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The final scoreline might make Barcelona's victory in Zaragoza look easy, but it was anything but. Pique was out due to injury, and the masters of the midfield, Busquets, Xavi, and Iniesta, were being rested after the mid-week CL game against AC Milan. No one managed to score for the first thirty minutes as Barcelona struggled to adapt to a pitch with grass so long it was growing flowers. Valencia was awarded a penalty shot after goalkeeper Valdes was booked for fouling a player while jumping for the ball. He redeemed himself by saving the penalty, but just a few minutes later, Valencia scored a dramatic goal: Valdes blocked the point-blank shot, but then it rebounded against the striker's head and went in despite defender Carles Puyol's last-ditch divel.

However, being down a point is generally an effective motivator for Barcelona, and this game was no exception. When Zaragoza's keeper blocked a corner kick in the 36th minute, it fell to the feet of Puyol, who coolly knocked it straight into the goal, leveling the score. And then three minutes later, Alexis Sanchez made an assist to Leo Messi, who chipped the ball over the keeper into the top corner. Alexis also got pulled down by Zaragoza player Abraham, who was given a second yellow card and ejected, leaving his team with only ten men in the game.

Despite being a man up, Barcelona had a hell of a time increasing their lead in the second half, making an equalizer by Zaragoza a constant threat. And there was no shortage of drama - Zaragoza's coach got banished to the stands for protesting a tackle by Thiago, and the two teams nearly came to blows after Dani Alves stepped over his free kick.

With five minutes left on the clock, Alexis went down in the box again, giving Messi a penalty kick. The goalkeeper guessed that he would use his typical left-footed shot to the righthand corner, but Messi blasted it straight ahead, scoring his second goal of the game. Incidentally, this made 60 goals for Messi in official games this season - which hasn't happened in European football since 1972-3.

And finally, in extra time, Messi had a chance to get another hat trick but instead passed to Pedro Rodriguez, who made the shot and scored. I don't even know how long it had been since that happened - I'd certainly never seen it before. Hopefully this will help restore Pedro's confidence, and with it his form in front of goal. I mean, Messi is awesome and all, but having only one forward who ever scores goals is really putting all your eggs in one basket, to use an Easter-appropriate expression.


The Monster Masch and Capitan Caveman Carles Puyol -
apparently none the worse for having his eyebrow stapled

In other news. I was only able to catch the second half of Real Madrid's game against Valencia today, but the score was 0-0 when I tuned in, and thanks to Valencia's incredible goalkeeper, it stayed that way despite RM's best efforts. I saw dives from Di Maria, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ozil, and (of course) Pepe like you wouldn't believe, but the ref wasn't fooled into awarding the desired cards or penalties - except for Di Maria who earned himself a yellow for refusing to turn the ball over after being "fouled." So Real Madrid earned one point this weekend to Barcelona's three, and we go on in the League only four points behind instead of six. Visca el Barca!


Comments

jezziejay
Apr. 8th, 2012 11:52 pm (UTC)
Are you implying The Special One whines??? Never!! LOLOLOL!!

This may be my favourite Mourinho quote..."Please don’t call me arrogant, but I’m European champion and I think I’m a special one." I think I fell in love with him after that...Hee:D
flywoman
Apr. 9th, 2012 12:03 am (UTC)
Hahaha, I can't even... I'll be the first to admit that Mourinho is good-looking, but his arrogance and I'll-do-whatever-it-takes-to-win mentality only repel me.

BTW, he was so mad because of today's draw that he refused to attend the press conference afterwards and sent Karanka instead. Hmm... maybe he should do that more often ;).
jezziejay
Apr. 9th, 2012 12:09 am (UTC)
I just think he's far too ridiculous to be taken seriously. He just cracks me up. When he managed Chelsea, I used to watch the sports news just to hear his latest piece of 'wisdom'. Reminded me a lot of Eric Cantona, who I loved for the very same reasons :)
flywoman
Apr. 9th, 2012 12:15 am (UTC)
Well, I admit that I find Mourinho very entertaining... he's a man I love to hate! Seriously though, I have always supported the Spain NT, and if it weren't for Mou's antics and the way he's turned his team into a bunch of diving, whining bullies, I doubt that I would have become such a strong supporter of Barcelona vs. Real Madrid.
jezziejay
Apr. 9th, 2012 12:22 am (UTC)
I have heard that about him, alright.

I found this for you. When he managed Chelsea, he used to wear this over-coat - all the time. So an Irish guy wrote this song, and it was a HUGE hit.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7urZygwZXZM&feature=fvst

Now, no more Mou spam on this, your day of celebration. I'll be cheering on Barca, too - just because of you. And because Jose's excuses will be hilarious.

GO BARCA!!!!
flywoman
Apr. 9th, 2012 12:38 am (UTC)
Hahahahaha! That's awesome, it sounds just like him!

The guy on Crackovia does a great job with Mourinho too:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEfCgNVPtmI&feature=fvst

(not the best quality, but it has English subtitles)

Jose's excuses would be hilarious. I actually want to see Mourinho's Madrid fail more than I want to see Barcelona succeed! (I'm not proud of this...)

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