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Clasico 4: everything goes as expected
by Paul Kennedy, May 3rd, 2011 8:29PM

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TAGS:  spain, uefa champions league

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[BARCELONA-REAL MADRID] Everything went as expected in the fourth meeting between Barcelona and Real Madrid in the last month. Barca advanced to the final of the UEFA Champions League, and Real Madrid went out claiming it was cheated.

The second leg at the Camp Nou ended in a 1-1 tie, giving the host team a 3-1 win on aggregate.

Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho, ejected in the first leg, wasn't around to complain about the refereeing. But star Cristiano Ronaldo carried the torch, going on about how the Merengues couldn't get a break and the Barca players were cheaters.

"The name of this match for us was 'mission impossible four," said Ronaldo. "This is nothing new; we knew that if we scored one everything would change. [Gonzalo] Higuain scored and it was legal."

Higuain scored in the 47th minute, but the goal was denied by the Belgian referee, Frank de Bleeckere for a foul by Ronaldo on Barca midfielder Javier Mascherano in the buildup.

"He [Mascherano] did not learn that at Liverpool," Ronaldo said of the Argentine whom Ronaldo faced when he was playing for Manchester United in the EPL. "He learned all his cheating tricks at Barcelona. I have never seen him do that once at Liverpool. They ruled out a goal that could have changed the series, but we knew that would happen."

Minutes later, Andres Iniesta fed Pedro and Barca was ahead by three goals on aggregate.

Real then evened the second leg 10 minutes later when Angel Di Maria hit the post and fed Brazilian Marcelo with the rebound to score.

Two more goals would have given Real Madrid an improbable comeback win, but it rarely could keep the ball away from Barcelona long enough to threaten.

Despite Ronaldo's protests, Tuesday's game at the Camp Nou was the most free-flowing of the four Clasicos and the most entertaining.



10 comments
  1. Bill Ford
    commented on: May 4, 2011 at 7:22 a.m.
    If RM would spend more time possessing the ball and less time complaining about fouls they might actually win against Barca, but then again I doubt it! If not for some wonderful saves by Casillas, this game could have easily have been 3-1 for Barca.

  1. Gak Foodsource
    commented on: May 4, 2011 at 8:56 a.m.
    It will be interesting to see what Real does with Mourinho. It has never been enough to win or to beat Barça for Madrid - playing with style mattered too. Mourinho has demonstrated how he wins against challenging teams - a defensive shell, counter attacking football, team-tactical defense, and a strong will. This is not how he played the entire season and the RM squad played some brilliant, attacking football throughout La Liga.. But not only did they not do it when it got tough and when it mattered, they didnt do it against Barcelona, and that is squarely on Mourinho's shoulders. Madrid fans would have rejected Mournho's inter squad from a year ago, and that squad beat Barça and won the CL. How can they tolerate this RM squad with the way Mourinho demonstrated he wants to play over 4 games? Even if he were to change his tactics for next year, the way he lined his squad up in the four clasicos

  1. Gak Foodsource
    commented on: May 4, 2011 at 8:59 a.m.
    Even if he were to change his tactics for next year and play attacking football in ALL of their matches, the way his squad played in these past four matches is emasculating enough for white flag waving Madrid supporters.

  1. Ernest Irelan
    commented on: May 4, 2011 at 1:12 p.m.
    I agree with the fact that Ronaldo did foul, but, unentential as he was tripped an fouled first, thus, could not avoid falling an, supposedly made contact with Javier....it was most difficult to see this contact on replay. I believe the goal should have stood by Gonzalo...I really saw a lot of acting by Barca, however, that being said, no denying, Barca really has good ball control an passing abilities...their tactics are predictable, passing control, getting the striker open, an taking the shot...they have many that can finsh..they have patience in doing so...the game was a bit boring to me with all the fouls an acting going on by Barca...not saying a hard foul is not painful, but, to see a player looking to see if the referee is watching, then , put on the show of extreme pain is pathetic , mho...the two teams use different tactics..no doubt about that...the direct style of RM in this case was not to their advantage, however, they also , did not get any benefit of any calls by the referee that I could see either....but, as a wise person told me, we can not control the referees nor the weather...only our own actions...

  1. Eric Shinn
    commented on: May 4, 2011 at 1:27 p.m.
    At one point, Ronaldo stopped a run INSIDE the box (the ball had gotten away from him) to whine about a handball (that wasn't). Meanwhile, the ball - which had looked like it was going out of bounds) slowed on the wet pitch and ended up not going over the end line after all. If he'd just not whined, he MAY have gotten a shot off with his foot instead of his mouth. Barca were by FAR the better side yesterday, they would be by FAR the better side today, and they will be by FAR the better side tomorrow. The referees aren't the reason RM is heading home.

  1. Kent James
    commented on: May 4, 2011 at 1:41 p.m.
    I agree with almost all the previous comments. RM looked good for the first 10-15 minutes as they went after it (and actually kept Barca from getting the ball), but then Barcelona's superior ball control took over. Yes, a few Barca players embellish things more than they should (I distinctly remember seeing Mascherano after he was fouled looking to see if the referee was looking, and then rolling in agony once he determined he was; pretty embarrassing). Overall the ref did a good job, and calling back the first goal was the right call. When I first saw it, I thought Ronaldo had been fouled, but on the replay, there was essentially no contact; Ronaldo was trying to get a call, and ironically in the process, fell on the back of Mascherano's legs, which the referee rightly called as a foul. The better team went through. For the fans of RM (and all of our sakes), I do hope they fire "the special one." His tactics at home in the previous leg were cowardly (and justly punished) and his whining about the referees is tiresome. Referees make mistakes, it's part of the game, sometimes the mistakes help you and sometimes they hurt, get over it. The refs aren't out to get you (and stop trying to "work the refs" by trying to get them to hesitate to call things against you).

  1. James Froehlich
    commented on: May 4, 2011 at 2:44 p.m.
    Nobody, myself included likes to see the faking and embellishments that often occur and indeed occurred yesterday. However, like all things such antics are not always so straight-forward. There are dives taken to obtain dangerous free kicks or PK's but there are also dives/embellishments taken to level the playing field when one of the teams has chosen, in lieu of skill, to attempt to intimidate the other team and take it out of its comfort zone. In order to ensure that the constant hacking and shoving "from behind" is controlled it is often necessary to make the point to the referee through embellishment. While I don't like to see it, I can certainly understand the motivation. Real Madrid's play reminded of the comment of an old English friend who always you to say, "If you can't play soccer, whack'em!"

  1. James Froehlich
    commented on: May 4, 2011 at 2:47 p.m.
    Also, does anyone else find it somewhat ironic that Cristiano Ronaldo is complaining --- he who is the most famous diver outside of the Olympics??

  1. Walt Pericciuoli
    commented on: May 4, 2011 at 3:48 p.m.
    Real Madrid as they are now, are no match for Barca, PERIOD. After 5 matches this year, it is plain to see by all, Barca are the superior team. The proper team won, no matter how it was accomplished.

  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: May 5, 2011 at 10:05 a.m.
    Higuain's goal was indeed legit...and RM's 'second' goal came as a result of sloppy ball handling deep in the defensive zone...overall the ref did a pretty good job and Messi took a lot of physical abuse...on the day the better team won. Again, C. Ronaldo did an LD disappearing act.


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