Otherwise the coaches went with their top line-ups and seemed to have thought through what winning this specific match-up would entail.
Barca pushed it into another gear at that time only to find Atletico was right with them. These four ended up being played at a frantic pace and produced scoring moments on both sides. If anyone doubted the tackling tactic included strong-legged techniques, Madrid’s coach, Diego Simeone, was clearly seen indicating by hand gestures and words that he wanted his players to kick out at their opponents hard, “pegale fuerte” (hit him hard) could be clearly read as he mouthed it.
As the half neared the ref added four minutes. At the 46:50 mark Pinto had the save of the half off a Villa strike that would have certainly opened the scoring. That is until the 71st minute when an Iniesta pass, a copy of the one he received from Messi in the first half, reached Neymar in stride. The injuries were to key players.
The second half was even more intense than the first with another four yellow cards. The rough play yielded three yellow cards for Atletico by half-time. Barcelona was playing without the injured goal keeper Victor Valdes and Atletico’s Diego Costa had been a question mark until game day. The second leg, at the Vicente Calderon, will be the decider and Atletico are now in the driver’s seat.
. On the Barca side the offensive triumvirate of Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, and Neymar supported by Cesc Fabregas, Xavi Hernandez and Sergio Busquets, was given full license to roam and strike. The match reached a crescendo when Diego blasted a long range shot at the 56th minute that just grazed a defender before going into the upper right corner of Pinto’s goal, and past his grazing fingertips, for the opening score of the match.
Today, hosts Barcelona tied with visiting Atletico Madrid in Champions League play at the Camp Nou. But the whistle blew on a nil-nil tie at the half.
The hosts took over from there and the last 25minutes, added time included, saw attack after wave of attacks from Barca, but to no avail. A golazo!
Gerard Pique fell poorly on his thigh and back off a heading attempt and left the game at the 12th minute and Costa came up lame with what looked like a thigh injury of his own around the 28th minute and also left the match.
But not before another Messi gem of a play that set Iniesta in the box with a one-on-one against Atletico’s Belgian goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois, only to have Uruguayan defender Diego Godin slide in at the last second to block the goal-bound strike.
Early in the first half Atletico showed what its strategy would be, pressing up high and tough tackling everywhere else. The Brazilian struck the ball on the run lifting it over any potential defensive slide and curling past Courtois diving hands. But the yellow cards were the larger story as were the early injuries. They indeed created chances and paid the price for their virtuosity suffering a succession of Madrid fouls.
The tactics, though, also worked for most of the half and though possession was in Barca’s favor 65% to 35% it was Madrid who had the early chances, one by David Villa a clear chance
Latest posts by admin (see all)
- My Top 5 Sports Betting Sites - March 24, 2017
- First bookmaker opens in gambling-mad Spain| Reuters - February 15, 2017
- Centaur Galileo, Sports Betting Hedge Fund Inspired By Mark Cuban, Collapses - February 2, 2017