Thursday, April 24, 2008

Barcelona 0 - Manchester United 0

Just a couple of quick thoughts on what transpired this afternoon:

Honestly, if you had told me before the game that it would end nil-nil, I would've been satisfied. Not pleased, but satisfied. Given the wretched run of form Barca has endured (something like 1 win in their last 11 domestic games or something) and the purple patch United seem to have hit, I was prepared for the worst. In Cup competitions, 0-0 at home in the first leg is not the most terrible result in the world. You go away, you take your chances, and if you score first, suddenly all the pressure is on the opposition because they need two, thus further opening up chances for you to increase your lead. More importantly, it was refreshing to see Barca actually look like the team they used to, and play to their potential, stringing passes together and controlling the middle of the pitch.

That said, Barca should have won the game. They dominated all but the first seven or eight minutes, and the game was almost exclusively played in United's half after Barca's shaky start (more on the penalty in just a second). You can't shake the feeling that they're going to regret not taking a lead into Old Trafford. United's defense is only going to get better with the return of Vidic in the second leg, and Barca are not going to enjoy the luxury of possession they just enjoyed at the Camp Nou.

Finally, what about the penalty? Well, it couldn't have happened to a more fitting candidate. Honestly, I respect the hell out of Cristiano Ronaldo, I think he's a fantastic player, perhaps the world's best, but really, I can't stand the dude. The meterosexual eyebrows, the prancing around before and during the game, the mock indignation at non-fouls and non-penalties (the Marquez play was not a penalty, it wasn't even close), and finally, the 14 liters of gel he applies in his hair - all of this adds up to someone I detest. Again, he's an absolutely phenomenal player. But he's also a phenomenal douche. And I really have no idea what he was trying to do with that spot kick; I think he couldn't decide whether he wanted to smash it or place it, and furthermore, he couldn't decide whether he wanted it in the top right corner or at shoulder height.

Thankfully, next week I'll actually be able to watch the game on a large screen television, as opposed to my laptop screen on mute during a three-hour seminar called Nationalism in the Age of Globalization.

7 comments:

paris hilton said...

i like hate like all sports, but you like make me care with your like awesome commentary. thats hot, ahsan.

Ahsan said...

Ok, ok, you've made your point. Jeez. In my defense, it's awfully hard to detect sarcasm without hearing someone's voice when they're giving you a real compliment, so sometimes Type I errors are made.

Asfandyar said...

It WAS a penalty.

Why?

For starters penalties like these have been given before. A lot. The question here doesn't end up being 'hand to ball/ball to hand', but rather 'wtf were the hands doing up THERE?'. Considering the rules of the game, the referee implemented them just as he ought to.

That SAID, I think its a stupid rule and penalties like that shouldn't really be allowed. On the other hand, and we've seen this before from John Terry, defenders will start defending with their hands and their arms (which I hope we can agree is something we don't want?).

Either way, I dunno what he did with the penalty. It wasn't his normal run-up, not his 'stagger.'

Barca should've won though. Had what, 63-64% possession throughout the game? A lot of people are saying its advantage United cause we're at home and all that, and hopefully with Vidic back we can switch Hargreaves to playing infront of the back 4 and let Carrick/Anderson/Scholes loose.

Either way, as you said, the away goals rule tactically comes into play here and that's just frightening the shit out of me.

And how good was Evra last night? *bows*

Asfandyar said...

oh I just realized you said the Marquez play wasn't a penalty. Sorry :|

I think he had a fair shout with Abidal really reckless challenge in the box though :| But his reputation preceded him there.

Either way, here's to hoping we can destroy Chelsea at the weekend and then put 3 past you guys (YAY!).

Ahsan said...

Yeah, I was quite bemused by United's selection as well as their formation. I would have gone with Nani over Park, and I definitely wouldn't have played Rooney slotting in *behind* Ronaldo. That made no sense to me...he's not David Beckham, so why is he playing there?

As for next week, it's set up perfectly, I feel. One way or the other, it'll be a good game.

Anonymous said...

hmmm...

both teams will be slightly disappointed.

manure could well win the 'least ambitious game plan of the season' award whilst barca before the game would have been satisfied with a draw, after the game they'll be kicking themselves as to how 65% of possession led to nothing...

barca should win in old trafford, by virtue of the away goal(s?) - but with barca's style of play, a final against either 'pool or chelski will be much much harder.

thats my two cents worth anyway. anon1027

zeyd said...

Hahahaha. Can't believe you watched it on mute during a seminar. Some dedication there man.


Strange game though; Barca may have dominated possession and created more chances, but they could have well ended up facing a 1-0 deficit had Ronaldo put the penalty away. I imagine 99% of the world cheered when he missed. Couldn't have happened to a bigger choot.

And how about manure playing with 11 men behind the ball for most of the game? So much for all the attacking play that they're heralded for. Weak performance and they deserve to be going back to the prawn brigade behind. All to play for next week, in both games. Should be crackers.

Oh and who would have thought that chelsea-liver would bring twice as many goals as barca-manure?