Manchester United vs. Real Madrid Review
First off, I want to give a big congratulations to Real Madrid and especially Jose Mourinho, also known as the Special One who I’ll be supporting throughout the rest of the tournament. Naturally, I have zero sympathy for Manchester United and any refereeing decisions that go against them. But let’s set aside some of my bias for a bit and talk purely of footballing terms.
Now, I’ve watched the two Clasicos coming into this game, and I have to say Manchester United have played much better tactically than Barcelona and their predictable tiki taka game. It was actually a bit back and forth, but ultimately United looked strong. In fact, when it was 1-0 up for United before the red card, it looked pretty bad for Madrid and United look defensively sound.
Did Madrid have a way back? Possibly. We can look at this in many ways. United had momentum, seemingly had control of the game and shut down any Madrid attack. So I will say this - for most of the game United did look a better team. Who knows what would have happened if it stayed 11 vs. 11 throughout the rest of the game? Mourinho did pull out one of his cards in bringing on Modric who changed the game drastically - much more than Kaka ever did - so maybe it was him that made the difference. I doubt the mere inclusion of Nani in the last 30 minutes would have silenced Modric. Honestly, I know and I will admit that football is football and absolutely anything could have happened.
However, once you’re a man down regardless of if it was justified or not you have to reshape your team especially when you’re a man up. United had Nani and Giggs in the wing, Cleverley and Carrick working tirelessly to stifle Madrid’s middle of the park. With Nani gone, United needed more cover in the left flank as Evra was on a yellow card. Ultimately, the 2nd goal came from a cross in the left hand side that decided the game. (Let’s just say the first goal was just sheer brilliance from Luka Modric).
Before we get to the red card I want to address other key referee decisions that - I don’t know if people are just blind or too biased to acknowledge these - should have gone against United.
Let’s go through them one by one:
1.Madrid were denied a penalty on Rafael’s handball - http://i.minus.com/iJ6XysLT7IFnG.gif
Seriously, what the fuck are Rafael’s hands doing outstretched like that
2.Madrid had a good Higuain goal disallowed - this is a bit debatable as there was the header that came in to assist Higuain that might have had an infringement, but I personally don’t see much in it. Either way, there are much worse things that go on in the penalty box that are uncalled - but in football this can go either way.
3. RVP was offside on the buildup to Ramos’s own goal. (Alright, bad calls are made now and then, and Madrid should have dealt with the cross better… but it’s still a decision for United)
4. Welbeck’s goal in first leg came from a wrongfully given corner kick, but okay yeah these things happen in football.
Finally, time for the red card issue.
There’s a huge debate on this, it can be argued that Nani is going for the ball right? So what does going into a challenge dangerously with your studs up merit - a yellow or a red? After all, it doesn’t look malicious at all.
But a careful look into the video replay from this angle suggests that once Nani’s studs finds Arbeloa, he has another kick out at Arbeloa before falling down. That probably explains why he dived after acting hurt like the bitch that he is.
Remember this??? Yeah that should have been a red card there.
What about Pepe’s non-existent contact with Dani Alves? In a way you could say karma worked its way here. United had it coming.
Side notes ————-
Regardless, I think Nani would not have made such an impact throughout the rest of the game, and the decision to leave out Rooney who can ultimately play in any position, seems pretty mysterious to me.
Recently, I’ve been finding commentators to be pretty fucking biased and many people tend to believe whatever they see or hear on television. It’s absolutely dumb and disgraceful. If the first incident of Rafael doing the Suarez-like handball replayed over and over again I wouldn’t have to read all this load of shit on Facebook of how people say Man U got robbed of a referee decision - they already deserved a red card to one of their defenders.
To conclude my reflection on tonight’s match, I did feel like Man U were the better team for most of the game, I’ll give them that. But after the man down they looked lost at times and they should have done a better job at 1-0 up. However, over the course of two legs it could have gone either way and in the end Madrid converted more chances than United did. (United should have capitalized on some late chances in the first leg). So in the end, Madrid were the deserved winners of this tie.
Man of the match - Diego Lopez with his amazing saves