The Champions League is winding down in 2008 and the semifinals were just completed today. Yesterday, Manchester United defeated Barcelona 1-0 to win the 2 game series on aggregate 1-0. This ensured the first all-England final since the competition began some 15 seasons ago. In today's match, Frank Lampard returned to the Chelsea lineup after a couple of weeks away. Lampard was at his mother's bedside in hospital, though he did participate in a match against Liverpool--today's opponent. Frank's mother passed away last week at age 58.
With the first game ending 1-1 at Liverpool on a last minute own goal giving Chelsea a leg up, the game at Stamford Bridge loomed large, with the Blues unbeaten in several years at home. Didier Drogba opened the scoring with Fernando Torres equalizing for the Reds in the second half. As the regulation 90 minutes was not enough to settle the semifinal, 30 minutes of added extra time was played. At 98 minutes, Frank Lampard stepped up to the penalty spot as a reward for teammate Michael Ballack being taken down in the penalty area moments before. He promptly sent Chelsea in front with Drogba adding insurance a few minutes later. Liverpool got a late goal to make it close, but it is Chelsea who will face Manchester United in Moscow on May 21.
All of us have faced adversity in the past year as mortgage professionals. We've been disparaged in the press and on television. We've been vilified by Congress and in state capitals. Our production has dropped along with all others in the housing industry. But, as individuals, we do have the ability to look forward with determination. Can you imagine the thoughts running through Lampard's mind as he pondered his penalty kick? The emotions were set loose after he successfully buried the kick past a wrongly guessing Jose Reina who dove the other way. And now for the first time Chelsea have a chance to win the Champions League.