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Terry Was a Stand-in for Key Penalty Miss

Chelsea's season ended as it had begun, with a penalty shoot-out defeat by Manchester United, though only one has left them numbed. John Terry trudged up the steps to receive his runners-up medal soaked to the skin but with tears clearly streaking down his face and utter devastation etched across his brow. The Community Shield loss meant nothing; this was an agonizing denouement for a fine team to endure. That Terry had been left to take one of the first five penalties itself was down to Didier Drogba's sending off, four minutes from the end, for a ridiculously petty slap at Nemanja Vidic.

"John was not in the first five to take a kick but things changed during the game," said the Chelsea assistant manager Henk ten Cate. "The sending-off of Drogba made us change it [the order]. It's unbelievable that it should happen to him, though."

For a few giddy seconds, with the ball placed on the penalty spot and the Chelsea captain standing at the top of his short run-up, the Londoners must have felt they had a grip, albeit greasy, on this trophy. The slip on the turf that took Terry's standing leg from him as he swung with his right wrecked that dream. Momentum veered decisively in the shoot-out as the center-half's shot squirted agonizingly wide of the right-hand post. There was an inevitability that United would prevail after that, with Nicolas the unfortunate subsequent miss.

Yet it is Terry who will be choked most by this defeat. He and Frank Lampard, so often the inspiration for this side, had resisted when United threatened to overrun them in the early stages. Their efforts, coupled with Petr Cech's reflexes, had kept the deficit at a single goal. Chelsea were by far the more threatening side after they had equalized, sheer power driving them forward and eroding United's initial dominance. Terry might have been the hero here but ended a broken man. He will wake this morning still wondering why fate has proved this cruel.

"You can see what it means to John," said Lampard afterwards. "He's Mr Chelsea, Chelsea through and through. He wanted this more than anyone at the club. Not many center-halves would have stood up there and taken the fifth penalty, a penalty of that importance, in the shoot-out. That's testament to the man. No one at Chelsea will criticize him at all. John's a man's man. He did what he did and he will be back."

That will take time. The captain had been inconsolable at the end, first comforted by Paulo Ferreira before a soaked Avram Grant sought him out amid the clutch of broken Chelsea bodies.

"He slipped," said Ten Cate. "We practiced penalties so much all last week and he was very confident. We were all very confident. He was not supposed to be in the first five. John stepped up when he wasn't supposed to."

Steve Clarke, his fellow assistant manager and the chief executive Peter Kenyon each offered his own consolation as United players and supporters celebrated all around. Ricardo Carvalho later added they "couldn't stop JT from crying" in the dressing room long after the final whistle. "He couldn't say anything but he was very sad and cried," said Grant. "But I told him he's the main reason we are here in the first place. We had difficult times this season but he is part of the team and has been great all season. He was great in the semi-final [against Liverpool] and in this game. He was the reason United didn't create any chances after the first 30 minutes. I feel so sorry for him and the team. But he is still a great captain and a great player."

The manager took his team aside before they trudged up the steps and into a huddle and expressed his pride in their resilience this season. They have ended empty- handed but their recovery following the departure of Jose Mourinho in September has still been staggering. It was mere chance that Anelka, the only player Grant bought in the mid-winter window who has played, missed the decisive penalty.

Doubts persist over whether the Israeli will remain at the helm, with Roman Abramovich unable to watch much of the shoot-out from the stands so anxious had he become, though this was no time for Grant to contemplate the future. "We hit the post, hit the bar, had more shots than them," he added with a sigh. "We dominated the game. Even in the penalties we had our chance but we still lost. But I told them that I'm very proud of them.

"They've worked hard all year. Now we need to continue. It'll take a long time to get over this. One penalty can make all the difference between happiness and sadness. I cannot say I am happy now. As for the future, this is the last thing I'm thinking about now. Not now." Clarity on that situation is to come. For now there is only abject disappointment.


I guess most of us knew, but still..

I was kind of expecting sheva to come on instead of belletti though..

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jt should have just follow the list....

the coaches know who can take it better....Jt was big and strong physically for a penalty taker perhaps he slipped because of that

but if that penalty had went in things would be diff

ronaldo would be crying like a baby

too bad....just too bad....and thanks to drogs foolishness

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I don't care what anyone says about Terry the man is an absolute diamond, must have been tragic for him. Proud of him, the club on the whole, and indebted to every supporter who made their way to Moscow to support the Chels. To think how far we've come in the space of 20 years is unbelievable.

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I don't care what anyone says about Terry the man is an absolute diamond, must have been tragic for him. Proud of him, the club on the whole, and indebted to every supporter who made their way to Moscow to support the Chels. To think how far we've come in the space of 20 years is unbelievable.

Nice opening post :mellow:

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Kalou could've taken it then we could've won etc

If we feel like this JT must feel worse and hopfully he'll get over it

And agree on your post.Dont feel like he's an idoit.Brave etc ok it backfired but least he didnt laugh it off.Showed how much it meant etc and needs a hug!

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JT played top all game long,saved us on a number of occasions during the game and as well in the past.I would never blame John,it was just not our night.If we had half the luck United had we would won in regular time.

Keep your head up captain :blue scalf:

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Drogba was a complete twat for getting himself sent off, & he probably knows it... to do it at all was daft. but to question the red card & trudge off like a spoilt child was just stupid.

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Anelka unhappy with Blues role

Nicolas Anelka has voiced his frustration at being asked to play out of position for Chelsea, while he has also admitted that he refused to take one of the first five penalties in the UEFA Champions League final.

Anelka has not been a regular starter since moving to Stamford Bridge from Bolton in the January transfer window and he has often had to play on the wing rather than in his preferred front role.

The Frenchman claims that he was led to believe he would start alongside Didier Drogba in most games, but Avram Grant has been reluctant to change his formation.

He is unhappy with his role and has demanded to be used as a striker when the new season gets underway.

"Since I have joined the club, I never played in my right position, as second centre-forward," Anelka told L'Equipe.

"I have always played on the left or the right. I have never said anything so far. I was a new man in the team, coming from Bolton. But next season it will be different, I won't be a new man anymore, I will be a Chelsea player.

"When I came here, I was told I will play in a 4-4-2 system. I didn't come to play on the right or left.

"I don't have to prove my value in the centre. We could have played together with Didier Drogba.

"But we never even worked on our partnership during training sessions."

Anelka came on in extra-time in the Champions League final before his sudden death penalty was saved by Edwin van der Sar to give victory to Manchester United.

He admits it was difficult to play a part in the shoot-out after coming on so late, adding: "I never thought I would come onto the pitch.

"I stayed sitting on the bench for 110 minutes, and then I have been asked to play after just one minute of warm-up.

"I don't know if it has ever happened in a Champions League final, with such an intensity, to play without a warm-up.

"I was asked to be among the five penalty kickers. I said 'out of the question. I came in almost as right full-back and you want me to kick a penalty?' Finally I had to go as number seven."


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sheva hasnt played for some time.....he might not be up for it....

but beletti took it cooly....which is a surprise....i was shock when beletti stepped up

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I never had a doubt about Belletti (Brazilian) but i honestly thought it had the makings of bringing sheva on and him putting in the 5th pen. He scored the winning pen easily in 2003. Fucked the last one in 2005 but at least hes been in the situation. Hes an excelent pen taker in general. Trick missed.

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Though to be fair it werent a case of being a poorly taken pen.It was the fact he slipped so could've happened to Sheva,Drogba etc.

So dont see how it was Drogbas fault.If it was a poorly taken pen fair enough but it werent so..ok the sending off was but the loss werent.They said the pitch was dodgy anyway

Edited by Laylabelle
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