Champions League 2007 - 08, final phase
Unfortunately, due to current lack of resources, this year's covering starts with the semi-finals.
Semi-finals, April 22 - 23 and 29 - 30, 2008
Final, May 21, 2008
Semi-finals leg 1, April 22 - 23, 2008
Liverpool - Chelsea 1 - 1
There were a couple of suspicious incidents but none clear enough. Around the middle of the first half, Drogba was brought down in the box by Carragher; the replay shows that Drogba was the first to use his arm in the struggle and even so Carragher managed to touch the ball slightly, so he would most likely have cleared without problems if both had played correctly. At the other end, Ballack seems to have done a handball in the penalty area around the middle of the second half, the replay is not 100% conclusive but it looks like it; however, the ball was shot at him from very near and his hand was close enough to his body (though not stuck to it) to make things doubtful. Not clear enough to overrule the ref.
Barcelona - Manchester United 2 - 2 (officially 0 - 0)
Marquez was pushed in the box by Brown when jumping for the ball on a corner kick around the middle of the first half. A few minutes later Marquez got even when he clearly brought C. Ronaldo down in the area when he was about to go past him and score; this one should have definitely been granted by the referee but, perhaps because he'd already given them one (which Ronaldo missed in the opening minutes), he decided not to. Bad decision. Nearly identical script in the second half. A few minutes into it, Marquez was again pushed by Brown in the box when jumping for a ball he otherwise may very well have got. Later in the half, it was Ronaldo again, this time fouled from behind, and again it was too obvious for a good ref to miss. A minute or so afterwards, Iniesta was brought down in the other box, but this time things weren't clear since he was the first to use his hand and push, so this time the ref was probably right.
Anyway, one out of five was pretty disappointing for Busacca, 5 penalties in a game is a challenge for any ref but we'd have expected at least 4 from him. This is precisely why any ref, no matter how good, will need video help at least at times.
Semi-finals leg 2, April 29 - 30, 2008
Manchester United - Barcelona 1 - 0
The only notable incident was a handball by Puyol inside the box at begin of the second half; the ref was correct not giving a penalty because the ball was shot from very near by a team-mate.
Chelsea - Liverpool 2 - 3 (officially 3 - 2)
Chelsea scored from a wrong penalty in the first extra-time period. Hyppia brought down Ballack in the box, but Ballack was the first to use his arm to hold Hyppia back, which is only apparent on a very slow replay. In contrast, Hyppia was himself brought down in the Chelsea box in the second overtime half but this time the ref didn't grant it.
Chelsea's first goal may have been preceded by an off-side but it's very hard to tell, the replays seem to show it wasn't. Chelsea had another goal cancelled out for off-side. It was an unusual situation, a shot by Essien from just outside the box but a Chelsea player in an obvious off-side position seems to have indeed obstructed Reina's view so it appears this was a correct decision.
Liverpool (officially Chelsea)
Final, May 21, 2008
Liverpool (officially Chelsea) - Manchester United 2 - 1 (officially 1 - 1, ManU win the cup on penalties)
Chelsea should have had a penalty near the end of the game for a foul on Malouda.
A few minutes before, Drogba also fell in the box and it looked like it was a foul, but it wasn't clear enough and no replay was shown. The Malouda incident also wasn't 100% certain but this time there was a replay and it seems to be the case for a penalty.
In the first half, Malouda again was brought down in the box, but he was off-side himself so no penalty there.
As a result, following our correction scheme, this year's FairFootball UCL winner is Liverpool. Again.
finalist: Manchester United
semi-finalists: Chelsea, Barcelona