As fate would have it, the spanish giants, barcelona and real madrid have a chance to meet 5 times this season! The season when mourinho and his "new" madridstas plan to get some silverware to bernabau and they run into barcelona almost in every competition they get into. The first meeting in la liga was a 5-0 rout by Barca and the second one was a goalless boring draw at bernabau. But in the copa del ray final, mourinho's rather physical, negative and must-win game plan worked out and Barca were finally beaten. This made their champions league semi-final games, the last two of this seasons el classicos all the more interesting.
The first of the two at bernabau was one of the most looked forward to matches of this CL season and it lived up to the billing to a certain extent. The net is littered with articles on how mourinho feels cheated and how messi is the rockstar etc etc, but I believe the game went exactly to plan for both the managers till messi turned on the heat to kill the mourinho plan. Real Madrid is a very physical team and mourinho has given them full liberty to play this brand of football. For a game as important as this, mourinho chose to go in with no real forward man, no higuain, no adebayor, no benzema. It was almost a 5 or sometime 6 man midfield meant only to stifle the midfield prowess of barca. What makes the intent of mourinho even more clear is when he plays someone like Pepe who is a central defender in midfield. He already has Diarra to do the dirty work, why get one more? It was almost symbolic that Pepe got his marching orders in the match. The lack of conviction alone makes me think that Real Madrid deserved what they got. Mourinho came in with a "I may not win but I will not lose" attitude. Really a woeful vision for a club that prides on galacticos and what not. That being said barca has been overdoing the acting part. Busquets... oh man! please stop with the face holding already!! It is super embarassing. I mean, I would like the camera to pan onto Messi when busquets or alves does one their usual "face clutching and rolling on grass with pain" moves!
Hence I feel what transpired is quite fair for how the two team managers prepared their teams including the well publicized sparring before the match. It is strange how Mourinho is taking so less fault for what happened on the pitch. There are tactics and then there is faith! Real Madrid should believe in the talent they have on bench. Higuain started the season great, benzema played well in the middle and strangely adebayor has been found useful off late. Play them!! They are not forwards for no reason! The likes of granero and kaka are waiting in the wings to prove their creative side. Trust that a team with so much talent doesnt need to go into a shell everytime they see the diminutive brigade of barca charge at them! And Barca, I am an ardent supporter of your game, but take this piece of free advice... you guys are great in spite of all the play acting. Cut this crap and you will still win handsomly!
... And as fate would have it, both Barca and Real Madrid lose their la liga matches this weekend to lowly relegation bound teams. :-) Wonder if Real Madrid was sad that they wont make it to Wembley or if Barca was sad that they are getting this in this manner. :-)