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Real Madrid vs Barcelona (2nd Leg)
Barcelona advances to the finals. Recap of the el clasico series, there have been two draws and a win for both teams:
el clasico VI – Champions League Semis leg 2 (May 4): Barcelona 1-1 Real Madrid
Real started strong in the match and was more alive, offensively speaking, compared to their 1st leg performance. However, Barca found their footing and began to dominate the 1st half having a lot of spectacular attempts, putting Casillas to work. During the 2nd half, again, RM started strong with a few attempts but was handled quite well by Barca defense. And then Barca scores the 1st goal when a through-ball from Andres Iniesta was received by Pedro who then beat Iker Casillas in a one-on-one situation and found the back of the net. Real equalizes when a shot from Angel Di Maria hits the post, the ball bouncing back to him and he crosses it to Marcelo who had a clear shot to the goal.
The end part of the match was a bit disappointing as it seemed to fall into the pattern of fouls, time-wasting and some injury feigning. But fortunately, there were no ugly scenes of bad tempers and fighting like the 1st leg match. Although, Real Madrid are protesting Gonzalo Higuain's disallowed goal due to a foul by CRonaldo on Javier Mascherano (I guess preventing Mascherano from defending Higuain) prior to Higuain’s attempt. The replay happened so fast so I’ll try to look for the vid. I wonder what Pierluigi Collina would say about this referee decision.
But, overall, it was Barca’s night as they dominated with 69% possession and had 11 shots (5 on target) and most are probably are Messi’s or had some assist from him. On the other hand, Real Madrid only had 3 shots (1 on target) and still playing a more physically aggressive game as they committed 31 fouls compared to Barcelona’s 10. At least this time, no one from Real Madrid was sent off in this match.
|photo courtesy of Reuters|
photo courtesy of skysports.com
Throughout the match, Leo Messi was a threat to Real Madrid’s defense, making close attempts or providing assists for his teammates. But he got pretty banged up in this game. I guess if you’re a prolific scorer like Messi, you would be a well-marked man. He was tackled a lot, I’d say around 12 times in the match. At one point in the 1st half he was sandwiched by 3 Real players who were tackling him at the same time. In the 2nd half he was sent flying off from Marcelo’s tackle, then his head was pushed down by (was it) Diarra? and seconds later Adebayor pulls him down. I worry about this coz you can pick up scary injuries from this (remember Ronaldo?). I wonder how many times he gets tackled in a game? Pique also had quite a good game, making great calls in tackles, suppressing any attempts from Real and dispossessing the ball from RM.
|Abidal got a touching reception from teammates and fans on his return to the pitch|
photo courtesy of Getty Images
Of course, one of the special moments in the match was when Eric Abidal comes in for Carles Puyol during the 90th minute. Both players got cheers from the fans. I’m glad Abidal has recovered from the removal of the cancer in his liver, he's a very crucial part of Barca’s defense. As the match ended, Barca teammates playfully tossed him in the air a couple of times
|Karanka, Real Madrid's assistant coach. I wouldn't mind seeing him instead of Mourinho :P|
photo courtesy of Real Madrid
Jose Mourinho, of course, missed the match due to a touchline ban he earned during the 1st leg . He opted to watch the game from the hotel. Aitor Karanka, his assistant who took charge of the match, is quite the hottie. :P
|hhhmmmm….why is his hand cupping Morientes’ butt?? :P|
photo courtesy of connect.in.com
Apparently he used to play for Real Madrid as a central defender during the pre-galacticos era, alongside Fernando Hierro, Roberto Carlos, Fernando Morientes, Raul, etc.
|rain, rain go away… a very wet pitch. photo courtesy of uefa.com|
Other match observations: The pitch was quite slippery as there was a thunderstorm prior to the match and it continued to rain until 2nd half. Also, a fan managed to go inside the pitch before the 2nd half was about to kick off, there was a bit of chasing before they caught him.
Sighting: what’s that pink thing on CRonaldo’s right hamstring? Wish I could find a photo of it.
I’m grateful that Balls Channel has aired live telecasts of the Champions League matches but where is the half-time and post match commentary? I know there usually is one…And I know UEFA usually flashes the 1st half stats before going to commercial break. Did Balls cut to commercial way too soon? Would’ve loved to see the 1st half stats. The only 1st half stat I saw that flashed was Barca having 7 attempts and Real Madrid had 0.