Champions League (Semifinals, 1st Leg)


German referee Stark came off yesterday in the gallery of monsters of Real Madrid. His name will be recited with the memory that is dedicated to historical starting lineups as justification for a playoff loss and as a summary of favors to Barcelona and Real Madrid grievances. His mistake was to confuse with a red card what should have been yellow, but his worst sin was to leave us without football, match and sport, and left us with the wrong theater, the worst drama.

Pepe was send-off by Stark
Pepe's red card

Pepe's send-off explains the match that was, but not the one which had been played an hour earlier. To be objective, to justify everything in terms of that red card, obviously excessive, means to say only a part of the truth. The truth is that Real Madrid, until that moment, had not played to win but had matched the initiative of a Barcelona that judged as good a scoreless tie. What would have happened with Pepe on the field, is impossible to say, but the projection logic of events leads to a match without goals. Think that the entry of Kaka by Lass (planned for the last 20 minutes) would have altered the destination, is a wonderful exercise in faith. But the Real Madrid players had that faith on the 60 minute.

Pepe paid his bad reputation and the weight of three consecutive Classics. Over him burst the tension on a game increasingly hot. Pepe is a victim who only put the boot in a harsh action. But when Mourinho's scheme turns around a player like him, the Real Madrid takes sports risks ... and also the referees make mistakes.

After arbitration injustice, half an hour ahead, Barcelona took the numerical and psychic advantage. Seven minutes from that convulsion, Villa tested the goalkeeper Casillas and the rebound bounced off the head of Pedro, who was very close to scoring the first goal. Soon after came a goal from Messi. Afellay, who replaced Pedro, faced with Marcelo. Both were looking into the eyes, when the side defense lost balance slightly. It was the split second Dutch player took to reach the last line and pass on pleasure. Messi, attentive and faster than Sergio Ramos, scored at the near post.

Then Messi controlled a ball in midfield and relied on Busquets as Maradona did on Henrique, furniture accessory in that cosmic goal in Mexico'86 Wolrd Cup. In this case, Messi advanced, escaped from Lass, beat Albiol and finally slipped from Sergio Ramos. At last, in front of Casillas, shot with the right leg and the ball went meekly to the net after touching in Ramos.

The second goal ended with thirty minutes where were concentrated all the accidents of the match, therefore, regarded as decisive. However, it does not hurt to review the above, the time lost, the sacrifice for the benefit of the result. When a team plays for a tie for so many minutes, is exposed to an error of his own, a wise of others, a meteor, a butterfly that flaps its wings in Singapore ... or a German referee named Stark.


Stadium: Santiago Bernabeu
Attendance: 75,000
Goals: 0-1. Min. 76. Messi. 0-2. Min. 87. Messi.

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