First leg of the Champions League Semifinal in Madrid
Barca were brilliant. Madrid came in to frustrate. Barca were motivated to create goal scoring opportunties; Madrid's objective was to disrupt Barca's play and hope to pinch a goal on a counter attack. Madrid's tackles were cynical and a bit dirty. Barca wasn't having any of it.
Highly motivated by the King's Cup loss and Mourinho's whining, Barca came to play. Dominating possession, they attacked the Madrid goal in waves.
In the second half, as Barca continued to dominate possession and frustrate the Merengues, the whites started to lunge into tackles. One such lunge, Pepe on Alves, Pepe came in reckless and with his studs up. Replays seem to show not so much contact was made. Alves spun around and fell to the ground. Red card to Pepe. A fair call based from an accumulation of challenges in my admittedly biased opinion.
Madrid could have responded differently to the red card, perceiving a conspiracy against them and fighting extra hard as a result, but this team is different; more petulant. They seemed to throw in the towel, especially after the Alfellay to Messi goal. Later, Messi scored an incredible solo effort. The kid is good.
All of that was overshadowed, of course by the negative bits. Busquets does play act a bit too much. I would prefer it if he didn't. Same goes for Di Maria, however, for Madrid. Tit for tat.
The final Clasico of the year is at the Nou Camp on Tuesday. Que gana el mejor.
Visca el Barca!