Thursday, 18 August 2011

Barcelona begins the season with Super Copa (3-2)

I had few movies ready to watch. But I was so tensed about the match, the second leg of Super Copa final, between Barca and Real Madrid, that I decided to not watch any movie. Normally, super copa finals is not this tense. Last season, Barca even lost the first leg to Sevilla, 3-1 I think, but still I wasnt worried about the second leg, which we won with a Messi hatrick. This time it is different. Being the Copa del rey winners, our opponent is Real Madrid and they had a better preseason than Barca and played a really brilliant game in the first leg. And that had prompted for a media lash across the world about a beginning of the end of Barca's supreme reign and made this second leg really an important El Classico.

Real Madrid, definitely is much fitter than Barca and played a really brilliant match, especially in the first half. They were pressing so hard, so high up in the Barca half, man marking each and every Barca player, it looked almost impossible for Barca to pass the ball up. Of course, it was impossible for them to do it for the whole 90 minutes, but they did it for a very long time, demonstrated their fitness and also the determination to get on top of Barca. But, what makes a champion team, a real champion team is their ability to stay hold under immense pressure and still produce moments of brilliance which will see them through. Even half fit Barca team managed a win against a firing on all cylinders Real Madrid  is really incredible. What normally ends up as a typical pre season match has paved way to be the best El Classico match between April and August, an excellent start to the season.

Arrigo Saachi, the great Milan coach, would say when you press hard it is important that the defence and forwards lines must be compact and should not be more than 25 meters apart. Real Madrid pressed well, but they were not compact enough and it was just a question of moments when Barca would pass through. When there is strong one on one marking in your own half, all it requires is a player of amazing quality to dribble out and send a pass through to the front lines and Barca has Messi. Messi really made a great run through the RM players and send in a pass, a synonym of the perfect assist, from which Iniesta found acres of space before him and the RM goal keeper, Casillas. Most people are crazy to watch Messi goals. But I am more crazy about his assists. I would say he make the most brilliant assists and like he did for the 4th Villa goal in the first classico of last season, this was a magic pass which required only a single touch to find the net.

In the second goal again, Messi proves what a player he is, with his first touch, by chest, defeating Carvalho and at the same time making it through to Pique, who in turn made an intelligent back heel pass back, may be the only centre back in the whole world who will try such a pass in the opposition box, and that was enough for Messi to do what he does best. Make opposition players look ordinary and score. It was so funny to watch Christiano Ronaldo, tyring to stop Messi during this goal and sliding on his knees, like in a celebration, but failing.

Well, Real Madrid managed to level the score with two cheeky goals, only because Barca defense is poor in defending set pieces. I strongly doubt, the first one had a hint of off side to it. And with just 10 minutes left and all players looking to be really tired, Pep introduced the prodigal son, Fabregas in. It was so clear why Pep needed him in the team for the last two years. Messi, Fabregas and Pique played in the same '86 team at La Masia and the understanding they have was quite clear. Fabregas was part of the last minute Messi goal too.

Real Madrid definitely have improved a lot as a team and they can really fight with Barca. This season is going to be real tough. But the difference between these teams is Messi. That was quite clear yesterday. His vision, intelligence, balance, ability et all is at least 2 levels above any other player in contemporary football. Little Maestro.

Some journalist in Argentina wrote that, Leo, Xavi and Iniesta are really out of the world class, that they can make even average players around them play 50% above their normal ability. And Iniesta, in pure techinical quality, this man is the best in the world, only if not for the little Leo. Dani Alves also had a brilliant game, defending Ronaldo so well, that Ronaldo was clue less. Another brilliant player was Mascherrano who looks like an excellent central defender, playing out of position though. But I thought it was the presence of Sergi Busquests, that really helped Barca play better than in the first leg. He almost nullified Ozil, even if he was only half fit.

Barca can only improve from here and as always, should reach their peak by end of November, in time for the first El Classico. Real Madrid is already playing great and I am kind of scared how they will be playing by November. Mouth watering games awaits ahead.

Such a pity that the match ends with a bunch load of red cards after a melee at the end of the game, when Fabregas was fouled by Marcelo. It is surprising how Marcelo and Pepe finishes their game. Anyways they are players. But it was really stupid and brutal for Mourinho, to walk across to Tito, Barc's assistant coach, and poke his eyes. He is a disgrace to football and he is also harming the image of Real Madrid.