Supercopa de Espana: Was it just ‘Football’?

Nov 11, 2011 by     Comments Off on Supercopa de Espana: Was it just ‘Football’?    Posted under: Sports Buzz
This is a tribute post to one of the greatest events of 2011.

The Super Cup 2011 was contested between the hard-hitting rivals of the Spanish history – Real Madrid and Barcelona. Spain Super Cup is the crown of Spanish football. The confrontation was between the champions of the Spanish League First Division and the champions of the Copa del Rey.

Barcelona sealed their place in the cup comfortably by crushing their competition in the league and all the way through. The season campaign began on 28th August 2010 and ended on 21st May 2011 with Barca leading the table from almost the start (November 23rd after defeating Real Madrid) to claim the championship title. They had a 4 point lead from Real Madrid, which also had an excellent season but due to Barca’s better head-to-head record, finished second. They were 21 points ahead of Valencia who took the third place. Such is the domination of these two teams!

Coming to Real Madrid’s position in the Super Cup, Real Madrid had won the Copa del Rey, which was an El Clasico final in 21 years, and made sure they were to see another El Clasico match – The Super Copa! All was decided in extra time when Cristiano Ronaldo scored from de Maria’s cross to end the 18 year Copa del Rey drought.

Talking about El Clasico, the rivalry is argued by many to be the biggest in world football. The Catalans and Los Galácticos have been fighting with each other over supremacy way too hard and way too long. Their matches are too intense. The officials feel the pressure when the two teams step on the ground, and it’s all over the place – in the air. As for the fans, they go WILD!

Estadio Santiago Bernabéu was the location of the first leg of the Supercopa. For us Pakistanis, it was our 14th August treat. The match kicked-off and Real Madrid opened the score sheet first in the 13th minute as Ozil beautifully took the pass from Benzema and shot it past Valdes into the net. But their lead did not last for long and Barca equalized in the 36th minute with a spectacular goal from Villa.

Messi scored for Barca only to be equalized by Xavi Alonso in the 54th minute, it marked the end of the goals for the night. A nice football game, however, towards the end, rage was getting the better off the players. 5 yellow cards of which 4 were shown in the later second half.

Real Madrid looked well in form to take on the Catalans. They held longer possession of the ball (53%) which is quite rare when it comes to Barcelona’s game-plan and tactics. Though Real’s performance wasn’t the same and before the net too many chances were wasted. They should have been able to reach Camp Nou leading.

Pep Guardiola at a press conference on Tuesday said, “In the first-leg, Madrid were better. In these three days, we have improved some things, but I believe they are still better.”

Mourinho kept his post-match news conference custom alive just as he had done since being sanctioned for comments made after the first leg of the Champions League semifinals between the clubs in April. However, Mourinho’s assistant Aitor Karanka said, “If we play the same game we did the other day, the Super Cup will be Madrid’s. The team has to go out wanting to win. We’ll try to play at the same level, like the other day, and let’s hope it shows in the score.”

On Wednesday 17th August, the teams began their second leg round of the cup in Camp Nou. Undoubtedly, it was a tension-filled match but it spilled over into Real Brawl.

First coming to the football game, this time Iniesta netted the first goal and opened for Barcelona. The story was repeated by Madrid equalizing with Ronaldo’s goal and Barca scoring another Messi goal, all in the first half. It took 36 minutes for Real to level the score again as the French man got it past Valdes. As Real celebrated the goal, Barca’s fans cheered for Cesc Fabregas who was introduced into the match. In the 88th minute, Messi’s magnificent strike shattered Real’s dream of holding the cup.

But things went nasty when Marcelo did a fierce tackle on Fabregas which erupted into the darker side of the things which happens in Football especially if these two teams are involved. Yet it was way uglier with 9 yellow cards and 3 reds.

Marcelo did a malicious tackle, a red was fair but followed afterwards was anarchy all the way. There were heated exchanges among the player and then literal brawl with two sequences going to extreme.

The Mesut Ozil and Villa scene: Ozil was making his way to the chaos moving past several of his teammates and Barcelona players who were all muddled up surrounding Cesc. There was a mild contact with Victor Valdes which Villa took negatively and there were certain exchanges not ending with Villa slapping Ozil on the face. Ozil reacted by attempting to go after David Villa, at which point his teammates held him back and further fighting ensued between the teams. They both were sent off along with Marcelo.  Now there is still some speculation about Villa insulting Ozil’s religion (Islam) and him displaying that kind of reaction only to defend his believes. Well with villa playing along 3 Muslim players in the squad it seems less likely to have that happened.

The other thing that happened was Mourinho stealing the show! As the football was in its lowest stage and the off-side action and drama was taking over, Jose quietly went to Barca’s assistant coach and abused him! Not, if poking in the eye is fine with you all.

And thus what should have been the headline: Barca winning the Spanish Super Cup was sidelined by the ‘Poking and Slapping’ news that took over the tabloid world.

In the post match conference Mourinho addressed Barca as a small team: “…It happens with small teams when they find themselves in difficulties.” And that The Spanish Super Cup is nothing big: “This is a tiny little title, but we are not happy to not have won it, but with the evolution of the team, we played both matches very well, we were fantastic.” Truly fantastic.

Mourinho was asked about the Tito incident and he replied: “Pito Vilanova? I don’t know who this Pito is.”

Certainly the national post wasn’t wrong to write: Mourinho turns El Clasico into El Fiasco!

Guardiola, who equaled Johan Cruyff as the most successful coach in Barcelona history with his 11th major trophy, was helpful in what he said after the match as he confirmed Vilanova’s eye was OK.

Guardiola’s post match address also included “I didn’t expect to win. I can only, once again, congratulate my players for the way they competed.”

“Incident Mourinho-Vilanova? I think the images speak for themselves.”

“Lack of respect Mourinho he says he doesn’t know your assistant? Maybe he really doesn’t know him. I know Karanka…”

“One day, this will end bad. That’s what I feel.”

And what we feel too Pep.

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