Morbo Minute–Copa Quarter Review

Second Leg

I was on the road for work for Tuesday and returned to my hotel to check scores, emails, twitter, etc.  To my shock, I read the following: Mirandes 2 Espanyol 1.  The internet was abuzz with posts and comments re: the surprising progress of the third division team.  Watching the highlights, I was stunned by the stadium, which Chris Clements wrote about on El Centrocampista.

I had picked Espanyol to win, so I was disappointed about that, but you can’t resist the story of Mirandes.  @DirtyTackle posted about club captain and leading scorer Pablo.  How about that?  Good luck against Athletic Bilbao.

Mirandes 2 Espanyol 1           (4-4 on agg; Mirandes progess on away goals rule)  Missed that one on the predictions.

I missed the Athletic Bilbao game, which was the early game on Wednesday, but it looks like they put out a full strength side and progressed thanks to their 2-0 advantage from the first game and own goal in the second leg.  Surely they will overcome Mirandes and make the final.

Real Mallorca 0 Athletic Bilbao 1      (0-3 on agg)  You are correct sir.

Then there was El Clasico part whatever.  What can you say?  Enthralling, dramatic, fantastic stuff.  I was talking to a friend right after the match.  As much as the pendulum is swinging toward kicking Mourinho to the curb, it might swing back on the players.  The Special One got everything spot on—line up, tactics and intensity—and his players didn’t deliver.  Higuain was especially poor on the night, but the team as a whole did not take their chances, FCB did and they move on.

FC Barcelona 2 Real Madrid 2 (4-3 on agg)  Bracket buster.  Had Madrid winning the whole thing.

The final match of the round was Levante hosting Valencia.  Since the visitors were up 4-1 from the first leg, I didn’t even bother making time for this match.  What a mistake.  Just kidding.  Valencia hammered Los Granotes 3-0 to progress to the semis against Barcelona.  Have to give Los Che a fighting chance as Barca are tired and injured.

Levante 0 Valencia 3      (1-7 on agg)  You are correct sir.

My predictions have gone off the rails, so now I’ll just enjoy the tournament for its own sake, and what a competition it has been thus far.

———

First Leg

Tuesday was a busy day at work, with plenty to do because I took the end of the week off.  At halftime, I checked the Espanyol v Mirandes score and thought it was a typo as I read that Mirandes was up 1-0.  So I put up the game in the background and watched as Espanyol turned up the pressure on their lower league visitors (third division side who had knocked out Villarreal & Racing according to the twitter) to no avail.  In fact, things actually got worse as Pablo took advantage of a horrible mistake by Amat and scooped the ball over the keeper in a goal worthy of Messi.  The minutes ticked away and it looked like Mirandes were on the verge of a memorable victory but as coaches always say, the game lasts 90 minutes.

Espanyol scored two goals in two minutes to peg back their visitors with four minutes to go.  If that wasn’t enough, Los Pericos scored again in injury time to win the first leg 3-2 against a team dead on their feet at the end.  Mirandes will return home with away goals but will have to manufacture at least one goal to move on.

Espanyol 3 Mirandes 2

———

Wednesday was spent trying to get everything done so that I could at keep at least on eye on the tenth El Clasico in 280 some days.  I didn’t watch a minute of Bilbao versus Real Mallorca, but checked the score moments before the big game kicked off and saw that Los Leones won 2-0.  Feel pretty good about their chances to progress.

Athletic Bilbao 2 Real Mallorca 0

As for the Big One, what a game.  As I tweeted to a follower during the match, the game was beyond football—morality play, art, a Greek tragedy.  Real Madrid made a small twist to the game in December, going with a triple pivot but putting CR7, Benzema and Higuain up top.  Seemed like Mou was going for pressure in the defending and middle thirds of the pitch (adding Altintop at RB and Carvalho at CB) with outlets to the superb attacking players.  The plan absolutely worked for the opening goal as Benzema played CR7 into tons of space.  Alves was caught out and a step over created the shooting chance which slid by Pinto.  FCB took charge of the game and were largely frustrated by either Real Madrid defenders, Casillas or the post.

In the second both teams had periods of control and it took a corner kick to move the game forward.  Puyol met the cross with a diving header to equalize early in the half.  With the game delicately balanced, Abidal drifted in to wide space on the left, was spotted by Messi, and chested the ball down before an exquisite outside of the foot finish. AMAZING!!

I missed the last ten minutes of the match, which looked like they were filled with fouls and substitutions.  What a game.  Just when you think Real Madrid will break through, FCB bitch slaps them.

Real Madrid 1 FC Barcelona 2

———

I missed Thursday’s match betweenValencia and Levante.  Not enough hours in the day. Valencia took a major step towards a semi against one of the Big Two with a 4-1 thrashing of Levante.

Valencia 4 Levante 1

———

Predictions are hanging in there.  Looks like I’ll get three of four right, but if Real Madrid crash out, that pretty much ends my bracket.

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