Round one draws to an end. The Bernabéu faithful roared. José Mourinho, as is his wont, chides those journalists who walked on his assistant the day before the game. But now that the dust has settled, what have we learned? And what does all this mean as we approach the bells for the second round?
As ever, it’s all in the eye of the beholder. Real were on a high, and this was entirely understandable. They might have conceded the league, but few doubted they had any chance anyway. “It’s practically impossible now” said Alvaro Arbeloa after the game. As you were, then. “When will I get to take on this lot with eleven men” is the best summation of Mourinho’s sentiments.
But the gap had been bridged- 5 games, and three long years since they stuffed their Catalan rivals en route to a second successive title. A painful sequence of defeats; one by the odd goal, two by a brace, and two utter chasings, but almost all characterised by being out thought, out fought and outplayed all over the field. And to do it have played almost 40 minutes a man down, coming from behind made it taste all the sweeter. The possession statistics certainly told one story, but possession isn’t always everything; even, sometimes, for Barcelona.........................
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