Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Update: Ronaldo Adds 2 More for Manchester. Cristiano Ronaldo finally got a Champions' League goal. In the forty-fourth minute, Ryan Giggs (there's a recurring theme here) led the Manchester United attack out the middle of the field, finding Ronaldo out on the wing. Ronaldo took the pass, and and dribbled at the defense with great menace. When the ball is on Ronaldo's foot, defenders quake in fear, for good reason. The defense had to move cautiously, alert to Ronaldo's ability to sprint through or by them. Instead, Ronaldo just backed up the Roma defense, and shot the ball just inside the near post, as it curved around the defense and the helpless Roma goalie.

Ronaldo's goal capped off the finest first half any team has ever had in one of the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions' League. However, he wasn't done. Three minutes into the second half, Wayne Rooney showed he could play some defense, interrupting a Roma break-out, and sending a pass quickly back in, to Ryan Giggs, on the wing. Giggs' cross slid beyond the reach of the onrushing Alan Smith, and then beyond the Roma keeper, where it found the foot of a sliding Ronaldo, who knocked it in for his second goal of the game, making this a 5-0 laugher.

After 27 games, Ronaldo finally has a goal (now two goals) in Champions' League play. Maybe now, we won't have to endure his overdone histrionics every time he misses a shot. This can't be good news for the teams still left in this tournament. With the monkey now off his back, Ronaldo might be a much more effective team player in the semifinal, and possibly the tournament final.

Update to this Update: Man Utd. wins, by a 7-1 score. The prettiest goal might have been scored by Roma, but there's no room for style points in football.

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