Super Cup Goes Awry

Pt. Deux @ Nou-

I apologize I could not help the play on words, be they Catalan and French bastardization. Camp Nou Stadium was the setting for Super Cup round two with Barcelona FC hosting Real Madrid with an away goal edge for the title.

The previous match played in Bernabeu stadium in Madrid featured the new look Real pressuring Barca at every turn and for most of the 90 minutes+. The visitors escaped with a draw at 2-2 only through the extraordinary play of their stars. Joes Mourinho probably felt hard done by with the outcome at home, but, he prepared for the next conflict well and the match looked a repeat of Sunday’s.

Pep Guardiola’s no slouch in the tactics either, but, strategy and tactics are only as good as the players on the pitch. Barcelona was again out done in the hustle department. The passing of Real and the intensity again put Barca on their back foot. But, following the traditional the script of hero, Lionel Messi sent Andres Iniesta through for goal one. What a shocker. Nothing should be taken away from the goal or the pass, both top drawer stuff.

Strategy Almost Beats Magic

While the strategy was slightly different for match two, Real pressured Barca relentlessly forcing error after error. Many of the chances The All-Whites produced were squandered with poor or less aggressive finishing. In some cases Real Madrid was just unlucky where Barcelona cashed in. During the match the teams I saw were far removed from last season’s status. Now Real Madrid, in my opinion, has the edge in the mental game.

The strategy and tactics of Barcelona FC has been overcome. Not once, nor twice, but thrice. Yes, Mourinho’s Inter Milan side beat them in the final of the Champion’s League in 2010. That very same Mourinho fashioned two outstanding displays against what most, myself included, felt was the best side in world football. Yesterday, Madrid did not resort to vicious tackles. Most of the rolling about was pure theater on the part of Barca along with the traditional time wasting for which they are famous.

In the end, the magic of Barcelona was undone not by superior force, but, energy and focus. Not many football clubs will be able to follow in Real’s footsteps, but, one or two may muster the energy and focus to push Barcelona from the pinnacle it deserved. That makes me less than happy, because to see them running unfettered through defenses of the world was purely magic. Behind the scenes, I recognized the discipline and structure was the key to unlocking the genius of such gifted players.

 

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