Monday, April 18, 2011

Four Clasicos in 18 Days! Game 1 Considerations

Ay Caramba!

One down, three to go. This tie, the first of FOUR, took place in Madrid. For the millions watching, this was the appetizer, to help whet the appetite for the three, arguably more important, matches to come. I viewed this match as crucial in establishing a foundation for the following games.

Before the match I considered the possible outcomes. For Madrid, a win in this first game could rebuild confidence for moving forward. For Barca, a win would provide further vindication of superiority (firmly established in the first leg at the Camp Nou and in subsequent league games).

However, losing might not have been tragic for either side. Sometimes a defeat early in a competition is the best motivation for future encounters. See Spain's performance in the first match of the World Cup in South Africa; Barca vs. Inter Milan in the CL group stage in 2010. Mourinho returned to face Barca in the Semifinals of the CL that season and put us out of the competition.

As probably every other Cule around, I wanted Barca to win (this one and all of the others), but I wasn't under the impression that a loss in the tie was detrimental.

Both sides can take positives from this game: Barca proved that they can create chances and maintain possession, regardless what formation and strategy Mourinho employs; Madrid again demonstrated their incredible speed and agility on the counter, but also showed commendable courage in their fightback with 10 men.

I thought both penalty calls were correct. Alves' foul on Marcelo was not as egregious as Albiol's on Villa -- correct decisions in both cases regarding the red card (and lack thereof). The Copa final is next -- my cousin Victor is off to the final in Valencia -- hope he gets a cracker!

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