After what has been an embarrassing week for football in Spain with their top 2 clubs having a school ground spat, some football actually broke out at the Nou Camp tonight.
That’s not to say that the allegations of racism and the behaviour in general is as trivial as a school ground spat, as it’s not. The racism issue is something that UEFA, the Spanish FA and Barcelona have to take seriously, something I can’t honestly say UEFA have a strong history of doing.
Onto the football now and I thought that it wasn’t a bad game overall. Another great Barcelona goal put the tie to bed, but not before Gonzalo Higuain’s goal was ruled out.
Should it have been ruled out or not? It’s a hard one to call, but there was barely a complaint from the Madrid players.
Ronaldo did trip Javier Mascherano, but I suppose in a way it was harsh to rule it out, but if it had been allowed to stand, what would we all be saying?
I thought on the whole the referee did well, he tried his best to keep the game flowing and 22 men on the pitch. Real benefited most from this, as on another night Ricardo Carvalho certainly would have walked before half time for fouls on Messi alone.
Xavi Alonso and Adebayor were also lucky not to see red in the 2nd half, if this is the usual standard of tackles by Madrid players, then no wonder they can’t finish an El Classico game with 11 men – what the hell is Mourinho complaining about?
Whether it is right or wrong for a referee to try and keep 22 players on the pitch is open to debate, personally I believe it is supposed to be an entertainment sport and we don’t want games being ruined by referees going 100% to the rule book and not being able to show some discretion.
Ultimately I think it was Mourinho’s tactics in the 1st leg that cost his side. For Real Madrid to put 11 men behind the ball at home and play for a 0-0 is unforgivable, it shows vulnerability in Mourinho, he is clearly scarred by the 5-0 drubbing earlier this season.
Real showed they could compete tonight, ok, so Barcelona dominated possesion, but they always do. The facts are that Barcelona have the luckiest bloke in the world in goal – his CV certainly doesn’t reflect his ability as a goalkeeper, Mascherano at centre-back and not a great defence in general. With these glaring weaknesses if Real had a go, who knows what might have happened?
At least they didn’t get stuffed tonight, after Mourinho’s antics over the last 7-10 days I would imagine some high up people at Real might not be too impressed with the clubs image getting dragged through the mire.
A good thrashing tonight could have hastened Jose’s exit and probably meant a return to the Premier league – please no, keep him in Madrid, or if not, then anywhere but back in England.