Frustrating game for all Merengues
Frustrating game for all Merengues

It’s been 6 years now. We’ve been cursed at the round of 16 stage in the Champions League. For some reason, I thought this would be the year we would break the curse; but Liverpool has other ideas.

Liverpool took a page out of Juve and Roma’s book. They parked their 11 man bus conveniently in front of their goal. Real were out of ideas. They had no space to work with, Robben was double and triple teamed every time he touched the ball, Lassana was alone trying to win balls; and when he did he was smothered by Liverpool players. All the passing lanes were cut off for Gago, and Raul and Higuain had no room to work with and couldn’t get behind the Liverpool defence.

With each passing minute that the game was still 0-0, I knew this was going to be harder and harder for us. A Liverpool goal seemed unlikely the way they were playing, but it also seemed inevitable at the same time. Lo and behold, Gabby Heinze makes an idiotic foul, and Liverpool scores from a free header from that free-kick in the 82nd minute.

All credit to Liverpool though. Criticizing their style of play is unfair. Because truly, they gave themselves the best chance to come away from the Bernabeu with a good result. Benitez played his cards perfectly. My man of the match would be Benayoun. He really stepped it up with Gerrard out of the line-up. With both Gerrard and Torres being back to full fitness in the second leg Liverpool are heavy favorites now.

My biggest hope now is that the pressure of Anfield will force Liverpool to attack a little more than they did in the Bernabeu, which will open up the game for Madrid to play their game better.

Here are my player ratings for the first leg:

Casillas: 7. Did what he could to keep us in the game. The goal was not his fault.

Pepe: 7. Kept Torres in check. Did his job well.

Cannavaro: 6. I though he was good along with Pepe. But he did make a mistake which Torres almost capitalized on.

Ramos: 7. One of our most attacking threats was a right back. Kind of sad.

Heinze: 3. His foul which led to Liverpool’s goal was pure insanity. He’s made costly mistakes before, but this one really left a bitter taste in my mouth.

Lassana: 6. Not his best game in a Madrid shirt. But he’s not really to blame. He did most of the fighting on his own in the holding midfield position.

Gago: 5. An off day from him. Liverpool gave him no space to work with.

Robben: 6. He’s always one of the most dangerous players in the World, and any threat we had was because of him. But his decision making was awful tonight and had he passed the ball more the team would have had more chances.

Marcelo: 6. He was one of our best players in the first half. I can understand why Juande Ramos subbed him out for Guti at half-time, but boy do I wish that didn’t happen (I’ll get to Guti soon).

Raul: 5. He was invisible. No service though. He had one chance in the opening 5 minutes that I jumped out of my seat expecting him to score.

Higuain: 4. One of his worst performances in a Real Madrid shirt.

Guti: 3. Awful. I don’t know whats wrong with him lately, but he is not the genius Guti we fell in love with in his younger years.

In conclusion: If we beat Liverpool at Anfield in the 2nd leg, I will dive in the Halifax Harbour. Well that’s stretching it, but I will be going crazy somewhere. I hope for the best, but no matter what the outcome will be…..:

HALA MADRID!

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