Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughReal Madrid v Barcelona (Part 1) - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Real Madrid v Barcelona (Part 1) - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Real Madrid v Barcelona (Part 1)

I love football, and will happily watch any team, any league and any level. Mrs. M often comments in amazement at how I can watch something like Sparta Prague v Dynamo Kiev when I have no interest in either team or the competition they are playing in. But, I have to keep reminding her, it’s for The Love of the Game (and to see some future potential Premiership bench warmers).

And so it arrived, one of the biggest derbies of recent times. The Spanish equivalent of the Old Firm, City v United or Spurs v Arsenal. A game you just had to watch for the sheer spectacle of the worlds best players at the top of their game. Also, being a semi-final, it had all the ingredients to be a potential classic.

I remember a match between these two giants not so long ago where Real’s Luis Figo, taking a corner, was subjected to a torrent of verbal and physical abuse by the Barca fans, culminating in the hurling of a pigs head at him. A pigs head!  Blimey, you don’t get that at Southend v Colchester.

I missed the Cup game the week before so, with a level of excitement and anticipation not seen since they announced the A-Team movie, I settled down with a tube of ready salted Pringles in one hand and a cold lager in the other. The tension was mounting, Peter Drury had already run out of adjectives to describe the occasion before a ball had been kicked, and the Special One looked surprisingly calm although, in my eyes, he looked visibly greyer and podgier since last week.

The whistle blew and………….well, lets be honest, it was a bit flat wasn’t it?  Barcelona dominated the opening half but for all their possession only registered 2 shots on target. Real looked like they were playing for the draw (at home?). Christiano Ronaldo, unsurprisingly, had a strop. My mind was wandering. I surfed the web, I tweeted some observations. Finally some excitement as a bit of handbags broke out, which carried on pitch side after the half time whistle blew. Match officials, substitutes and club representatives took part in some argy bargy which resulted in sub Barca keeper Pinto being shown a red card. I had to put the subtitles on for Gordon Strachan’s half time analysis to find out what happened. The second half carried on where the first left off with a succession of play acting that any amateur dramatics society would be proud of, with players from both sides hurling themselves to the floor and rolling around the pitch like they had been shot. Madrid’s Pepe saw red, a decision which so infuriated the Special One he was sent to his own private playpen, hemmed in by railings and security stewards. More cards were issued here and there until finally the sheer brilliance of Messi shone through. He had been relatively quiet up until now, however he ghosted in at the near post to nutmeg the keeper and then scored a goal that I can only describe as Maradona-versus-England-Mexico-86-esque. The ‘Little Man’ (copyright every ITV football pundit) has now scored 52, yes 52, goals this season. I think Southend have scored 52 goals as a team this season.

So Real were silenced at home. With the second leg at the Nou Camp next week all the pressure will be on José to get it right, to turn around a 2 goal deficit. Will he do it? Will he be able to prove that he still deserves the mantle of the Special One?  Around 9.45pm next Tuesday we shall have found out. I’ll get the Pringles and beers in.


Lee Morgan



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