We knew we only had a small chance to go through against Bayern, so we cannot be too upset for losing 2-0 on the night. We also knew that we needed to be disciplined and concentrate for 95 minutes, if we wanted something out of this game. We also knew we needed to have a go at Bayern and take our game to them – not be overwhelmed but have some believe in our own strengths.
Well, the latter we did and had, and therefore I am feeling reasonably good about our performance last night. We gave them a fright and created a number of scoring opportunities, and we should have taken one of them. We did not and in top football you get punished for this sooner or later.
Sanogo made things happen and brings new energy/impetus to the team. Giroud might have finished better but there is no guarantee for this, and I doubt he would have been able to bring the surprise/X-factor of Sanogo’s team sheet inclusion and performance. I love this guy already and you can see there is real potential in him.
The first half was very good, even though we struggled a bit getting over the deception of not taking our opportunities early on: especially Ozil’s missed penalty hit us hard. But I liked our discipline and organisation and our bite when we went forward. Both Ox and Sanogo were impressive and Jack was linking up play brilliantly.
But then, as Neuer was protecting his team with his tremendous focus and skills, one moment of youthful inexperience by our stopper turns the game on its head, and our faith is decided. A brilliant ball over the top, a clever run by Robben, a pumped up Pole rushing out to scare him off…. and then running into him. A penalty and a red card. Game over.
The pen gets missed but the real punishment is us having to play 50 minutes with ten men against Bayerlona. We fought like lions but the areas in front of the D and left back were surrendered too frequently. A brilliant banana-curved shot in the top corner by the Ramsey-like Kroos proved too much for us. All was not lost as a small loss could be overcome in Germany.
They had more chances but somehow we survived and the team deserves praise for this. But we wanted a goal ourselves and when we won a rare free-kick in Bayern’s half, Jack spotted the run of Koz and decided to play it quickly. Koz did not reach it and Bayern scored from the ensuing ‘counter-attack’: 2-0.
There were a lot more positives from this game than negatives, and I feel the team knows that if they had scored early and/or the keeper had kept cool the result might well have been different. We are not mature enough for this though, and we can only hope that lessons will be learned by our players.
And when we go to Munich, we will have nothing to lose and play with our hearts on our sleeves. Score early and it might become a fantastic night for us. Remember Inter at the San Siro? 🙂
As the Dutch say, the bal is rond – the ball is round: everything is possible!