Liverpool 5 Celtic 1: match report from Hartford
Posted by 4pool on July 27, 2004, 11:12:46 AM
ChampionsWorld Series: Liverpool 5 Celtic 1
Monday 27 July 2004 8pm (EST), Rentschler Field, East Hartford, CT, USATeam: Kirkland, Riise, Carragher, Hyypia, Finnan, Kewell, Biscan, Hamann, Smicer, Owen, Baros
Subs: Cisse, Pongolle, Gerrard, Diao, Murphy, Henchoz (all 45), Warnock (69)
Goals: Riise (5), Owen (17), Cisse (62), Henchoz (69), Cisse (76)
Well what a night!
As is usual for a match in the USA, there was a lot of tailgating going on as we approached the stadium. Vehicles were lined up all around the ground in the car park with food and drink flowing. My son and I arrived around six thirty only to have to park a mile away from the stadium. We walked past many a tailgater ... Celtic and Liverpool supporters having something before the match.
Once in the stadium it was soon obvious that there was a problem that the Champions World tour need to sort out. No flags or banners allowed.
Well you can imagine the "discussions" going on between those that brought them, Celtic and Liverpool alike, and the stewards/staff. Every time someone would try to hang theirs, they were told not to. It appeared at one stage that one the staff was going to get us an ok to hang them that we never got th ego ahead to unfurl our colours. None of the banners would have interfered with any advertising as the walls over the railings were blank. The adverts were all on boards around the pitch. If this happens at the other tour sites, there is going to be some negative feelings towards coming to America to put on a proper show of Red might. Rick Parry needs to sort this out with the tour organizers.
As I talked to some lads who were over from Liverpool on an organized tour through the club and they were not happy campers when told not to hang the banners that they've taken with them all over Europe. (They'd paid 1,500 quid for the full tour and stay at the team hotels, match tickets, air fares, transport to and from, etc included).
Anyway, there was a match!
Liverpool were off to the races from the start and Celtic were looking like a second division side. My son and I were in the Kop behind the goal that Liverpool attacked in the first half. Celtic had their lot in the other end, but there was no segregation and supporters mingled about the stadium and there was some good banter before, during (well from our end anyway ... they went quiet soon in), and after the match. Two of the Tartan Army were in our end in the front row. We stood the entire match. The first half we were just to the left of the Celtic keeper Marshall's goal in the third row. We moved down to the front row for the second half. Even with "seats" assigned, people moved where they wanted and stood and sang.
The travelling Kop was in full voice from the off with YNWA belting out just when the match started. They did not play Gerry Marsden's YNWA over the tannoy before the match, so we had to do it for ourselves. (Another thing Parry should sort on the preseason tour to bring the full LFC experience to the States). My Mum and brother who have watched the previous Champions World Tour matches this summer had told me there was no singing at any of them. I told her maybe the microphones don't pick it up but assured them we'd be picked up! I called her in the second half and she said she could hear our lot. The Fox Sports World commentators also made comment about Liverpool's supporters and their singing. So I let her listen to us sing a few songs and she heard the roar as Cisse got the 4th goal.
Well back to the match. We dominated from the start. If you get a chance to see the game Celtic hardly had much of an attack until near the end. And as it was at our end of the ground, even that gave us a chance to sing a song for Carragher after he'd made a couple of great tackles/clearences for us.
Didi touched on a free kick for a Riise rocket and it was one-nil. Cue the John Arne Riise song. Milan was energetic and looked up to us when the Milan...Milan...Milan chants got going. But, as has been noted before, he can get a little selfish and a couple of times Owen was is in the clear, arm raised, and Milan ran myopically into a blind alley.
I had just tried the One Michael Owen chant, without any success, as I wanted Owen to know we still rightly proud of him, even when some supporters seem far keener to chant Milan's name more frequently. Michael had just missed a half chance when I strectched my vocal cords, and wouldn't you know it, we attack again and Owen lobs the keeper for number 2, and NOW the Kop gets the One Michael Owen chant going. But I'm still taking the credit for spurring Owen to greatness in front of us.
The Celtic keeper, Marshall, turned and looked around at the Kop. I don't think he knew what it was like to hear our fans. He did this repeatedly.
Igor, once again after Wrexham, had a good match from midfield and the Igor..Igor..Igor chant got going a few times. He linked really well with the front two and got into the box on a number of occasions. Maybe, under Rafa, Igor will be a revelation and "some" supporters will have to take him off the useless list they have put him on. He got stuck in and had some good touches going forward to provide chances for Milan and Owen.
Vladi did well and you could see he and Milan still had some understanding from their Euro 2004 exploits. Harry K had a couple of moments especially with Riise overlapping. We attacked more from down the left than the right. Finnan came up in support as well, but Riise was more effective. Whether Celtic were weaker down that side or what, I can't say as I was focused on seeing our lads and not theirs. We finished the first half with a fine rendition of YNWA as we knew there would be major changes in the second half.
Kirkland clapped the Kop as he came down our end to start the match as "soon to be England's number 1" got going. Now it was our chance to see Cisse and Sinama pair up. Well first off, Cisse looks like he's got jets under his feet as he blew by the Celtic defenders time and again. He WILL be a Kop favourite. He hit the post early on and of course ended up scoring two goals. He could have had 4. Sinama was a live wire as well. Maybe Rafa will keep the two partnerships of Owen & Baros and Cisse & Sinama? But I rather doubt it. Cisse and Owen will probably be the featured pairing before the tour is over. However, Rafa may have seen how Cisse and Sinama linked up because they seemed to play off each other well.
Stevie G came on in the second half and stamped his authority on the match with some of his 30 yard through balls. He and Murphy were paired together. The first half had Biscan and Hamann in central midfield. Warnock also came on and did fairly well. Carra was directing the defence and you could tell he's a "leader" back there.
Well one one of the strangest things you could ever see happend next. Henchoz scored!!!! His shot looped into the far end of the net and the Kop went wild. Even the players seemed amused and there was a big group of them patting him on his back. As he also scored one in training over here, he's now a threat for the golden boot!
During the second half, those that played the first did some extra warm down running. Kewell came by us and even though we chanted his name he seemed not to notice. Not sure if he was just concentratiing on his fitness or what, but he didn't smile as he ran by us three or four times. Owen and Milan gave us a wave.
Diao fouled one of their's in the box. It was a good call by the ref. He was just a little late. They scored the pen to at least give the Celtic fans something to cheer about (we hardly heard them the whole match). Kirkland dived to his left, which was the correct choice, and got a right hand to the shot but it was to powerful for him to stop from going into the net. He got the ball and tossed it back upfield. We sang Liverpool, Liverpool to support the lads and then Cisse scored his second shortly after, with good work by Murphy, so normal service was resumed.
YNWA was belted out at the end. A few shirts exchanged by Liverpool and Celtic players. Those that played the second half went on a few laps to warm down and we sang Cisse..Cisse..Cisse when they came by and he gave us a smile and wave. The second time round we belted out YNWA again and all the players clapped. They then went by the bench for some light stretching and as we were leaving, I looked down and Cisse had gone to the stands on that side and had tossed his shirt to some of the Liverpool fans who were over there.
We had the Rafa, Rafael chant going both halves and after the match. I couldn't see his reaction from our end but he has to know by now, he's made a million friends coming to our club.
One last comment. They were selling a Champions World tour t-shirt with all the sides participating. Now why would anyone buy one of those when the Man Utd badge was dead smack in the middle of the rest? They did sell a Celtic/Liverpool logo'd only shirt which got some business. The stadium was 2/3rd full with just around 25,000 there.
Well that's the story of this poor boy ... your humble correspondent ...© 4pool 2004
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