This wasn’t a very difficult decision. In Fact, I had left my choice for a nomination till today, as I knew without a doubt that the right man would arise during the Spanish Cup El Clasico on Wednesday night. Last season had a revealed a few potential candidates during the run of matchups between the Spanish giants. Few will forget the atrocious display of simulation by Daniel Alves and Sergio Busquets during the first leg of the Champions League semi-final.
After a lengthy break, a new season has begun. Considering Real Madrid had four players sent off in five match-ups last season, one could imagine that José would have attempted enforcing some sort of discipline amongst his squad as they embark on a refreshed race with the Catalans for Silverware. One may even believe that he might possibly attempt some level of self-control. If so, you were horribly mistaken.
FC Barcelona showed no signs of easing up after snatching another silver token from the white-knuckled grip of Real Madrid in the closing stages of their home leg of the Supercopa de España last night. It was expected to be an explosive show and once again, Godzilla and King Kong did not disappoint.
Fans had barely finished digesting their first beers when Andreas Iniesta eased on to a video game-styled through ball from Lionel Messi to chip it past Iker Cassilas to put them up 1-0. Five minutes later and it was level peg at 1-1 as Christiano Ronaldo–who had already threatened the Barco goal earlier on–deflected a pass-shot from Karim Benzema off of his shin, despite much offside protest by the Barca defence.
Real Madrid were dumped out of the Champions League by their bitter rivals Barcelona last night after an aggregate score of 3 – 1, but both games were overshadowed by the behaviour of fans, players and club officials.
Boss Mourinho was sent off in the first leg for disputing a red card and is also in trouble for later comments.
“To talk like that has been harmful for Real Madrid,” Calderon told BBC Sport.
A bad-tempered first-leg match erupted at half-time when there was a fracas on the touchline as the players were leaving the field, which resulted in Real reserve-keeper Pinto being shown a red card.
There are games you watch with excitement for the sake of the league position your favourite team is fighting for. There are games you watch with a heavy basket of planned banter when you and your mates see your favourite clubs go head to head. Then there are games that, due to their sheer magnitude, hype and near guarantee of fireworks almost force your attention, whether you watch them as a bleeding, die-hard supporter or just simply as a pure football fan. 27th April 2011. The Bernabéu. UEFA Champions League Semi-Final first leg. El Clásico. No exception.
Last night saw the 3rd installment to the four part mini-series that began on the 16th April this year and it more than held up it’s promise of entertainment.
The first crowd lifting chance came from the Catalans in the 10th minute when a regaining of possession in the visitors half saw some pace changing pass and run play by Lionel Messi and Xavi to David Villa on the far right of who proceeded with a strong run along the big box to end with an immensely close, but off target shot just past the far post. (more…)
The first 90 minutes at the Mestalla had ended goalless, with Madrid on top in the opening period and Barca better after the break.
But despite the Catalans’ superior possession in extra-time, Mourinho’s men looked dangerous on the break and after Ronaldo had angled a low shot just wide, the Portuguese beat Jose Manuel Pinto with a brilliant header following Angel di Maria’s pinpoint cross.
Pinto started in goal instead of Victor Valdes, as he had done all the way through the competition.
Spurs were unable to produce the miracle required to overcome Real as they exited the competition with a quarter-final second leg defeat thanks to Heurelho Gomes’ second-half clanger.
Gomes has been a pillar of the club’s domestic and European campaigns this year, but his failure to hang on to Cristiano Ronaldo‘s routine 30-yard drive ensured that any chance Spurs had of coming back from the four-goal deficit they accrued in the Bernabeu were over in the 50th minute.
Spurs threw everything they had at their highly-decorated opponents in the first half and had two convincing penalty appeals turned down.
Former Arsenal man Emmanuel Adebayor took his tally against Spurs to nine in nine matches by heading home either side of half-time to rock the visitors, who had been reduced to 10 men after Peter Crouch’s 15th minute dismissal for two bookings.
Harry Redknapp’s miserable night was completed by second-half strikes from Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel Di Maria, meaning that Tottenham will have to overhaul Real and stop Jose Mourinho’s chances of picking up his third winner’s medal.
Gareth Bale offered brief glimpses of hope for Spurs, but their numerical advantage, and a top-drawer performance from Real’s attack, meant they never really looked like grabbing an away goal that would have given them a fighting chance of staying in the quarter-final tie.