April 28th, 2011
Champions League Results: The Saga Continues
Says it all really. Image: Getty Images/Daylife
For us, results posts act as a form of closure. An opportunity to review the games in the cold light of day and chew the fat on the issues raised. Unfortunately, with second legs due to be played next week, Barcelona considering action over Jose Mourinho’s post-match comments and a rabid following of both clubs on our humble website, we have a feeling this one might attract a bit of ‘attention’ in the coming days.
Our comments moderator is trembling. Be considerate.
Real Madrid 0-2 Barcelona
Hmm. That looks friendly. Image: Getty Images/Daylife.
When you take the nature of the Copa Del Rey victory into consideration, it was surely written that Lionel Messi would be the man to fire the opening salvo in this particular battle. Cristiano Ronaldo’s penalty in that match was the decisive blow, but now, barring a comeback that would surely take its place in the annals of history were it to happen, the newly two dimensional King’s Cup will be the only silverware gracing the Madrid trophy cabinet this season.
But it’s not the sublime goalscoring skills of ‘The Flea’ that we need to discuss here. If you haven’t seen his goals, you owe it to yourself as a football fan (affiliations aside) to watch them full stop. Sadly, however, that’s not the issue bothering one Jose Mourinho this morning. Among the accusations levelled at Barcelona by Senhor Mou are that Barca’s affiliation with UNICEF affords them favourable treatment from UEFA and that they are allowed to get away with stuff because they’re great. Basically, he’s disgusted to live in this world. Bless.
Image: Getty Images/Daylife.
While he stomps up the stairs, slams his bedroom door and turns his music up to eleven, let’s look at the facts, shall we? Until half-time, the game was proceeding in a relatively pedestrian manner; both sides fouling, diving and referee bothering in equal measure. A few players, obviously bored with this, took the half time whistle as a cue to start the real action, a scrum on the touchline resulting in Barcelona substitute goalkeeper Jose Pinto getting sent off.
Pepe followed a quarter of an hour after play resumed (left), his tackle on Dani Alves deemed sufficiently contentious for a straight red. Mourinho’s response (clapping sarcastically at Alves) saw him dismissed too.
Image: AP Photo/Daylife.
Although Madrid had held their own, the advantage the sending off provided Barca was always going to be one to exploit. Ibrahim Affelay replaced Pedro and five minutes later provided the cross that thwarted Casillas and allowed Messi to strike. The rest? Well, you should know by now.
We don’t expect you to be able to discuss the issues arising from this game rationally just yet. We understand. So we will just remind you to play nicely, respect other people’s views and keep the snarking to a dull roar, please. We don’t want to have to red card anyone, do we?
Schalke 04 0-2 Manchester United
It’s not exactly a traditional method of running a back four, but hey, ’Daddy Rio comfort’ is working for us! Getty Images/Daylife.
Right. Before we begin, let’s get the background to this tie out of the way. The Veltins Arena in Gelsenkirchen is not Wayne Rooney’s happy place. Schalke, who under any other circumstances would have been considered massive underdogs against these opponents, have had an epic journey to this semi-final and a perfect home record up to this point. Therefore, it could go either way. Surely.
Er…no. Don’t be distracted by the scoreline, people. United were awesome and it’s a credit to Schalke goalkeeper Manuel Neuer (left) that the second leg at Old Trafford isn’t going to be a training exercise. Strikes from Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez and Park Ji-Sung were all repelled by Neuer in the first half and it took wave after wave of United attack to thwart him; Ryan Giggs being the man to do so on sixty-seven minutes. In doing so, he became the oldest goalscorer in Champions League history, which is really odd to those of us who remember him when he was a puppy.
Wayne Rooney struck two minutes later, giving United a two goal advantage going into the second leg at Old Trafford, and while Schalke have form in this area, the sharp football minds at Kickette feel that United will almost certainly be appearing at Wembley for the final. With Barca.
You heard it here first.*
*Please bear in mind that we reserve the right to deny we ever made this prediction, should events conspire against us. We’ll probably even sneak back and re-edit this post to erase our erroneous assertions. We’re that sad.