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Thursday, February 24, 2005

Barcelona: top of the heap

Of all the Champions League performances over the last two days, Barcelona, to my mind was best in show.

I have not seen a team yet handle Chelsea as Barcelona did. Chelsea was buoyed by their lucky goal and had a good spell in the second part of the first half, but otherwise the game was Barca’s to win.

The sending off of Ivory Coast international Didier Drogba was a mistake, and referee Anders Frisk, as usual was a much bigger part of the game than he should have been in general. Regardless of this setback, Barcelona would likely have won the game anyway. Down to ten men, Chelsea had their backs to the wall right at the end of the game, only the superb Peter Cech, by saving about 11 shots on goal, saved a deeper scoreline than 2-1.

As for Barca, they were swathed in individual skill, and a world player of the year to boot; this is a team of known star quality, mind one new face. Maxi Lopez, a recent purchase from River Plate in Argentina, completely changed the game, scoring the tying goal and delivering the second. It’s too hard to tell how much of his play was his or from tired Chelsea players, two of them even having cramps. Chelsea, it must be said, worked very hard. Maxi Lopez, however physically talented he might be, certainly he looks like a quick thinker with the sense for when to pounce.

Mindful that the second leg is in England, Barcelona still has a wall to climb and I think Chelsea will be better in the second game. All things considered the outcome is nowhere close to decided.

Barca looked top, Real Madrid were a close second. Looks like the Spanish came to play.

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Blogger The Merry Whistleblower said...

I've seen the incident that got Drogba his second yellow. Now, maybe I'm just soft and mad because I used to be a goalkeeper, but I thought it was a very dangerous challenge. I've also been reliably informed that he was warned five minutes previously. If this is true, it's got to be a yellow for persistent infringement, and the challenge is arguably bad enough to deserve a yellow on its own merit (or lack of same).

2/24/2005 9:47 PM  
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