It’s a shame that this sort of an image is being used for a Clasico but more on that later. The 2nd leg of SuperCopa at NouCamp finished 3-2 with the aggregate score being 5-4 to Barcelona. The Catalans beating us in the SuperCopa for the very first time. Goals from Barcelona came through Iniesta and a Messi double. While Real scored through Ronaldo and Benzema. Here are my 10 conclusions from the game:
- The defence not the best but not the worst either. It is well average, average to contain Barcelona to be fair. With any other side it can do a good job but given that its hard to imagine winning anything without defeating them, it calls for the defence to be strengthened.
- To be fair, I wouldn’t say any of the goals were defensive lapses. First goal was a brilliant pass by Messi for Iniesta who went clean through to chip over Iker. The second goal came as the first half was about to end with Messi latching on to a Pique pass and then a right footed chip over a charging Casillas and avoiding Ronaldo’s desperate lunge in the process. Third goal was the clincher and proved decisive as Messi smashed the ball in the back of the net with a superb left footed volley with the cross provided by Adriano. No way Casillas could stop that. These in my opinion weren’t hardcore defensive fatalities that we’ve had in the past.
- To give credit where it’s due, Messi is just simply unstoppable when he’s playing at club level. Pepe did so brilliantly last season by playing as a defensive midfielder but now that he’s played in the back four, no one was there to stop him in his tracks. No offence to any Madridistas or Ronaldo fans but Messi is a tad better at this stage.
- Pepe had a mediocre first game of the SuperCopa but he was back to his usual best for the second leg. He made crucial interventions, tackles and best of all, there were no pathetic tackles to get him into trouble.
- Real scored through Ronaldo which was the equaliser in the first half. A shot from inside the box provided two slight touches with Ramos taking the first one and Ronaldo with the second, there was suspicion whether Ramos indeed touched the ball thereby making Ronaldo offside but in the end it went to Ronaldo. Thereby Ronaldo reaching 100 goals as a Real Madrid player. In the second half, as the team tried to get back on level terms and take the game into extra time, Kaka was brought on to replace Ozil. Kaka took the corner, the ball is half cleared inside the box and in the end Benzema tucks it in the back of the net. But as it turned out, the ecstasy was short lived.
- Coentrao started in place of Marcelo at LB. A position he used to play in for Benfica. I was interested in seeing how big an impact he could make and if he could be a perfect replacement for Marcelo if the Brazilian gets injured. But, for me, he wasn’t as influential as Marcelo can be in the position. Maybe it was because it’s his first Clasico or maybe he has yet to form the partnership necessary at the back. Second half started with Coentrao taking the central midfield role and Marcelo going to his usual position of LB.
- On to the despicable scenes at the end of the game. Hoped they didn’t happen but they did. Hope they don’t happen again either. Much respect here to Kaka who as the players were engulfed in a massive brawl stayed away and could only wonder what the hell was happening. At the same time, fair play to Pep Guardiola who prevented his players from rushing onto the pitch just as Cesc was tackled by Marcelo. He held them back from going out onto the pitch but didn’t succeed.
- Contrary to what Iker said of Marcelo’s challenge, I think it was a horrible tackle. It seriously looked like Marcelo was frustrated and took it all out on Cesc. Providing reasoning that he was booed or jeered for the 45mins he played doesn’t mean he would go for a tackle like that. But fair play to him too for going down the tunnel without any sort of protests.
- Over to Mourinho, he showed the club in a poor light with his actions. He clearly pulled the cheek/poked in the eye of Barcelona’s assistant manager – Tito Vilanova as this video clip clearly suggests. Sadly that wasn’t all of it, he even gestured a “you stink” when Messi was near him. Mourinho may be the special one but with this he’s clearly crossed the line and maybe made the situation even worse than what it already was. On the upside, Tito didn’t stand back and take it lightly either. He turned around and slapped Mourinho in the back of the head as the Portuguese boss walked away with a cheeky smile. This resulted in more scuffles as members of Mourinho staff didn’t like what Tito did.
- Ozil who one would think of as the calmest footballer possible lost his cool. Videos show he was hit and pushed by Villa initially. Further there are rumours doing the rounds that Ozil was infuriated because Villa disrespecting Islam. Since there is no credibility to it, I would hope the readers of this post don’t believe it until there is concrete proof to it.
3 days ago monkey chanting no big deal, now really matters; 3 days ago monkey chanting really mattered, now no big deal.