Friday, June 6, 2008

Recipe for winning the cup

Champions League

Minimal score brings luck: 1-0 in semifinals decided once again

Ozren Podnar reports...

Do you plan to win the Champions League or the UEFA Cup? We suggest that you win by 1-0 on aggregate in the semifinals. This score was lucky for Manchester United (so lucky themselves in the finals against Chelsea), but also to Barcelona, Liverpool, Sevilla, Porto and Valencia.
In the past seasons many clubs fulfilled their dream of lifting a European trophy after minimum wins in the semis. It worked for Liverpool no less than twice: after the aggregate 1-0 against Barcelona they beat Alaves in the 2001 UEFA Cup finals and four years later the story repeated itself against against Chelsea in the Champions League semifinals and Milan in the finals.
The magical 1-0 against Deportivo did the trick for Porto in 2004 Champions League as they went on to defeat Monaco in the finals.
In the same season, Valencia took the UEFA Cup after nailing Villarreal by a mere 1-0.
That was not the end, because a 1-0 against Milan sufficed to Barcelona to reach the 2006 League finals and subsequently the trophy at the expense of Arsenal. The Gunners, incidentally, also reached the finals thanks to a 1-0 over Villarreal.
Amazingly, even Sevilla collected their first UEFA Cup after a 1-0 aggregate against Schalke, and the only goal was scored by now late Antonio Puerta.
The mystique of the minimal win continued this season, as Manchester United defeated Barcelona by 1-0 in the semis.
It is no doubt curious that every final saw many more goals after the single goal in the 180 or 210 minutes, ranging from two in Valencia vs Marseille (2004) and Manchester vs Chelsea (2008) to nine in Liverpool vs Alavés (2001).
Imagine that: Liverpool reached their last two winning finals with a total of two goals in 360 minutes only to score eight goals (plus penalties) in the finals themselves.

Lucky, lucky 1-0

2001. UEFA Cup: Liverpool vs Barcelona 0-0 1-0
2004. Champions League: Porto - Deportivo 0-0 1-0
2004. UEFA Cup: Valencia - Villarreal 0-0 1-0
2005. Champions League: Liverpool – Chelsea 0-0 1-0
2006. Champions League: Barcelona - Milan 1-0 0-0
2006. UEFA Cup: Sevilla - Schalke 0-0 1-0
2008. Champions League: Man. Utd. - Barcelona 0-0 1-0

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