10 Immediate Reactions from Camp Nou
Posted on January 25, 2012 10:56 pm
1.- Before the first goal, the match was quite similar to the Supercopa one. Real Madrid going on the offensive, pressing very high and Barça struggling to get comfortable. Particularly impressive were Özil, Kaka and Ronaldo, who are not reputed for their work-rate and were tracking back and helping recover the ball.
2.- I have never seen the Camp Nou react so furiously to a player as it did with Pepe. The Portuguese was jeered and booed every time he touched the ball, and chants of “ese portugués, hijo de puta es” (that Portuguese is a son of a bitch) surfaced every now and then. The only player to have got a similar treatment was another Portuguese, Figo, for entirely different reasons.
3.- The first goal was finished by Pedro but scored by Messi. His inside move, attracting Madrid’s three defenders to release number 17 was a stroke of genius.
4.- Lass Diarra should have been sent off for an ugly foul on Messi, that deserved a second yellow. The referee cowardly kept the card on his pocket but the Gods of Football made Madrid pay back as Alves pounced on a rebound from the ensuing free kick to score a fantastic thunderbolt.
5.- With the 2-0 the Camp Nou decided to have fun at Jose Mourinho’s expense. Barça’s faithful started to chant “We love you Mourinho, please stay”, and the traditional “olé” accompanied every blaugrana pass. The match was certainly over…
6.- Only it wasn’t. Sergio Ramos headed home a corner kick, only to see it rightly disallowed by a foul on Alves. A few minutes later, Cristiano made it 1-2 with an exceptional individual effort. And then Benzema scored the equalizer after a huge mistake by the Barcelona defense.
7.- It was a deserved reward for the best Real Madrid that had stepped at the Camp Nou in the Mourinho era. The merengues fought for every ball, never stopped running and always believed in themselves.
8.- The stadium was a bag of nerves. The away side seemed exhausted by the effort and Barça’s recovered control of the match but every time Madrid had the ball the stadium held a collective breath, especially on set pieces. The hosts generated a couple of good chances, one wasted by Messi and the other by Pedro.
9.- With two minutes to go, Ramos was sent off after elbowing Busquets. As usual, Pepe should have also seen a red card after a cynical elbow on Cesc twenty minutes before. Even in their best match against Barça in the last two years, that’s the only thing that could be recriminated to the Blancos, their constant fouling.
10.- And in the end, Barça prevailed by the slimmest of margins. And even then, you could feel that Madrid left the pitch as moral winners. They didn’t lose at the Camp Nou and were really close of winning. It will be an exciting second half of the season. No doubt.