Five Stars And Flops From The Champions League Final

Chelsea won the Champions League for the first time ever in their history on Saturday after beating Bayern Munich on penalties in the final at the Allianz Arena in Munich.

Bayern had looked headed for victory after Thomas Muller had nodded them ahead in the 82nd minute, only for Didier Drogba to draw the Blues level with a powerful header of his own six minutes later. Arjen Robben then wasted a glorious opportunity to win the game when he saw his penalty saved by former team-mate Petr Cech in the first half of extra-time, and with neither side able to find the back of the net again, the match went to the dreaded penalty shootout. Following misses by Juan Mata and Ivica Olic, the score was evenly poised at 3-3 when Bastian Schweinsteiger saw his effort being saved by the fingertips of Petr Cech and onto the post, setting the stage for Drogba to win the match for Chelsea with a well-struck effort into the bottom corner.

Here, Into The Top Corner takes a look at the five stars and flops from last nigh’s Champions League final at the Allianz Arena.

Flops

5. Salomon Kalou – 6/10

Was given an advanced role in midfield but was ineffective for the most of the match. Squandered dangerous counterattacking opportunities by wandering needlessly offside. Hit Chelsea’s best effort on target in the first half but was rightly replaced by Fernando Torres in the second half. 4.

Juan Mata – 6/10

Showed glimpses of his technical excellence but the Spaniard was a completely peripheral figure in this encounter. On the rare occasion Chelsea attacked in numbers, the ex-Valencia man looked dangerous, but this occurred on only a couple of times. Missed his penalty which summed up his evening.

3. Jose Bosingwa – 5.5/10

Nearly scored an embarrassing own goal midway through the first half when Frank Lampard played him an awkward pass along the six-yard box. Was exposed a lot throughout the game by both Ribery and Cotento on the left flank.

2. Arjen Robben – 5/10

Missed the penalty which could have won the game for the hosts. Looked selfish on many occasions and miscued many crosses. The Dutchman probably had the maximum touches of the ball in the whole game but made a meal of the individual possession. He was expected to be Bayern’s star for the night but was way far from it.

1. Mario Gomez – 5/10

For a player who has scored 13 goals in the Champions League this season, some of the missed opportunities seemed rather unblievable. He had Bayern’s biggest chance in the first half but he shot well over the bar and it was just a night where he failed to have his shooting boots on. The Bundesliga top scorer did, however, to convert his penalty to give his team a 2-0 lead in the shootout but in the end the missed chances will haunt him more.

Stars

5. Thomas Muller – 7.5/10

Muller was fairly anonymous in the first half but came to life in the second period when Jupp Heynckes shifted him out to the right of the attack. Following the switch, the 22-year-old started to make his way into more attacking positions, and opened the scoring when he made one such run in behind the Chelsea backline and nodded past Cech.

4. Philipp Lahm – 7.5/10

Lahm put in a real captain’s display on the night, defending well against his direct opponent and also providing his team with plenty of attacking run. He played in a couple of sublime crosses that were unfortunately wasted by Gomez and company.

3. Ashley Cole – 8/10

Just proved to the world why he is the best left-back at the moment. Even though his lapse of concentration led to the opening goal, he was very solid at the back and defended his heart & soul out. He made a couple of vital blocks from Robben (one cross and one shot) and later went out scored a well  placed penalty during the shootout.

2. Didier Drogba – 9/10

Drogba was absolute immense on the night as he toiled manfully on his own in attack, and eventually pulled his side level with a powerful header two minutes from time. And when it mattered most, he showed real composure in the shootout to send Neuer the wrong way and win the Champions League for Chelsea.

1. Petr Cech – 9.5/10

Drogba was the official Man of the Match for the game but Cech was our star of the evening. While he hasn’t had the best of seasons this year, he showed why he’s still regarded as a world-class keeper by producing the goods on the biggest of stages. The Czech international came up with a number of excellent stops in the 120 minutes, none better than when he kept out Robben’s penalty, a feat he went on to better in the shootout when he got the slightest – but most vital – of touches to push Schweinsteiger’s effort onto the post.

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