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4 Total Updates since September 29, 2012
8 months ago Article 1 comment
Cesc Fabregas pretended he got shot in the face after bumping chests and the referee looking the other way saw it. The result? A red card and Barcelona comeback!
8 months ago Update 2 comments
You can never tell when you're watching a game that you'll remember in five, ten years. You never just decide to sit down and watch it--well, unless your side is in the final of some competition, and even then you might forget if they lose. No, it's almost impossible to predict.
Barcelona triumphed over a stunned Sevilla side 2-3 this evening in Seville, rallying back from two goals down to tie and then win in the last seven minutes of play. It's a beautiful narrative: the blaugrana bravely fighting back, refusing to quit even when nothing seemed to be going their way. Yes, it's a stirring tale of courage; but it's not true. Well, at least it's not so rose-colored.
Sevilla played a magnificent game tonight. They went ahead in the first half on a smashed shot by Trochowski in the 23rd minute. They matched Barcelona ball-for-ball for good chunks of the game, spearheading a strong defense-counterattack regime that has worked well over the past couple of years. When Álvaro Negredo culminated a brilliant counter-attack in the 48th minute with a golazo of his own, Sevilla looked again like the dominant club it had been a few years ago.
But then things started to go wrong for them. And for the referees.
In the 53rd minute Cesc drew the blaugrana closer, as he scooped up a ball bouncing towards the top of the area, and slotted it past keeper Palop. It was a good display of skill from a player whose absence has been conspicuous in recent weeks. He was Barça's main focus during the game, combining well with Leo Messi, who seemed a bit out of touch on the whole.
Then, in the 72nd minute, with Sevilla leading 2-1, things got ugly. Sevilla's Chilean midfielder Gary Medel walked over to Cesc, head down. He was clearly saying something unpleasant to the Catalan goalscorer, and clearly meant to get in his face. As soon as Medel approached touching distance, Cesc did something he has done only a few times: he simulated. Clutched at his face. Cheated. It was a helluva performance--though, surprisingly, he didn't fall down. Here's a picture of the incident, where you can see Medel's head and Cesc's face--this was no Zidane headbutt, people.
Mateu Lahoz, in one of his worst performances, rushed over and immediately gave Medel a red card.
Suddenly, the game was blown wide open.
Within minutes, with Sevilla hanging on for dear life, another tragedy struck the Andalusians: Thiago, in the process of stealing a ball from a Sevilla defender, handled it in the area. No call. The ball bounced to Messi, then to Cesc, who tied the score. The Sánchez Pizjuán went nuts. I haven't seem people that incensed in a long time. It was nonsense. Sevilla coach Míchel was so angry that he almost rushed Lahoz--he was expelled.
Then, with everything trending down for Sevilla, David Villa scored the winner--in the 94th minute. It was a nice goal, and not entirely undeserved from the game (Barça's a very good team), but it still seemed desperately unfair.
But that's how soccer works. It's rarely fair.
8 months ago Update 0 comments
Málaga and Valencia won easily against Real Betis and Valladolid, respectively, shoring up both team's candidacies for the top-4. But with Valencia's rocky start, will Málaga keep their momentum long enough to make a legitimate push for third?
Valencia hasn't had an easy game in a while; that changed today when they hosted perennial cellar dwellars Zaragoza. Pellegrino's Valencia has been under a tremendous amount of pressure, for, oh an essentially infinite amount of time at this point--fans of los ché are hard to please, and expect their team to be perennial championship contenders. But with the amount of money being thrown around by the two leviathans of la Liga, it's looking more and more like Valencia are going to be relegated to a battle for third--sparing any major catastrophe...like the one Madrid might be having right now.
Feghouli got the goals flowing in this one early, when, on 12 minutes, he blasted in a second chance opportunity off a corner. He would be ejected later in the game--a very questionable second yellow--but the first goal was more than enough for Valencia. Viera knocked in the second on 59 minutes, but the game was pretty much over by then. It's not that Valencia played great--it seemed more that Zaragoza just can't score, even when they should--but that they played well enough to win.
Is this Málaga side for real? That's the question that has been on my lips for the last few weeks. It doesn't seem real: the team was gutted this off season, losing their best player (Santi Cazorla) and their coach (Manuel Pellegrini) to financial issues. But they're still a strong group, with real players who are payed real money.
Plus, they're young, they want to win...and there's just not a great reason to count them out.
They dominated Betis today, despite getting some help from the referees on the second goal--Javier Saviola sneaked in behind the defense...but was clearly offsides when the ball was played through. Still, it was pretty, and this kind of beauty has to count for something.
The game ended in the 11th minute, however, when keeper Casto smashed into Eliseu in the area, getting a penalty and a red card for his services. Joaquín (one of those good players who stuck around) calmly smashed it in, and Málaga dominated from then on.
It'll be interesting to see how they perform when they're really under the gun.
8 months ago Article 0 comments
Barcelona travel to Sevilla for a tough test against one of the best defensive sides in the league this season
8 months ago Article 0 comments
Real Madrid trail Barcelona by eight points. No, that's not a typo. It's true. And it's true that this is a zero-sum duopoly, and each point dropped by Madrid is one gained by Barcelona. But with only five weeks of soccer played, is this really the end?