Sport » Soccer
Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov

Moscow proves it can host large-scale international sports tournaments

Britain’s two best football clubs showed a beautiful game on Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium as they fought for Europe’s most desirable trophy – the Champions League Cup. On May 21 about 65,000 people packed the stadium on which Russia beat England in October of the last year, making it leave the Euro 2008 qualification campaign. In addition, Russia has proved that it is capable of hosting large-scale international tournaments.

The Champions League final in Moscow ended without any incidents. The capital of Russia will reportedly receive about 35 million pounds sterling ($70 million) for hosting the match. The Moscow-hosted final will double the cost of the last year’s final match, which took place in Athens, Greece (Athens received 18 million pounds).

Photos: The drama of the Champions League Final in Moscow

However, Moscow officials say that the city suffered great losses from the Champions League final. The Moscow authorities spent $227 million for the game, which equals Moscow’s two-year sports development budget.

British fans have spent about 35 million euros during their stay in Russia’s capital. The average spending of one fan during two days made up 650 euros. Many Moscow hotels raised prices for their service on the threshold of the game. The reservation office of Moscow’s luxury Baltschug Kempinski Hotel said that all the rooms for May 20-22 had been reserved a year ago, when the date of the game had been announced. The price on the rooms at five-star Swissotel doubled: $1600 against the usual price of $750.

Manchester United fans started to celebrate the victory of their team immediately after the game. The exulting fans took to the streets of Moscow singing songs and cheering Chelseas’s fans up.

Photos: Man United fans celebrate their victory

There were no serious incidents registered during and after the match. However, scuffles between the fans of Manchester United and Chelsea broke up in Moscow’s center on several occasions, presumably in sports bars. All of them ended peacefully.

Many British fans were unpleasantly surprised to see that there was no alcohol available in Moscow. The sales of all strong alcohol drinks were banned. In general, the foreign guests had a pleasant impression of Moscow. Many of them said that Moscow is a beautiful city.

Official spokespeople for the British Embassy in Moscow described the organization of the Champions League final in Russia’s capital as wonderful.

Edwin van der Sar saved the 14th penalty of the shootout Wednesday to give Manchester United a 6-5 win over Chelsea after a 1-1 draw in the first all-English Champions League final.

Van der Sar dived to his right to block the spot kick from Nicolas Anelka in rain at the Luzhniki Stadium to give the Red Devils their third European Cup title - 10 days after United edged Chelsea to win the Premier League title.

"That's the first penalty shootout I've ever won," said United manager Alex Ferguson, who took his haul of titles with the club to 22 in as many seasons since he joined September 1986.

In a final that included a red card and all the flareups usually associated with meetings between English powerhouses, Cristiano Ronaldo put United ahead in the 26th minute. Frank Lampard equalized in the final minute of the first half.

In extra time, Chelsea hit the post and the bar before goalkeeper Petr Cech saved Ronaldo's penalty in the shootout. But Blues captain John Terry, stepping up for a chance to win the title, slipped and hit the right post.

"I was thinking he's going to score," Rio Ferdinand said of Terry, his defensive teammate on the England squad. "He's a great penalty taker normally but he slipped. Unfortunately someone's got to lose and tonight it's them."

Anderson and Ryan Giggs - making a club record 759th appearance - then hit the target for United, the AP reports.

Chelsea finished the game with 10 men after Didier Drogba was sent off in the 116th minute for petulantly tapping Nemanja Vidic in the face with his hand.