We’re down to the final four in the CM9798 Cup, as we look to celebrate 20 years of CM9798 by crowning a winner and giving away a load of stuff from the era. If you don’t follow our Twitter page, you’ll have missed that we gave away France 98 Monopoly this week. People love France 98 Monopoly. Anyway, here’s the semi-final lineup and we’ll get through both matches today
Without further padding, let’s get straight to match one.
Ajax vs Barcelona
Ajax won the toss so they are the home team here. Ajax were impressive in their demolition of Real Madrid in the previous round, with Batistuta netting a hat-trick. Mark has been dealt a blow though, Ronald De Boer is out injured, so Andrej Demtsjenko is in on the left with Laudrup switching to the right. Demtsjenko made our Community XI shortlist so he’s obviously got some talent. Let’s get a word from the recently married Mr Carruthers
Mark, do any of the quarter final results surprise you?
Yes! Our win over Real Madrid was a big surprise. I think it’s safe to say we were outsiders so to beat such a great side is a major boost
Will you do anything differently here to cope with Barcelona?
Barca is the biggest test we could have had at this stage and they’re one of the favourites but we will give it our all and stick to what we know we are good at. I think we’ll be a handful for anyone but we will have to be at our best to win.
Meanwhile over in the Barcelona camp, Rivaldo is out injured so Ivan De La Pena is in the 11. Barcelona came through a tight match with AC Milan in the quarters, but how will they get on away from home?
Will you approach this game any differently being away from home?
I’m not approaching this game any differently to the last; you have to treat each team with the respect it deserves, which is why I’ve tried to work to the strengths of the players and maintain an attacking formation.
Do any of the results so far surprise you?
I suppose I was surprised to beat a Milan side that was such a complete team, I think I was fortunate their attacking prowess had an off day.
Here’s how Barcelona are setting up:
It was that man Demtsjenko who gave Ajax a first half lead with a header from a corner – Ajax have proven surprisingly proficient from set pieces in this tournament. At half time, it was one of the more one sided contests we’ve seen.
KingoftheRooks got the hairdryer out at half time and Barcelona were much improved for the second half…but theyc ouldn’t find a way through!
That has to go down as a shock, especially to Fernando Couto who takes man of the match.
It was pretty much all Barcelona in the second half
Poor finishing from Barcelona has cost them though, Sonny Anderson played like Jason Lee and so it’s Ajax who advance. But who will they face?
Dortmund vs Juventus
Dortmund won the toss, so we’re off to Germany for a repeat of the 96/97 Champions League final. Dortmund are managed by Dan, or @winkveron if you prefer Twitter handles, and enjoyed an entertaining 3-2 win over Man Utd in the Quarter Finals. But how do you prepare for Del Piero, Zidane and now Alan Shearer? Tell us, Dan…
Are you sticking with the same system or do you have anything up your sleeve to combat Juventus?
We’re setting up the same, hopefully with a few less injuries this time!
We’re down to 4 teams now, who are favourites in your opinion?
Juventus were my pre-tournament favourites and they still are! This will be a tough game.
Lovely stuff. Dan piling the pressure on the visitors, but what does Ross make of it all? He’s got Alan Shearer back from injury to add to his wealth of attacking talent…
Ross, will you be changing your setup at all for this game?
Well Super Al is back. He’s sure to get me a goal and has settled well.
Do any of the results so far stick out in your mind?
I didn’t expect Man Utd to go out, that came out of the blue. Mainly because I have Twitter on night mode now.
Har-Har. Who would you pick as winners from the final 4 if not you?
The team we are playing are dark horses with their noses coming through.
The seagull follows the trawler, yeah? Prophetic words from the Juventus manager, but will it inspire his team? It’s line-ups time!
Two similar systems with just one change for both sides. Lars Ricken is back in for Dortmund whilst Shearer replaces Inzaghi for Juventus. Scott Booth is also back for Dan but he’s on the bench. Let’s football.
Dortmund came flying out of the blocks and got their reward on 24 minutes when Ronaldo rammed home after Sammer’s shot was parried by Peruzzi following a corner. Juventus barely got a sniff as Dortmund overwhelmed them, indeed Ross will have been grateful for Peruzzi or else it would have been far worse.
Steffen Freund went off injured, but that was as troubling as it got for Dortmund
Ross gave his side a good old rollicking at half time and were level on 56 minutes when Shearer seized on a loose backpass from Cesar and slipped it beyond Barthez to make it 1-1. The game was back in the balance and Ross was like a shark smelling blood.
Against the run of play though, Dortmund struck. Kirovski slipped in substitute Scott Booth, who had replaced Chapuisat, and the Scot kept his cool to put his side back in the lead. Why was Scott Booth at Dortmund? I have no idea. Ross reached for the kitchen sink
Julio Cesar limped off for Dortmund, and with Feiersinger not as solid, Juventus were able to pile on late pressure. On 82 minutes, Shearer hit the post and substitute Inzaghi fired the rebound over the bar, but Dortmund were able to cling on and book their place in the final. Quite the game!
Peruzzi may have got man of the match, but Dortmund only managed one shot in the second half…
With that, our final is set – Dortmund against Ajax, with the venue to be decided. Ooooh it’s squeaky bum time
Ahead of the grand final next week, I will be giving away this here prize bundle (plus some vouchers from our kind sponsors Classic11):
All I need you to do is predict the score, the first goal scorer and the time of the first goal for the final. Look out for the Tweet and Facebook post during the week to get your entries in. See you next week, suits on.
The CM9798 Cup is sponsored by Classic11