Now THAT Was Fun!

17 Apr

The Guinness haze is finally wearing off but nowhere near fast enough so this will be a very quick and dirty recap. I haven’t been that on the edge of my seat at a game in ages. If the other three games are like that, I’m afraid my head will explode.

It started off as cordially as these things can – it was Carles Puyol’s first game back in three months and the captains greeted each other as they came out of the tunnel. Pep and Mou also took a moment to shake hands.

Mou also stopped to chat with Eric Abidal and shake his hand which was classy. Abidal looks like he’s recovering nicely and it was good to see him.

Of course, all eyes were on the two best players in the world: Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. The press always tries to make it as if the game is solely about them, but we know it’s much, much more.

The game got off to a rousing start and was characterized by challenges early on. A particularly funny moment came at 4′ when Marcelo slid into Messi and ended up taking out a linesman. Whoops! Adriano got the first booking of the game at 9′ by blocking Khedira. Cris took a free kick but Valdes saved it easily. Barca had the majority of the possession but couldn’t score. They also had the first chance on goal with a shot from Messi (19′). Benz had a chance at 22′ and Ronaldo had a great header at 23′ that went over the bar.

At 25′, Villa attempted to go around Iker and went down. Barca called for a penalty, but didn’t get it. Pique wouldn’t stop bitching and was given a yellow card. Di Maria has a chance at 31′ but the angle was too tight. One minute later, Marcelo earned a yellow for a handball. He then made a great run and got the ball to Cristiano – it looked like a done deal until Adriano made a killer sliding challenge. Denied!

Barca got a couple of other shots toward the goal, but Iker snatched them right up. At 45′ we almost got one in – Ramos made a sweet header off a corner kick. Ronaldo almost got it in via a header but Adriano (again) made an excellent clearance. So we were 0-0 at the half.

The second half started much like the first – Barca took possession, but Madrid kept closing them down. Cristiano had another chance that came oh so close at 50′ and we were feeling confident. And then, Albiol (who had been playing well) did something incredibly stupid: He brought down Villa in the box.

For his efforts, he was gifted with a red card and Barca got a penalty kick. He straight up Crouched us! WHAT THE HELL WAS HE THINKING?

And, of course, Messi stepped up to take the penalty shot. And we all know how that turns out, even against San Iker. Sigh.

Well, at least Iker’s arse looks good

So there we were, down to 10 men and Barca had a goal. What did we do? We fought back…and hard. Mou put Ozil on for Benzema at 57′ and Puyol who had been limping had to be stretchered off at 58′ with Keita coming in.

That sucks. I was wondering if he was 100% fit. After being out for 3 months, having El Clasico be your return game may not be the smartest thing. I hope he’s okay. Xavi hit the bar at 62′ scaring the ever lovin’ hell out of us all.

By the way, I think this is one of the best pictures of Xavi that I have ever seen. At 65′ Carvalho got a ball into the box but Pique intercepted. Minute 67 saw a rash of substitutions: Xabi off, Manu on. Pedro off, Afellay on (oh and one of the funniest moments of the second half was Pedro trying to be all flashy and tripping over his own feet and faceplanting –  hey, it happens to everyone now and then). Di Maria off, Arbeloa on. It was starting to look like we wouldn’t equalize. Then, at 81′ Alves took down Marcelo in the box and we got a penalty kick! Marcelo was overjoyed!

Cristiano seems like he was…erm…a little excited at the prospect of the penalty kick too! Blame it on the adrenalin.

Whatever it was, it worked. Crispy blasted a gorgeous shot into the right of the net while Valdes dove to the left. Goal at 82′! Score: 1-1

Sweet! I yelled my lungs out. The pressure didn’t let up for a minute after that. Iker beat Messi to the ball (84′)and Villa came close again (86′), but San Iker again saved the day. At 90′ we almost got the game winning goal. Ozil had a brilliant run, sent the ball to Manu who whacked it over to Sami Khedira. Sami made a strong shot, but Valdes made a good save. Poor Sami! He hasn’t scored yet this season and this would have been such a perfect moment for him. I was really sad about that.

So frustrating! With 4 minutes added on for injury time, I was so freaking nervous! But we held on, with our 10 brave boys fighting their hearts out. Final score: 1-1 I’m completely happy with that. Even though Barca had the bulk of possession, we more than held our own with a man down. It’s going to be a very interesting Copa Del Rey final on Wednesday! A few things: Pepe, playing as a midfielder, was absolutely outstanding today. Hands down my man of the match. Ozil, even though he didn’t come on until the second half, made a great impact on the game. There were also 4 records today: Messi scored his first goal against Mourinho, Cristiano scored his first goal against Barca (!), Mou ended Pep’s perfect record in El Clasico and Messi is the first Barca player to ever score in three consecutive El Clasicos at the Bernabeu. And just a FYI, Villa hasn’t scored in 9 games. Interesting…   Oh before I forget, I was really upset that fans were shining lasers in Messi’s eyes. Shame on you people! I think this is appalling when other fans do it so I’m not going to cut our fans any slack. This shit is very unsporting. You shame the escudo when you do things like this.

This? Very uncool.

Well, I really need to get some sleep – it’s after 2 AM here in NYC. I’ll do a Put On Your Game Face post tomorrow (well, later today). Great, tough game – full of thrills and well matched. Just what I wanted. HALA MADRID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

12 Responses to “Now THAT Was Fun!”

  1. Mais April 17, 2011 at 2:56 am #

    Fun it was! Amongst other things (stressful, nervewrecking, heart-attack promoting) but yes it was fun!!! I agree about Pepe, he was spectacular, so was Khedira I thought, and Ozil was just like that mercury bit in a thermometor, zooming around the place, just amazing. Definitely think you’re right about the laser thing, let’s not stop to their (and others’) low, vulgar levels people!

    Few of my favourite moments:
    1) 2nd and 3rd gif from the bottom, sorry I couldn’t find it separately, but God it was hilarious!!! How Sergio is just telling on Pique:
    ‘you see that tall face of hair? Yeah, that one over there’ and the ref is like ‘hey you!!’ and then the thing that MADE MY LIFE in was that clap he gave the ref when he gave Pique the card. Hahahaha oh Sergio you just win at life, period.

    2) I think it’s worth a mention that was Messi did was despicable (kicking the ball at the fans) apparently it hit a guy real hard on the face. And then he was getting all tough-stuff, I don’t know I just really disliked him in this game.

    3) Watch out for Marcelo’s celebration of the ref giving him a penalty, I thought that was hilariously-noteworthy. He was bromancing with everyone over it.

    4) Ozil is getting SO tan it’s crazy!! Does anyone see a big difference between now and a few weeks ago? Cute as a button in every which way.

    5) I wish Sergio would leave his hair like it is during the stretching period that happens before the match. Just awesomely luscious (hilariously, originally taken from this website)

    Yeah that’s about it…

    • headbandsandheartbreak April 17, 2011 at 4:00 pm #

      Messi rarely loses his cool like that. I was surprised at him. Not nice at all. I hope that Mesut is getting that tan naturally by being outside walking Rocky or sitting poolside with Sami (who is also getting super tan). We’ll know it’s fake n’ bake if he starts getting Forlan orange. 😉 Then we can blame it all on Cristiano!

  2. Jenny April 17, 2011 at 2:58 am #

    Beautiful and witty commentary!

    • headbandsandheartbreak April 17, 2011 at 3:57 pm #

      LOL! I’m going to write all my posts in the middle of the night with a snootful on now. 🙂 I left a bunch of stuff out. Must remedy that.

  3. shiggers April 17, 2011 at 9:46 am #

    Three more games–I don’t know if I can take the tension.

    • headbandsandheartbreak April 17, 2011 at 3:57 pm #

      Me either. Sneak out of work early on Wednesday and join me for the game!

      • shiggers April 19, 2011 at 1:14 pm #

        May do if I can arrange it. What time’s the game again?

        • headbandsandheartbreak April 19, 2011 at 1:19 pm #

          3:30 PM As Morrissey would say “I will be/in the bar/ with my head/on the bar….” 😉

  4. kfunk22 April 17, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

    whoever said marcelo was a poor man’s dani alves must be eating their words right now.

    yes, everyone you mentioned above was amazing (particularly pepe in midfield – i was initially wary, but wow!) but give my little man a bit of love too! he’s been sensational all season long and doesn’t nearly get the credit he deserves!

    • headbandsandheartbreak April 17, 2011 at 3:56 pm #

      I agree – I was nervous about Pepe in midfield, but he was spectacular. Marcelo was great yesterday as well. I did my write up in the middle of the night while I was still buzzed. I left a lot of things out! 😉 Whoever said Marcelo is a poor man’s Dani Alves should be slapped!

  5. suzanne April 18, 2011 at 4:12 pm #

    so excited that i did not miss this match. it was awesome…made more awesome by being at a cool soccer bar mostly full of blaugranas and only a handful of madridistas. i really don’t know how i will be able to handle the next 3 matches.
    really disappointed in messi. that was completely uncalled for. he deserved a card, but as it would’ve been his 2nd no way would they red him out of the match. anyone from madrid would’ve done it…well, we all know what would’ve happened.

    can’t wait for wed!!! HALA MADRID

  6. emily April 18, 2011 at 9:02 pm #

    Picture #6 – check out how high in the air CR is… the boy’s got wings.
    And, they really need to find a way to harness the recuperative powers of these miracle soccer stretchers! Puyi was totally healed by the time he was done running down the clock on RM.
    Was really disappointed that RM couldn’t get any better shots off. We had opportunities all evening to get in on goal, but too many touches, good saves and bad finishing plagued the boys. Maybe we will see these guys complete their tasks on Wed. They must win it for Iker. Hasta El Final!!!

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