Sao Paulo on the other hand illustrated to the footballing world exactly why they are champions of South America, playing some breathtaking football in the opening period. With Costa Rican outfit Deportivo Saprissa having won the play-off for third place in the warm up game before the final, in front of a largely disinterested crowd, it is the Americas who Dominoqq have best acquitted themselves in this year’s tournament in Japan. Europe has failed to produce a King of Kings once again.
Liverpool were poor at best in the first half, with the Brazilians deserving of the advantage they took into the interval. In the second period however, Sao Paulo were virtually non existent, forced to desperately defend their slender lead. Liverpool spent the entire second half orchestrating wave after wave of attacks, bombarding the Sao Paulo goal from the first whistle until the last. As Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez said after the game: “The first thing I can say is congratulations to my players as we deserved to win. We had 21 shots and 17 corners and hit the bar twice and scored three disallowed goals. We couldn’t have done anymore to win.”
You can quote all the statistics in the world though, but the only one that matters is the final score line. One last glimpse at the scoreboard as the referee blew his whistle for a final time confirmed for me and the other 66,000 present that the game finished without us having equalised. Some of the decisions made by the officials may have been harsh, dubious, ridiculous, even scandalous …but the simply fact is that with refereeing judgments you’re as likely to be a beneficiary as a victim. We didn’t score so we deserved what we got: nothing.
Liverpool’s failure to cancel out the Brazilian’s first half strike outlined our main areas of weakness in terms of personnel, emphasising in the cruelest of contexts, that despite being European Champions we still remain three or four short players of being a truly formidable side. With the transfer window just
around the corner, …