Monday, April 09, 2012

Great 0-0 match

People who do not know anything about football will often assume that the entertainment level of a match is about the number of goals.
This is surely not the case and tonight's match between Real Madrid and Valencia was proof of it. A great and intense match with many great chances, fantastic saves (and a save counts as a goal!), intensity and drama. For Real Madrid, this was almost a defeat, and you can clearly see the nerves in Real Madrid's faces: after having a lead of 9 points down to FC Barcelona, it is now only 4 points, and in spite of being able to maintain a one point lead in case they lose to FC Barcelona (something everyone seems to expect), another slip of nerves like the one today could likely cost them the league. There are more points between Real Madrid and Valencia in the table than between Valencia on third spot, and Gijon on the 20th and last spot. Just tells you that Real Madrid and Barcelona should win every match against the others, but that unlucky slips, like today, are bound to happen.

Valencia played a great match (wish they played like this always!), tactically intelligent in defense, and dangerous in the counterattack, where they hit the post twice and forced a couple of good saves from Iker Casillas. At the same time, Real Madrid's defense was shaky at times, but with good individual performances, notably Pepe played a good match; if he just weren't such a cry-baby! He had a situation where he kicked after Arbeloa, a player from his own team.... Xabi Alonso and Mesut Ozil had bad days, while Ronaldo and Benzema fought in vain against the Valencia wall. That said, it was probably Real Madrid who in the end should have gotten the victory, but too many missed chances and too much diving made it impossible.

The fight for the Spanish league title between Real Madrid and Barcelona seems to have opened up again, and it will be fascinating to see how it ends!

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