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FC Barcelona vs Levante, 4-0


Okay, I admit it. I fell asleep during the first half of this match. It seemed as though Levante was just going to play with nine men behind the ball and Barcelona was going to bounce ineffectively off the sides of their bus all evening long. There were some moments of excitement when Dani Alves had to be subbed off due to injury, when Barkero's shot bounced off Carles Puyol's shoulder and Victor Valdes made quite a nice save, flinging himself into the air to pop the ball up out of harm's way and then falling flat on his back, and when Leo Messi shot low and wide and Xavi Hernandez shot into the keeper's arms, but otherwise, ho-hum.

But I would have given much to be a fly on the wall of the dressing room at halftime, when the taciturn Tito Vilanova must have delivered one of his best "Pep" talks ever. Because once the players came back on the pitch, Barcelona was on fire. Within two minutes, Andres Iniesta (who was playing in the position of injured David Villa) had threaded a sweet, sweet pass to Messi, who chipped it gleefully over the incredulous keeper. Four minutes later, Iniesta let himself be pushed all the way to the touchline, then passed the ball back to Messi, who skimmed it into the net. About four minutes after that, Iniesta got his own goal, a huge kick from the edge of the penalty box that slammed into the top of the net. And just a few minutes after that, Iniesta engaged in a lovely combination that ended with an assist to Cesc Fabregas, who scored the fourth goal.

Due credit to Levante, they never gave up. Valdes was tested several more times in the second half, not least by Barkero's penalty kick (following Puyol's unintentional handball) and its subsequent rebound. But he saved everything like a boss, and the match ended 4-0, giving Barcelona twelve wins and one draw - the most successful La Liga start since Real Madrid's 1991-1992 season. Not only that, but before Jordi Alba was taken off to give the recently recovered Adriano Correia a few minutes, all eleven players on the pitch had come out of Barcelona's own cantera - Made In La Masia. And thanks to some unjust calls including a Benzema goal wrongly ruled offside, Real Madrid lost to Real Betis yesterday, leaving them eleven points behind Barcelona in this season's La Liga standings.

Puyol seems to have gotten over his outrage re: the penalty kick


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 26th, 2012 06:00 am (UTC)
Perfect no? There was everything in this game. Nerves in the frst half, than the goal marathon at the begining of the second, some awsome tiki taka, briliant goalkeeping from Victor ... I had a monet of fear at teh start of a match when Puyi fall on the ground during some intervention and it looked kinda awkward ... I was all "Hell fuck no!" but he just stood up. And his rage after the yellow was hot as fuck :D And the XI Made In La Massia :D Historic moment! I wish it was not at the expense of Dani but apparently he will be back in 7-10 days :)

11 points are great but have you seen who we have to play now? Athletic (H), Betis (A), Atletico (H), Valladolid (A), Espanyol (H), Malaga (A). Real Madrid has: Atletico (H), Valladolid (A), Espanyol (H), Malaga (A), Real Sociedad (H), Osasuna (A).

Hard games and opponents but than, we usually loose/draw with weaker teams.
Nov. 26th, 2012 12:32 pm (UTC)
Yes I think that was the moment when Puyol fell trying to head the ball as it was being passed, right before Valdes saved the high shot. My heart was in my mouth.

I got tears in my eyes when my comm noted that all eleven players were Made in La Masia!

And I agree, the next stretch of matches will not be easy. WHat has impressed me so much this season, though, is our fighting spirit, whether coming from behind or, like today, refusing to concede anything even when four goals up. I hope that it can continue like this!
Nov. 26th, 2012 11:12 am (UTC)
Game of two halves, as per the cliche.
To be fair Levante just parked the bus, and it took the time to break them down. You could see the signs of that going into half time, not totally suprising then. They did have a good go of it through.
The fact we ended up with an entire homegrown 11, and then Xavi mentioning it as credit to Van Gaal's vision, I may have got something in my eye. We need to do that more often.
VV was totally amazing. Was bit of a rubbish penalty, but then the double save with it, wow.
Iniesta = man of the match
Leo's armband was just the most precious thing.
So happy that Cesc got a goal, he needs to get his groove back and the playing style probably suited him more.

I watched the last half hour of Betis game, and Betis played quite well (bus parking but still) and Madrid just kind of fell apart in front of goal.
Seems like Madrid have given up; and they might struggle because other teams are scenting blood in the water, like they can be beaten so we'll have a go too.
Then Mou had a massive strop about it (because y'know we never play two games in a week), so all is right in the world.
I'm kind of looking forward to the Madrid derby, should be an interesting game.

My other team won at that, so yeah a good weekend all round.
Nov. 26th, 2012 12:38 pm (UTC)
Oh, I agree, it was boring in the first half because Levante parked the bus very effectively. Once we started scoring, they were forced to open up the game if they wanted any hope of a draw, and of course that just made things much easier for us.

I got a big ol' lump in my throat about the homegrown eleven, too!

VV and Iniesta were awesome in this match. And "Te amo Thiago," awww.

I was very happy for Cesc too, although my livestream skipped past his goal and when I asked who had scored it, I was told "Cesc the homeless person" :D

Betis played their hearts out, it was a very active defense. I do think that Madrid was robbed of at least an empate. But I can't deny being amused by Mou's press conference afterwards :D
Nov. 26th, 2012 02:17 pm (UTC)
It's all well and good having a game plan to beat Barca, but it's keep it going for 90 minutes which nobody does really.

Apparently his specific vision was playing a champions league final with a homegrown 11, which I'm sure they'll manage too.
Obviously there's a lot in the press here about Pep going to Chelsea; but don't think it will ever happen and that illustrates why. The Barca way is a completely diffrent ethos and long term vision. Compared to other clubs just caring about a quick fix trophy win and splashing cash for it.

Well they're always amazing, but that just showcased it.
I know, it's almost too much; such a beloved child. Inevitably there will be paparazzi pics of papa & bebe outing, and I might just faint from adorableness (Leo is totally going to be that dad that goes on the swings and slides too, no).

lol he does work the hobo thing quite well.

Perfectly good goals being disallowed is the worst, I just have no sympathy when they carry on like they're the only team this happens too.
Yeah, 'I'm not going to make excuses, but here have a laundry list of excuses'. Then being so dramatic that they don't care about la liga any more because they'll never win. Quite the petulant child.

Then on the inverse Iker goes and is completely reasonable and sweet about the whole debacle which ruins my swagger.
Nov. 26th, 2012 11:18 pm (UTC)
Woot! YaY Barca.

That's all I got, as you didn't even post any of pics of half-naked hot men for me to make shallow comments on. Slippery slope, Lady, slippery slope :D
Nov. 27th, 2012 12:25 am (UTC)
Whoops! Rectified thanks to a tumblr photo reposted by elizaberglund.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )



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