Barcelona 0 – 0 Manchester United: Tactical Chess

The Champions League has, in recent years, produced some genuinely thrilling football. This match, between two ostensibly attacking sides, was about as thrilling as waiting for the subway. It was (and I’m being generous here) an hour-and-a-half of dull, uninspiring tactical chess whose relationship to “the beautiful game” was utterly non-existent. United sat back and absorbed wave after wave of Barcelona pressure, and eventually escaped the Camp Nou with a 0-0 draw. (They could’ve–and should’ve–won the match outright, but Cristiano Ronaldo missed a penalty. That would’ve been a massive, massive goal.) A win in the return leg at Old Trafford would put United through to the final. I’m guardedly optimistic, mostly because United have an eleven-match Champions League home winning streak–but if anyone can put an end to that run…well, you know. Either way, both semi-finals–the first leg between Liverpool and Chel$ki was equally dour, albeit with the added bonus of John Arne Riise‘s comical own goal–are on a knife’s edge. The football might not be bearable, but neither is the drama. Stay tuned!

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