Sunday, March 04, 2007


Barca gave the lead in Spain away yesterday to a Sevilla side who deserved all three points. El Mundo Deportivo gives the ref some stick and the red card he gave to Ludovic Giuly was inexplicable, but by that point, Sevilla had already taken the lead, so it was somewhat pointless. The game was a lot like the Liverpool match: Barca played great for the first half hour or so, allowed an equalizer at the end of the half, and then sleep-walked through the second half. Daniel Alves is simply outstanding and Sevilla deserved to win because of him.

A few other thoughts:

1. Ray Hudson went wild for Barca's opener because of the quality of the cross from the right, but never noticed that it was Zambrotta who crossed, not Giuly. And the initial pass came from Oleguer in midfield. Barca's defenders might struggle with that whole "defending" thing, but they sure can pass.

2. Rafa Marquez remains crap. He got turned by Kerzhakov for the equalizer and nearly gifted Kanoute a winner early in the second half by tripping on the ball six yards from goal. Victor Valdes bailed him out there, but seemed to misjudge Alves's free kick for the winner.

3. Ronaldinho is quite good as a central forward. His play to draw the red card/penalty was sublime and would have ended the game and given Barca a five-point lead in the Primera if not for Palop's feet saving a penalty that was struck right down the middle. The match swung immediately after the saved penalty. If Barca lose the title to Sevilla, that'll be where they blew it.

4. Rijkaard's subs made no sense. He pulled off Ronaldinho for little apparent reason (unless Ronnie is really getting tubby). He brought on Eto'o and Saviola and left them with no wingers for support. Rijkaard's bad subs are why Barca struggle in second halves. They badly miss Henk Ten Cate, as without him, Rijkaard has been revealed to be a bit of a Don Shula: good strategy and no tactics.

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