Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Cup Final weekend

 I had looked forward to a weekend of Cup finals in Monrovia, but was disappointed with two matches that did not live up to expectations, although the outcome was perhaps to be predicted.
I watched the FA Cup final in a small local shop in downtown Monrovia. Atmosphere was not as lively as expected; although Arsenal commands many loyal followers in Liberia, Aston Villa hardly raises any passion.
And it seemed the lack of passion was also on the pitch at Wembley, where Arsenal were far superior to an Aston Villa side that simply seemed to lack the spirit of the FA Cup. 4-0 to Arsenal was good entertainment, but it was not the excitement one has grown accustomed to in the FA Cup final.
The Spanish Cup Final, “Copa del Rey”, I watched in a local bar called Sajj. Most people were there to watch circus Barcelona, with their main magician Lionel Messi, and were not disappointed: Messi scored two goals, the first one spectacular, to give FC Barcelona a 3-1 victory over Athletic Bilbao that was never in any doubt, and that, if anything, could have been much larger. The Basques were a mere sideshow to the Barcelona act, and they never really stood a chance in a match whose result could have been called beforehand.
After a difficult start to the season (do any Barcelona fans remember how they were whistling and attacking Messi at the start of the season?), FC Barcelona are well on the way to winning the Triple if they take the Champions league against Juventus next week. As much as one has to respect Messi's magic and the joy of Suarez and Neymar alongside him, I would prefer to see Buffon and Pirlo lift the trophy next week.

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