With the final whistle blown at Old Trafford, the home team Manchester United, took yet another step towards their League title, beating Arsenal 2-1. Adebayor was the first one to tick the scoreboard in favour of the visitors while C.Ronaldo and Hargreaves scored for Manchester United, sealing their victory.
A match between two teams with such a huge fan following is always expected to come with a bundle of tension and excitement, besides, of course, some fine football. It is not just the game between the twenty-two players on field, it is there off-field as well, between the supporters of the two teams. The desperate “OHs !” and “AHs !” by the spectators keep up the tempo of the game, while simultaneously serving as a notification that the ball shoved the post or maybe someone just missed a header.
Sitting and watching the match with about fifty odd football lovers in a common room takes the match to an all-together different excitement level. You can just wish that at least half the population present is supporting the same team as you or be ready for humiliation. While The Gunners dominated the first half, unable to digest this fact, I could clearly listen to the ‘beep’ words for every single tackle they made on the Red Devils.
The frequency of the ‘beeps’ just increased when Emmanuel Adebayor sent the ball into the nets from Robin van Persie’s cross. Minutes passed when I could see two Devil supporters aggressively shouting at me and why not, it was their way of celebrating the equalizer from C.Ronaldo of a penalty against the hand ball by William Gallas. I myself am not that calm when it comes to a crunching match like this, so I shouted back at them when referee called for retake of the penalty kick as he saw encroachment in the area hoping that either Ronaldo would miss it or Lehmann would manage to come in the way. Neither happened, and it was indeed an equalizer.
All set at 1-1 and the clock ticking, pulses started to race with every single move that was created, be it the one by your team or the opposition. And surely, you don’t appreciate the opposition’s defender clearing the ball away from your teams’ striker.
I was just hoping that of the many chances that my team had created, just one more to be put into the net so that we can still fight for the league title. But then not everyday is your day and a foul against the opposition in the 72nd minute not only attracted criticism and rounds of curses (to me as well) but costed us badly when Hargreaves took a fabulous free kick, perfection personified, that my goalkeeper couldn’t even move. I thought we could still come back and my breath indeed stopped for a moment when Bendtner headed a ball cleanly but then he was unable to beat Van der Sar.
Soon after, was the final whistle, Arsenal’s title bid all but over.
[Image courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cuppini/511578753/]