Morbo Minute–Attack of the Role Players

To be honest, I’ve never gotten into the Club World Cup. Even when United went to the inaugural one in 2000, I just looked up the results on the internet. Seems like you had to buy it on PPV at the time. Anyway when FCB went in 2006 or United went back in 2008, I didn’t pay attention. Oh hey, the club won this trophy. Look at the timing. Right in holiday prep with parties and shopping and dinners. And to watch it live, you have to get up at the crack of dawn on the East Coast or stay up all night on the West Coast.

Even when FCB returned in 2009, I just read that Pedro saved the proverbial bacon just before the death and Messi won it in extra time. This year I decided to watch. Not at 5:30 am but the replay in the evening. My attempt at isolation failed, so I went up to my local watering hole to watch the game, even though I knew the score and about Villa’s injury.

As I skimmed the starting line-ups, I noticed that Niang was starting up top for Al-Sadd. Surely not the same Niang from Marseille. Turns it was. After spending a year at Fenerbahce, he moved to Al-Sadd

FCB started with a 3-4-3 with MVP up top except that Pedro and Villa switched sides. In the beginning Al-Sadd set up an intial line of confrontation just inside their own half with two lines of defenders. FCB were definitely not sharp. I am interested to read if it was jet lag or the mix of players or maybe they were just pacing themselves. I thought Iniesta had a particularly poor game, with lots of turnovers.

Halfway through the first half, Al-Sadd had to be thinking, well we’ve got a chance, it’s 0-0 and we just have to keep on keeping on. Then they commit an almighty cockup that led to the opening goal. Goodnight.

Then out of nowhere, the Blaugrana play a long ball, something they almost never do and Villa breaks his leg going in a tussle with a defender. After El Clasico, I asked, what now for Pedro and Villa? Well for Villa, six months on the sidelines. He tweeted immediately following the victory that we would be back for the game at Allianz Arena in May. Like the sentiment but let’s be fair. A dip in form combined with a long layoff and a team that has moved forward (no pun) without him. He’ll be luck to play again this season or even in the Euros, which could be key to Spain trying to win three major tournaments in a row.

The second goal for FCB was from another error. Al-Sadd just passed it to Barcelona, and Adriano laid off, kept his run going and finished his chance. So Adriano took advantage of his opportunity, providing width and movement in the attack, and it will be interesting to see who plays on Sunday–Alves or Adriano.

In the second half, Al-Sadd moved up their line of confrontation but the game continued much like the first half. Niang was terrible, not able to hold up the ball due to the constant attentions of Masch and Puyol. FCB added a third on 64 minutes as Keita was able to walk in and nonchalantly flick the ball in.

Pedro was relatively quiet. He stayed wide but didn’t get involved. Cuenca came in for Sanchez and I’m not sure why. Maybe to give Pedro extra minutes or save Sanchez for Sunday.

Honestly, I checked out for the last 15 minutes, researching Niang and past Club World Cups, and surfing the web. Barcelona added a fourth (Maxwell) and now focus on Santos. Could be an actual game, with Neymar providing a real attacking threat, supported by Ganso and Elano. Again I won’t be getting up at 5:30am but I’ll watch it later that night.

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