After five hotly contended meetings between the two teams last season, soccer fans already witnessed two Clasico’s between Spain’s top two teams this year as they contested the Spanish SuperCopa in a home-an-away series.
After a 2-2 draw over the weekend in Madrid, the second leg went north to Barcelona on Wednesday. The play was at times exquisite — Leo Messi proved his brilliance yet again with two sublime goals, including the late winner — but in the end, the scene was all too familiar as the match ended in bench clearing brawls with red cards handed out like promotional fliers on a street corner.
And it wasn’t only the players that got involved, Read Madrid’s head coach, Jose Mourinho, was seen poking an opposing coach in the eye in a sneak attack from behind. The best part of Mourinho’s stealth move? His retreat afterwards like he was walking down the street to buy a quart of milk. Ridiculous.
The bottom line is that, while we sports fans, especially American sports fans, love a good brawl between rival teams (I can’t help but think of the Red Sox and Yankees, of Pedro Martinez and Don Zimmer), enough is enough. I’m tired of the mud-slinging in the media between head coaches. I’m tired of the dirty tackles and I’m tired that both sides always blame their opponents for every fight.
This time, however, Barcelona have a case. Real Madrid completely lost control.
After Barca took an 88th minute 3-2 lead on a wonderful volley from Leo Messi, initiated by a pass from new signing Cesc Fabregas (the former Arsenal captain, whose prolonged, two-year long transfer back to his childhood team has warped the life from us all), Real Madrid turned into sore losers and starting hacking Barca players down like a weed-whacker.
The fact that the first half had two of the finest goals you’ll see this year has now been forgotten. The fact that much of the game enjoyed end-to-end action, proving that money can buy success and the world’s prettiest soccer — out the window. All I will remember about this game is Marcelo’s atrocious tackle on Fabregas in stoppage time, the ensuing brawl, Mourinho’s ridiculous contribution to the melee, and the fact that this Spanish soap opera has begun to bore me.
Real Madrid, who last season needed to play ultra defensively to have a chance against the reigning La Liga and Champions League champs, hung with and almost beat the best in the world. The season is looking up for Real, if only they keep their cool and stop acting like the bratty brother that can’t handle their exceptional sibling hogging all the attention.
Get over it and beat them once in a while if you think you deserve to win.