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Stamp act overshadows Barca win
by Paul Kennedy, January 19th, 2012 2:53AM
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[EL CLASICO, ACT 4]What would the El Clasico be without another Barcelona win and another piece of stupidity from Real Madrid? Barca came back to win, 2-1, away on goals by defenders Carles Puyol and Eric Abidal in the first leg of their Copa del Rey quarterfinal series marred when Real Madrid’s Pepe stomped on Lionel Messi’s hand. Was it intentional or not? Those on the scene weren't immediately certain, but from his seat at home English star Wayne Rooney was sure, tweeting that Pepe was an "idiot" for his gesture.

(Click here for highlights.)

Midway through the second half, the Brazilian-born Pepe, now a Portuguese international, awkwardly ran into Messi and then stood on his hand as he walked toward the referee to protest the yellow card given to teammate Jose Maria Callejon for the foul that left Messi on the ground.

Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho feigned ignorance about the incident, but later conceded, “Obviously, if it is intentional, is it punishable."

But Mourinho's tactics to use Pepe in midfield with Xabi Alonso and Lassana Diarra signaled his fear that the Merengues would be overrun -- even at home -- unless they took a defensive approach midfield.

Real Madrid managed to keep an eye -- and foot -- on Messi, but it failed to mark Puyol and Abidal, both left free on the two goals -- Puyol for a header off Xavi's corner kick and Abidal for a free shot on goal after being put through brilliantly by Messi.



5 comments
  1. Emile Jordan
    commented on: January 19, 2012 at 9:30 a.m.
    Mourinho as coach sets the expectations for his team. It is very sad that he has reduced a team full of superstars to a team reduced to cowardly cheap shot artist. The game is quickly moving towards a universal skill and creative team approach. Professional Sports Owners and adult fans are learning globally that quality of play precedes winning. Isn't that what are youth teach us when they are allowed to entertain us with their guided discovery of learned skills and creativity.
  1. Walt Pericciuoli
    commented on: January 19, 2012 at 9:32 a.m.
    They weren't playing Sister Mary's school for proper young ladies, yet Barca put in another another dominating performance without having to resort to gorilla tactics. They are simply the best team in the world now and maybe ever.A team that all young players and coaches should watch and lean from.
  1. Gak Foodsource
    commented on: January 19, 2012 at 11:55 a.m.
    I couldn't be more disappointed in Mourinho. I would be surprised if Madrid fans aren't waving their white flags by the next game, let alone the end of the year. Mourinho has had two years to figure out how to beat Barca, and all he can do is settle for the same 3 defensive midfielders hoping to spring Ronaldo out diagonally forward for a quick counter? He, unlike many other teams Barca face, has the players to compete with Barca for possession and challenge them defensively. But Kaka and Ozil sit while Pepe and Alonso are empowered to foul. I think the game could have been different if Di Maria was healthy and Ronaldo hadn't been knocked. But still, this approach hasn't proved to be effective at stopping Barca from scoring, and it limits Madrid to two or three scoring opportunities a game. The results are clearly speaking for themselves, but it shouldn't be forgotten that Mourinho was given the time, budget, and players to build whatever squad he wanted to challenge Barca, and this is what he has given us. Pathetic.
  1. Andres Yturralde
    commented on: January 19, 2012 at 12:29 p.m.
    Easy on the gorilla tactics, Walt. You offend the gorilla.
  1. Kenneth Barr
    commented on: January 19, 2012 at 9:07 p.m.
    Once again, the "Special One" resorts to the bolthole defense against a team that has demonstrated time and again that it can beat such tactics. He refuses to use his offensive capabilities that at least are the closest match to Barca's. At least Benzema started with Ronaldo and produced an early goal, but then they sat back and tried to defend 1-0. The result, 1-2, with Barca going back home. I'm confident that Barca will make up the five point margin they currently trail Real by and win La Liga once again, along with the Champions League and make it a triple with the Copa. For Real, they need a manager that has confidence in the players to do the job.

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