Anti Joga Bonito (Love All Football)

Celebrating club football and shining the light on incompetent and biased journos indulging in stereotyping and negativity.

Daily Archives: March 9, 2011

CL 2010-11, 1/8ths, Part 1

A lot of fuss will be probably be made in the UK about Swiss ref Massimo Bussacca’s poor refereeing last night – and rightly so! While Van Persie is not known for his temper control and fully deserved his 1st yellow, the 2nd one on the other hand is a screamer of bureaucratic pigheadedness by the referees, and a good reminder of the stupidity of such a rule.  Of course proceedings have now been opened against Wenger and Nasri apparently, but I have a lot of sympathy with Van Persie’s reaction last night, and not just for the second yellow, but also as regards the penalty call that gives Barça the 3rd and decisive qualifying goal advantage.

It is true that Barcelona dominated through and through and Arsenal was lucky to make more than 3 passes (Guardiola joke) let alone get the equaliser. Messi’s 1st is a pure delight of futsal-like juggling skill and balance, punctuated in poignant fashion by that decisive volley. But nevertheless a gift is a gift and with 11 men and fuelled by the comeback to a 1-1 scoreline, things might have ended differently for the Gunners. It seems to be standard accepted fare now that Barça should play the return leg of their CL direct qualifiers against 10-men sides. Hopefully this will come to haunt them in later stages – what goes around, comes around.

Notable performances:

MVPs:

  • Almunia (strong return with many great saves sparing Arsenal blushes)
  • Djourou (Geneva born defender shows a lot of composure and presence in a tough ordeal)
  • Messi (inevitably, though squandered a huge amount of chances that should have seen the back of the net)
  • Iniesta (what a pass for the 1st goal)
  • Xavi (could have been ballon d’or for lifetime achievement, there’s always next year)
  • Daniel Alves (for attacking appetite as well as dogged perseverance across the whole pitch)

LVP (least valuable player): Busacca

IP (invisible player): Fabregas (except for the friendly back heel just outside the goal area that sets in motion the movement for the 1st Barça goal)

Highlights (while available) (Note: no stupid background music so quite a good highlight summary)

In the other game of the night, Shakhtar Donetsk, guided by the Romanian veteran Mircea Lucescu, ousted the runners-up from the 2009-2010 Italian calcio season, and thus consolidate their reputation as a rising side in European football, following last year’s UEFA Cup win.  Two goals from Brazilian Willian – and notably a sumptuous curler for the 2nd – and Eduardo’s goal (for the third) sealed Roma’s fate.  The irony of Eduardo’s success in this side will not be lost on M. Wenger hopefully when he ponders why he held on to Bendtner instead of the Croatian-born Brazilian, who by the way has a delightful mixed accent combining his two cultural influences (watch). Veteran sides take heed of this crew.