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Messi magic subdues cynical Real Madrid
by Paul Kennedy, April 27th, 2011 5:53PM

TAGS:  spain, uefa champions league


[REAL MADRID-BARCELONA] For the first 75 minutes, the Real Madrid-Barcelona UEFA Champions League game, the third of four Clasicos, was a mess. More time seemed to be spent arguing with German referee Wolfgang Stark than getting on with the game. But then Lionel Messi (with help from Dutch substitute Ibrahim Afellay) went to work. Two goals by the Argentine -- his 51st and 52nd of the season -- gave Barcelona a 2-0 win over Real Madrid at the Bernebau Stadium.

The game featured three ejections -- though only one was to a player on the field. Real Madrid's Pepe went off for a nasty challenge on fellow Brazilian Dani Alves in the second half and Coach Jose Mourinho was removed from the bench shortly thereafter.

Barcelona backup keeper Jose Pinto was sent off in a halftime altercation.

Afellay helped break the deadlock when he broke down the right wing and fed a delicate cross that the charging Messi tapped in for the first goal in the 76th minute.

The second goal in the 87th minute was all Messi. The Argentine took the ball 30 yards out, dribbled past three defenders and put the most delicate of touches on the ball to slide it past goalie Iker Casillas inside the far post.

Mourinho, who was banished for telling the fourth official what he thought of Stark's call, continued his rants about pro-Barca refereeing, saying Wednesday's outcome had made next week's second leg in Barcelona a mere formality.

“We’ll go there with pride, without Pepe, who did nothing, without [suspended Sergio Ramos], who did nothing and the coach who can’t be on the bench,” he said. “If we score a goal, they’ll kill us again. It’s a result that is impossible. Today showed we have no possibility. And my question is, why? I’ll live my whole life with this question but I hope one day to get the answer. Why in a game that was equal did [Stark] do what he did? But he won’t answer. He’ll go home because he doesn’t have to answer to anyone.

  1. Kent James
    commented on: April 28, 2011 at 8:11 a.m.
    Jose: Stark ejected Pepe because he went in studs up over the ball into Alves as he was clearing the ball; in other words, he was committing serious foul play and was rightfully ejected. I only saw the 2nd half of the game, but it seemed like an exceptionally difficult game to referee, and I thought the ref got it about right. So stop whining about how referees are stealing your games.

  1. Stephen Jones
    commented on: April 28, 2011 at 8:58 a.m.
    It was clear that Barca was the only team moving forward and trying to score. RMA occasionally countered, but they were primarily content to sit back and for a 0-0 result. The red to Pepe was the correct call. It was a bad and unnecessary play. To blame the officiating for RMA's loss is ridiculous. Mourinho's tactics were to blame.

  1. Ernest Irelan
    commented on: April 28, 2011 at 9:56 a.m.
    I just saw highlights of this game, sorry missed it, two of best teams in the world, mho, an really do not like the lineup for the next game..I think we all agree that Messi is one of the greatest strikers at presant time..he is fun to watch, as is Ronaldo. I was at 2 college games, also, a pro developement game, not as talented, but, many hopefuls an the games were 1-0 type games, very fast action an no arguments, it was good for my son an I as it was ENJOYABLE. A lot of raw talent in the making. There was talk at the games , no one had heard the final score with RM an Barca an did not want to hear as we all wanted to see the replay later. I really like both teams, their different styles of play, but the pure talent on the pitch is amazing for us here in midwestern USA. I do think the next game may be a disaster for RM with the lineup an coach can disrupt the mental attitude before the game has even started..a defeatest attitude is not good...I am just sorry for the sport to have to see this.

  1. David V
    commented on: April 28, 2011 at 10 a.m.
    The world's most prolific goal scorer from 2005-2010, though just coming out of his worst scoring slump ever (late Feb to last weekend), was very sharp and had very threatening runs and attempts on goal... he was mostly sacrificed from his own goal scoring prowess to pull/stretch Real Madrid ... he played extremely wide, earning Messi the space to get free... it was a great tactic by Pep Guardiola to open up the middle for Messi. What an amazing team when you can sacrifice the top striker in the world like this... well done and Kudos to David Villa, who helped his younger teammate and world's best player

  1. Theodore Eison
    commented on: April 28, 2011 at 10:57 a.m.
    Jose speaks the truth. Using the beautiful play argument ignores justice. Pepe was ejected for a 50:50 ball. Barca winning in these circumstances time and again just smells fishy. My two cents.

  1. Gak Foodsource
    commented on: April 28, 2011 at 12:48 p.m.
    Jose speaks the opposite of the truth. This is a man who grows the grass out, criticizes the referee's allegiances before the game, and sends goon squads out to defend and disrupt. The difference is that when you have Porto, that is what you are supposed to do. Not when you have the most expensive team ever assembled. Personally, i would not have shown red on the Pepe challenge. But I fail to understand how anyone can allow this to be about the referee and not Mourinho. Mourinho teams put themselves in the hands of the referee with careless challenges, and then they disparage him when he makes the tou calls. Furthermore, if Mourinho knew that teams against Barça have a history of playing down, why did he play Lass Diara? Or Pepe? Or Ramos? Or Alonso? All players who arent exactly known for their restraint. Why didn't he tell them to be careful with their challenges? I dont trust a man who can never be wrong even when he is wrong. He should not be coaching Madrid next season.

  1. Linda Price
    commented on: April 28, 2011 at 6:02 p.m.
    agree with Gak F. I never listen to what Mourinho says b/c he's just hot air; it's too bad others pay him so much attention. Barca outplayed Madrid and Jose used the wrong tactics and is trying to blame the refs.

  1. Bill Richter
    commented on: April 29, 2011 at 3:06 a.m.
    Studs up, over the ball, into Dani's leg, easy red especially after the way the game had been going. But, Mourinho's thugs weren't done yet, though, we had to see a 2 handed smack to the throat of a Barca player by Adebayor (?), and a Barca player's leg get stepped on deliberately in Real Madrid's goal area after the ball was gone. I learned to dislike Mourinho when he coached Chelsea, and I've only grown to despise him more as the years pass.

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