Thursday, February 22, 2007

Camp Wuhoo

Satan was just on the phone. Apparently hell has frozen over. Funny that it coincided with Riise scoring with his right foot.

What a night? What a match? What a comeback? What a payback for Rafa for his faith in Bellamy and Riise? What a perfect way to put the headlines from Portugal behind us? I was impressed with the show of teamwork and unity. This team is never beaten as we've shown in Cardiff and again in Istanbul. Barca had the best of the first half and we were looking in danger at one stage. But we never let the heads dropped and kept hope in our hearts. Barca on the other hand seemed to lack spirit and lost heart when they conceeded the second goal.

It was superb to see Craig Bellamy score after the week he's had. I'm not a fan of his off the field antics but it now seems that the reports from Portugal were greatly exaggerated. After the match he said "You know what our gaffer is like and how strict he is, if it was a bigger problem I wouldn't be playing here, don't worry about that." Rafa is a disciplinarian and if the tabloid reports were accurate I don't think Bellamy would be at the club now. I shouldn't be surprised by English tabloids blowing stuff out of all proportion and neither should you. Bellamy ran and harried the Barca defence all game and unsettled them. His pace was a constant threat and a useful outlet when we were under pressure. His goal and assist were the perfect riposte to all his critics.

Momo was absolutely massive tonight, man of the match for me. He is a monster of a player and gave Barca no time to get their passing patterns going in midfield. It just goes to show how much we've missed him while he's been out. Remember that he's only 22 and if he improves his passing will be a world beater. Apology accepted Thomas, Momo was injured and not faking it. Hope that he's ok now and not out for any time now.

Riise was poor tonight. But i forgive him as he did it when it counted. And with his right foot, I can't say that I expected that. It's usually only for standing on. Maybe Bellamy was knocking it into shape with his golf club. I still think that we need to buy a left back this summer, unless Insua looks like he'll be able to make the step up next season.

I think that Rafa's tactics worked down to a tee. Gragham Hunter was on newstalk 106fm saying as much after the match. Arbeloa and Finnan by and large did good jobs on Ronaldinho and Messi. Was impressed with Arbeloa. Pretty good debut. Xabi was often the deepest of the midfielder and mopped up in front of the back four, before releasing the ball forward. Momo, Gerrard and Riise in front of him all hassled and harried the Barca team.

Our high tempo pressing style will have to be repeated in the second leg. We may be in the driving seat but there is no way that this tie is over now. Barca need to win by two clear goals but we can't get complacent as they are well capable of scoring two. But their defence didn't look rock solid so I think that we can score at Anfield. Wasn't that impressed with the ref who was very fussy and gave far too many frees.

Sheffield Utd in the league on Saturday seems boring in comparison to this. But it's another three points and we need to keep picking them up if we want to stay in third place. We often took our eye off the ball in the league in '05 after European games. Hope that isn't the case on Sat.

Good to hear that Mascherano has finally been given the green light by the premier league. I wonder if we'll see him against Sheffield Utd?

I watched the match in Keatings with Thomas, Al and a crowd of Catalans from the Catalans a Dublin website. Sergi and his mates provided a great atmosphere and it made a good match even more enjoyable.


Sergi said...

YOU enjoyed the match, not us! :)

Honestly I don´t see Barcelona winning by two goals at Anfield... but with Etoo playing and Messi and dinho.... never know!

Mal said...

It's still possible for you to win it. Don't write it off yet. I hope that Momo is fit for the second leg as he was awesome last night.

Katherine said...

Would ya look at the lads having a great laugh. Watching football.

Mal said...

It was a great laugh alright.

linda said...

Congratulations! And I mean that sincerely. It's nice to play a English team and not come out of it completely enraged for once (you know which one I mean). Fair play to Liverpool, and if you guys do go through instead of us at least I won't feel any bitterness.

Re: the game itself, I thought Liverpool did very well to come back the way they did, and all credit to Rafa for his tactics. On the other hand, Barca were very below-par. Our 'keeper had one of those days, but it's hard to blame such a performance on him. It was hard to believe at times how disjointed we were.

Hopefully we won't embarrass ourselves again in the second leg, but the way I see it, Barca's away form has been so bad this season it's hard to see us getting a result that will allow us to go through.

Mal said...

Barca will have to go all out in the second leg and Eto'o being back will make a difference. I think that it'll be a very attacking game from barca which should leave gaps for Liverpool to exploit on the counter attack. I can't wait for it to kick off next week. Not as excited about the Utd match as I normally would be because of the barca match.

linda said...

Having watched some parts of Barca's last game again, my confidence has dropped even more. We're certainly not quite ready to go to Anfield and win.

Good luck against Man Utd! (The Liverpool clash is sandwitched between two massive games for us - Sevilla and Real - but it's hard to top the Champions League.)