Only the Faint-Hearted Dare Not to Dream

Yahya RisasCorrespondent IApril 15, 2009

LONDON - APRIL 14: Michael Ballack of Chelsea is closed down by Fernando Torres of Liverpool during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Second Leg match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on April 14, 2009 in London, England.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

I have watched football long enough to know that everything is possible, not only in football, but also in sport generally.

Many teams and individuals have defied the odds and pulled off miracles right from under the jaws of defeat, and rewritten history: from Liverpool in Istanbul right through to Jenson Button with Brawn Mercedes.

Some go further, by drawing all kinds of permutations and some call them just coincidences.

I think it's all about belief, as put forward by the treble-winning Man United team in their song, It’s All About Belief.

In that season, Man United had to win games from losing positions on many occasions, notably against Liverpool in the FA cup, Juventus in Champions league semifinal and Bayern Munich in the Champions league final.

These tasks were more daunting than the prospect of winning at the Stadio Dragao in Portugal, a place where they have never won, but as Ferguson said earlier in the week, Man United is a club of many first’s and besides there is a first time for everything.

So why not dream, about winning in Porto and being the first team to defend the champions league, in a year when dreams of the American founding fathers have been realized. YES YOU CAN.

Like Liverpool last night against Chelsea, all their pre-match talk was about re-invoking the spirit of Istanbul and they almost did just that, but, may be Istanbul had a lot to do with destiny more than anything else.

But then again you can fault Rafael Benitez on many things but not giving his troops belief. Needing a three-goal scalp of Chelsea and then taking a 2 goal first half lead.

And then going three goals down and clawing two goals back in a space of two minutes is stuff of legends, but maybe it was just one of those days.

But all they did was believe, and gave themselves a real chance and for the neutrals a splendid game of football.

For Chelsea they are like a man possessed, driven on by that John Terry penalty miss in Moscow, trying to put things right and write their names in History, but Barcelona in the semi final is going to be very tough for them.

Unless they improve their defending massively and hope the adrenaline gathered from playing Barcelona psyches up Petr Cech, because he will be very important for them in the tie, any repeat of last night’s antics at the bridge, then Chelsea might be in for a battering, because Lionel Messi and Co. are simply ruthless.

Having been beaten by the Barcelona in the Champions League final, Arsenal, may feel they have a score to settle, and that drives them on.

The prospect of a march up with Barcelona is enticing for most of those young Arsenal lads, but it remains to be seen if they can cope with the artistry of Lionel Messi on current form, with their ailing defense, but then again, a final is a final and it’s all about belief.

Villarreal would hope they get a positive result at the Emirates and extinguish the demons cast by that late penalty miss by Juan Roman Riquelme against Arsenal in 2006.

In the first half of the first leg, you thought it would be second time lucky only to be undone by a fantastic Adebayor equalizer.

Going into the second leg without Marcos Senna is not an easy task for them, but they need to take a leaf from Liverpool’s performance at the bridge and hope that Arsenal’s ailing defense cracks.

But all said, I sincerely hope, that for football’s sake, Barcelona win this season’s Champions League. Because I think football owes this Barcelona side, this Champions League.