Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Four Clasicos in 18 Days! Final Considerations

Watching Champions League soccer in the US is always a bit odd. First of all, games are on Tuesdays or Wednesdays at the odd time of 2:45 in the afternoon. In the middle of the work day, the soccer fan must discreetly log in to whatever website they use to watch games, or take a late lunch and find a TV to watch the game. This results in either the viewer feeling like they are scheming away from their boss in the middle of the day or postponing midday nourishment to catch the game of his/her favorite team.

The first point is reconciled by the ability on several programs to have small viewer on your desktop showing the game while you plug in headphones for the audio. You can therefore work on other things while the game plays in a corner of your screen. To view this most recent game, I had the convenient excuse of meeting a work colleague for collaborative planning - which was true. We had to discuss a mutual plan to teach a unit on sport.

Regarding the last of the Clasicos, the 1-1 draw in Catalunya was contentious but just in my opinion. 0-0 at halftime, it felt like Barca was easily doing enough to withstand the Madrid pressure. Barca maintained possession well (as usual) and defended decently enough when Madrid tried to hit on the break.

In the second half, Higuain's goal shoulda woulda coulda standed, had the ref not already whistled for the non-foul. I say non-foul because it was not a foul. But the ref blew the whistle -- you have to stop when that happens. Whatever. There is no conspiracy trying to get Barca to the final -- Mourinho and Marca can shove it. Barca outplayed Madrid over the two CL games and that is that.

I'm glad all four games are done. The final tally of Clasicos (for 2011) was 1W, 1L, 2 draws. Barca conceded the Copa del Rey to Madrid, while Madrid conceded a spot in the Champions League Final to Barca.

Barca won the overall record of Clasicos for the 2010-2011 season. Let's not forget the 5-0 thumping on November 29. :-)

As I write this, Barca have just won the title -- well done boys! I am happy to have seen you play live once this season -- may your good form continue -- and may you win in Wembley!