Morbo Minute–Spanish Super Cup First Leg

Gol TV showed every league goal for CR7 and Messi as part of their buildup to the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup. I say forget trying to figure which players is better and just enjoy this special era. During the commercial breaks I was scanning twitter and saw the line ups for the game:

Real Madrid:

Casillas, Ramos, Carvalho, Pepe, Marcelo, Khedira, Alonso, Özil, Di Maria, Ronaldo, Benzema.

FC Barcelona:

Valdés, Alves, Mascherano, Abidal, Adriano, Thiago, Keita, Iniesta, Messi, Alexis, Villa

I took a deep breath as I read the following: no Puyol, no Pique, no Xavi, no Pedro and no Busquets in the starting lineup. Meanwhile the Evil Empire had their entire starting 11 ready to go, unless you count Benzema for Higuain.

From the first moment of the game, FCB looked shaky, with Real hungry for the ball and for crunching tackles. The Blaugrana had very little rhythm and the hosts almost opened the scoring but VV denied a Benzema header after a great cross from CR7. Valdes could do nothing minutes later as Benzema twisted up Abidal, nutmegged an out of position Masch and found Ozil, who slotted home. A nightmare start—Real with their tails up, playing against an under-strength FCB, at the Bernabeu.

Eventually FCB started to see a little more of the ball, although Messi had very little involvement. With about 10’ to go in the half, he picked out Villa who cut in from the left corner of the penalty area and unleashed a golazo past Casillas. First shot for the visitors, 1-1. Then right before the interval, Madrid had a comedy of errors, which Messi punished to make it 2-1. FCB was dominated for the first time in a while, yet still led.

Sanchez came out of the break and put on a little individual show against Marcelo as the Blaugrana finally started going through the gears but then it was time for a sucker punch from Los Merengues. A corner kick led to Pepe laying off for Alonso who slotted home to equalize. Real took control and it seemed as if a third one was coming for them. The subs for Barcelona did not really improve matters, with Xavi looking less than 100%, Pedro looking ok and Pique basically just getting Abidal out of the middle. The match ended 2-2, with Barcelona having the edge on Wednesday.  There were a couple of penalty shouts. CR7 was taken down by VV after he flapped a cross. On second viewing, the hosts should have had a pen. On the other hand, thought Pedro was taken down as he dribbled through the 18 towards Casillas. There were covering defenders and he may not have scored, but still. I call that even on missed calls and am ready to move on.

How devastating for Real, to finally take it to FCB and yet come away with almost nothing, and it will be interesting how Jose uses this going forward. After the horror, shame, glory of 4 El Clasicos last spring, this game was chippy but great to watch, with goals of highest order. I probably won’t be able to watch the return leg live (due to work—BLURGH!!) but hope to watch the replay somehow and post some comments.

Substitutions:
RM Fábio Coentrão for Ángel Di María (54)
FCB Xavi for Thiago (58)
RM José Maria Callejón for Sami Khedira (58)
FCB Gerard Piqué for Adriano (62)
RM Gonzalo Higuaín for Karim Benzema (81)
FCB Pedro for David Villa (73)

A couple of notes:

Real Madrid

Coentrão looked ok. He covered a lot of ground and allowed Ozil to drift to the left to combine with CR7, which caused Barcelona trouble at times.

Callejon was a hack. If he was playing basketball, he would have fouled out. He was only on the pitch for 30’ and committed several fouls, with several being very late.

What was going with CR7’s collar? He started the match with a long sleeve jersey and half the collar popped and half not. No one seemed to fix his fashion faux pas (unless of course he was trying to start a trend). Second half he came out with short sleeve shirt with the collar mostly popped. Pick something and go with it.

FC Barcelona

Abidal had a horrible match, dribbling from the back into pressure, which resulted in turnovers, poor positioning, and several ill advised passes. I hope that was a one off.

Sanchez was good but he if keeps doing his tricks, some one is going to give him a right kicking. Keep it to a minimum and for the love of god stay onside. Between him and Villa, Barcelona will be stymied because those two can’t watch a defending line.

Thiago wasn’t awesome but wasn’t overawed by the occasion. Hopefully gets a run in the second leg and by the time November rolls around, he will be the man.

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