Saturday, September 22, 2007

Barça Update: It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Him Back

Bow down before me.

Imagine you have a football match tonight. Imagine further that it's against one of the most storied teams in the world. Now imagine that streaking down the left touchline is the future of football not just on this storied team, or in your league, but quite possibly the world. How do you contain him?

If you're Sevilla F.C. (who have the incomprehensable nickname palanganas, or washbowls), you do three things:

First, you bunker your entire team and play for a tie from the opening kick.

Second, you triple team this football wonder, leaving seven men to cover Barça's remaining nine field players.

Third, you foul him like it's going out of style.

On the other hand, if you're Lionel Messi, Argentine wünderkind, you look at all of this, shrug your shoulders, and score. Twice.

I thought Sevilla's bunker defense would keep Barcelona's open play scoreless streak going in La Liga, but Messi hammered home a cracker of a goal in the 77th minute and converted a penalty in the 79th. Apparently, the guy hugging Giovanni dos Santos in the box wasn't showing him love. He was keeping Giovanni from his first league goal and giving Messi his second of the match via the aforementioned penalty.

Sevilla got one back in stoppage time, but 2-1 was a fair result. A bunker defense against a better team is disgusting and gets no style points, but it's does the job. Kind of like Night Train.

La Liga Standings*

1) Real Madrid / 3-0-0 / 9 points / +8
2) F.C. Barcelona / 2-0-2 / 8 points / +3
3) Sevilla / 2-1-0 / 6 points/ +5
4) Valencia / 2-1-0 / 6 points / -1
5) Villareal / 2-1-0 / 6 points / -1

*Pelé Sez: Most of La Liga plays tomorrow, so Barça could be as low as fifth, depending on the outcome of the Valencia game, a win either way in the Murcia-Villareal tilt, and if Racing can hang three on Athletico. I say they finish the weekend in a solid third, and I'm Pelé, so you should listen to me. Love! Love! Love!

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