The Camp Nou was buzzing as almost 100,000 fans commemorated Lionel Messi’s 500 goals. It seemed as if the match against Osasuna was a side attraction. The match ended up being enjoyable while putting pressure on Real Madrid to perform. Leo appreciated the gesture, but, as we saw, he wasn’t done yet.
This review comes at a delay because I’ve spent the last two days in a fugue state, waiting to wake up from what surely must have been a culé’s hopeful, feverish imaginings.
On Wednesday March 8, Barcelona fans and football fans alike witnessed one of the greatest sporting comebacks ever seen. A comeback against a team, despite their tendency to bottle big European nights, who are definitely considered Champions League heavyweights, Paris Saint-German. Coming back against the Parisians at the Camp Nou always felt far fetched, but never impossible. The French side, who have regularly showed their weaknesses in big moments in Europe, seemed very vulnerable from kick-off in the second leg in Catalonia. Tonight we saw that Juventus are no Paris Saint-German.
Yes, I know about PSG and that historic comeback. That was truly something special, a magical night at the Camp Nou when we witnessed something that had never happened before. A 6-1 win after being 4-0 down? A stoppage time winner that saw a stadium of nearly 100,000 explode? Sergi Roberto will forever have a special place in the hearts of all Barça fans. Neymar’s undying faith that anything can happen fueled his wonderful play. It was one of the greatest nights in football history – unless you’re a PSG fan, of course.
But la Juve is a different beast altogether.
FC Barcelona scraped out a 3-2 win over Real Sociedad at home on Saturday for a vital, if not convincing, three points.
FC Barcelona wasted a golden opportunity to go top of the La Liga table as they lost two to nil away to Málaga CF. The team was set up all wrong from the start with an obvious eye towards Champions League play on Tuesday as an excuse. Luis Enrique must shoulder a lot of the blame, but the players themselves must take a serious look in the mirror if there is any doubt why the club won’t win the league this year.
You can say it was a hangover from their last match and you might be right, but the reason FC Barcelona lost two to one to Deportivo de La Coruña at the Estadio Riazor was lack of fire and individual errors. Misplaced passes and poor defending on corners led to both goals for the home side. Barcelona on the other hand didn’t create enough chances and the few they did were wasted whether it was the final ball in the form of a bad pass or a lacking shot.
If any of you have ever seen The Departed (no spoilers here), do you remember that part in the elevator where you thought it was about to end well and then it suddenly didn’t end well at all? With this win over Atlético Madrid on Sunday, La Liga has become that elevator scene. And yes, Real Madrid also won against Villareal, but they were anything but convincing – and once again, dubious referee decisions (yes, again) allowed Real back into the match. FC Barcelona are closing up the gap, and Sevilla don’t appear to be going anywhere. While this ain’t Boston, that elevator scene might be playing out over the next few weeks.
The weekend is upon us and it’s time for another La Liga match. This one can only be hectic and tough, as FC Barcelona travels to Madrid to play Atlético Madrid for the 3rd time in February. With Real Madrid’s loss in midweek against Valencia, it’s time for Barça to finally close the gap and smell 1st position, although Real Madrid has one match in advantage still.