. At least it appeared that way. Two pieces of flawless acting, the first that led to a yellow card put Drogba on notice.
The shackled Cote D’Ivoiran became less of a factor. No doubt the ghosts of CLs past playing a part. In the 86th minute, Motta wrestled Drogba down. While getting up Drogba seemed to stamp on Motta, whether the contact was deliberate or not is debatable. But Motta’s reaction was instantaneous, he rolled around like a pole axed steer. Wolfgang Stark seemed to have no hesitation immediately summoning Drogba and pulling out the red. Another CL match ending in ignominy.
In retrospect, Wesley Sneijder’s pass leading to a beautifully executed Samuel Eto’o goal was a bonus. The match was won by Lucio, Maicon, Samuel, and Zanetti. The steel trap was complete with the addition of Cambiasso and Motta. I think Chelsea were afforded a maximum of three chances. On the other end, a genuine play maker like Sneijder with his ability to pick out strikers with his precision passes and crosses gave Inter the attacking edge. The Dutchman, a Real reject has added that essential dimension missing in the club’s European endeavours.
Samuel Eto’o, the runner up to Drogba, the African footballer of the year must have felt a modicum of vindication after scoring that goal.
Jose Mourinho preserved his perfect record at Stamford Bridge. Only thing it was the wrong team. On this day, the Special One was indeed special.