Sunday, March 23, 2014

Spanish drama

The only match worth watching in the Spanish league has for ten years been the Real Madrid-Barcelona match. It has always been splendid, and tonight was no exception. I watched the dramatic match with a mixture of Spanish and international people in the bar called Sajj, in Sinkor, in Monrovia, in a lively atmosphere for what became a fantastic match.
FC Barcelona needed to win in Madrid in order not to lose contact with the two leaders, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid. And the match ended with a controversial 3-4 victory for the Catalonians. Three penalties, two of them unexistant, and four great goals in what was a great match between two evenly matched sides. In the first half Real Madrid seemed to have things under control as they went ahead 2-1 on two goals by a Karim Benzema who exposed the feeble Barcelona defense in the penalty area. But when Messi equalized for 2-2 right before halftime things went back to zero for a Real Madrid side that had been better in the first half. Barcelona mended their defensive holes in the second half, but still went down 3-2 as Ronaldo scored on a penalty that had been outside the area. Things seemed to go Real Madrid's way until the penalty on Neymar, which also gave Sergio Ramos a red card.
This broke the match, as Ancelotti took out Benzema for Rafael Varane, to defend the tie that would put them on top spot.
But it was not to be. A clear penalty, this time, on Andres Iniesta meant that Messi made it 3-4, and put FC Barcelona one point from leaders Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, who are both tied with 70 points (with Atletico ahead on goal difference).
All three teams are now in an intense fight for the title. Every right-minded football fan supports Atletico Madrid, but I would still doubt that they can carry it all the way. It is likely to be a contest between the usual suspects, with FC Barcelona taking an important step today.

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