I wasn’t massively surprised to see that tonight’s so-called El Classico turned out to be nothing of the sort, but I didn’t expect it too be anywhere near as bad as it was.
I also didn’t expect Real Madrid to go gung-ho and play into Barcelona’s hands, and why should they have? We all know what happened in the Nou Camp earlier in the season when they tried to go toe-to-toe with Barca.
But what I couldn’t believe was Barcelona allowing themselves to get sucked into Mourinho’s trap in the 1st half.
Why did they let the game become scrappy and stop – start with the awarding of endless free kicks? They then also got involved in rolling around and play acting, just adding to the lack of flow and playing into Jose’s hands.
That’s what Jose will have wanted, he didn’t want a classic football match as he knew his side would lose and up until mid way through the 2nd half the plan seemed to be working.
No doubt Mourinho will point to the red card as the reason for Real’s defeat, but I’m not so sure as I thought Barca were starting to get on top at this stage.
I also believe Mourinho played with fire and got burnt with Pepe, as he is one of those players with the potential to get himself sent off. He was always going to be a risk in the heat of the midfield tonight with his brand of tackling.
I heard Andy Townsend saying it was never a red card. I’m not so sure, it was a dirty tackle and I thought Pepe deliberately scraped his studs down Dani Alves’ shin.
It was one of those decisions where the player is a touch unlucky to see red, but lucky to get away with a yellow. Ultimately, if Pepe doesn’t make the reckless tackle, he doesn’t give Alves the excuse to act like he’d been shot in the leg.
The red card will no doubt add fuel to Mourinho’s endless claims of ‘victim status.’ How he can never play against Barcelona with 11 men, etc.
For this reason I was pleased that there were no interviews at the end, as it would just have been Mourinho rolling out his usual mantra about how UEFA, FIFA, the Pope, and everyone else in the world is against him and his team.
He always comes out with the same rubbish time and again, it’s almost as boring and monotonous as listening to politicians. No doubt it will come in time though.
In the end some football was played and again Messi delivered the goods. His 1st goal was good finishing, the 2nd was world class.
I did notice in the disgraceful scenes at the end of the 1st half that Messi just casually walked off the field minding his own business, taking just a glance across at the childish scuffle and choosing to keep out of it.
Messi clearly prefers to concentrate on his football rather than getting involved in all the stupid stuff. Maybe that’s why in a side as good as Barcelona are, he stands out.