At last.. GOALS !!!
*All the drama !! All the anxiety !! All the excitement !!*
All rolled into one fine 90+3 min game which basically reflected our fears
and also elevated our hopes !!
In fact, drama was heightened at 27 seconds when Joe Cole picked out a loose
back pass to expertly place the ball away from the keeper into the empty net
off the post. What a goal from a much maligned forward who has had to sit
out our past 3 Premier League games. Surely his goal and in fact his all
round display merits a starting place alongside Gerrard & Torres this
If Cole provided the amazing early spark.. it was soon to dwindle as
expected as we actually didn’t really trouble the Romanian side thereafter.
And when a mazy run by their midfielder Bogdan Stancu through the centre,
past Spearing & Meireles, allowed Tanase to score.. at least the Anfield
crowd still cheered our Reds on..
But the usual self-doubts crept into our players.. a B-Team basically which
Reina as Captain; Kelly, Kyrgiakos, Agger and Konchesky as the back four;
Spearing & Meireles as the twin midfielders while Maxi and Babel aided Cole
and Ngog upfront.
In fact, it was a period of slick passing by the Romanians and even had
another SUPER REINA SAVE, albeit an offside attempt. In the end, we resorted
to long range shooting which didn’t trouble their keeper.
But it was a totally different Men In Red in the second half. We swamped the
Steaua goal at the Kop End with greater intensity and endeavour. Corner
kicks flew in, slick passing and intelligent runs were the order of the
night as we strived to get the win.
It took an innocuous arm on Kyrgiakos by the Steaua defender to send our
Greek tumbling to the ground giving the referee no doubt in his mind that it
was a penalty. But as Ngog, who had been pretty much anonymous in the game
so far positioned himself to take the spot kick.. you can just feel the
palpitation of the fans as we were really unsure Ngog would deliver. But
deliver he did, with a well-placed shot into the bottom corner, away from
the keeper who dived to the wrong side.
WHEW !! What a relief and 2-1 up with our tails wagging for more. In fact,
Roy Hodgson was gesticulating firmly to his players to go for the kill. And
our Men In Red now swamped the Steaua goal, buoyed by the lead and had a few
more chances to show.. notable of which was a long range curler from
Meireles that was palmed away by the keeper.
We did escape at the other end as Steaua had a shooting chance that went
But we kept pegging at the Steaua goal.. knocking on it a couple of times.
There was time also for a rugby sky shot by Kyrgiakos which brought amusing
smiles from Dalglish and Rush in the stands, who were seated with Whelan.
Finally the first substitution, Lucas in for a fast-tiring and cramping
Babel. In all honesty, how many of us in the first half were wishing for the
calming influence of our much-blamed Brazillian instead of Spearing and
Meireles, who seem suited for a different kind of style.
But it was a master-stroke by Roy (who has since deflected credit) as Lucas
was to unleash a thunderous shot within minutes on the field.. the kind that
reminds us of Stevie G, the kind that our captain himself stood up to
applaud together with the whole posse of regulars enjoying their rest in the
stands. Lucas, we salute you and if you play this Sunday, be sure not to
give the ball away and make sure your passes are not wasted.. then you will
surely win over your doubters one by one !!
3-1 up and it was comfort zone as we still poured forward. Pacheco came on
for a much-improved Maxi who thrived in the second half. Then there was
Eccleston for Cole who surely has capped a Man-Of-The-Match performance with
his desire to run with the ball and bring his teammates into the game and
get our attacks up & running. Something we have been lacking these past 3
Premier League games.. something we look to unleash at Old Trafford this
Finally Ngog was to cap a fine Meireles run by planting an unstoppable shot
for his second goal. Not bad for our present top scorer !!
4-1 the final score with *many happy REDS worldwide*.. with an *optimistic
outlook for the weekend.*