in case you missed it – the 21 and counting edition
In case you missed it – Atlético vs. Real Madrid [2011-03-19, Liga jornada 29, 1-2].
Yesterday’s win increased the magic number to 21, that is, 21 derbies without an Atlético win. As El Mundo put it, Madrid is psychologically, physically and technically superior to their neighbors (the trivot worked!). Karim Benzema and Mesut Özil scored for Madrid, and Iker Casillas used whatever he had on hand (and his hands) to time and again frustrate Atleti.*
ONE. So yay, everyone gets a high-five from Ricardo Carvalho!
* The only bad news is that we lost Cris for two to three weeks.
TWO. The goals. Both were beautiful, and I loved the celebrations as well. Karim Benzema got forehead rubs from Pepe and Ricky for his effort…
… right after everyone on the team, with the exception of Iker, came to celebrate with him. His Liga scoring streak is at four games.
And the hug between Sergio and Ozi on the latter’s goal was adorable, no? How come Mesut always looks so tiny?
THREE. We won the game with two goals, but that effort would have been worthless if it weren’t for the stopping prowess of San Iker, once again. Here are just a couple of his paradones from last night.
After the game, Iker talked about his saves, and said they were mostly due to being in the right place and that they weren’t spectacular. When he talked to Cope and they congratulated him for his great game, he was surprised and said, “thank you, I guess.” Iker also characterized Benzema as “phenomenal as a person.”
FOUR. In addition to doing his goalkeeping duties (making a save saw him rewarded with a hug from Pepe), Iker also did his captain duties, making sure that a confrontation did not become anything bigger.
FIVE. I love the way everyone on the bench is looking at Mou. They’re probably wondering what he’s doing and what’s going through his mind. I suspect no one will ever know.
SIX. Marcelo and Kun almost got into a fight, but they made up in the end. They look like little kids fighting over a toy or something. It’s my turn! Good thing Papá Carvalho and Papá Xabi (who else?) stepped in to separate them, no? Happy Father’s Day to the two of them!
SEVEN. More Iker: his intense look of concentration, that stupid layer, leaning and the wind wreaking havoc with his hair.
EIGHT. My favorite duo.
NINE. Mesut almost got into a fight (yes, really) at the end of the first half, and he kept on yapping away (in what language I wonder) even as he was being ushered off the field by Marcelo. Meanwhile, Sami did some stretching.
TEN. Some idiotic fans shouted “you’re a monkey, Marcelo, you’re a monkey” at Marcelo, and he responded by raising his arms as if wanting more, and this little smile. After all, his team was up 2-0, most likely going home with a win, and prolonging Atleti’s nightmare for one more year. So who gets the last laugh? The fans can have their little chants – that’s all they have anyway.
ELEVEN. I loved this moment where Cris was lying on the field, because with his hand behind his head, he looked like he was just taking a break. And after that, you think he was rubbing his head or making sure his hair looked good?
TWELVE. Why is that shirt so long? Couldn’t it have gone higher?
And for those who are here just for Sergio.
THIRTEEN. We saw Zipi warming up, but it was Zape who got into the game.
FOURTEEN. Cris was insulted throughout the game, but especially when he was substituted. He got the loudest whistles of the night, and then shouts of “die, Cristiano.” His response was to point at his ear and ask the fans for more.
And Mou thought he was taking too long to make his way off the field, so he told him to hurry. Love it!
After the game, Cris said he thought nothing of the insults, because he’s used to them.
FIFTEEN. At the 4:00 mark, Mou was relaxing on the bench with his feet up. By the 4:51 mark, he was glaring at the field and writing so much in his notebook that he had to flip a page.
SIXTEEN. Another great moment: Mou ordering Cristiano to be quiet after Madrid scored their second goal, as Cris was complaining to the referee about a possible penalty.
SEVENTEEN. There was a moment of silence before the game in memory of the victims of the earthquake in Japan, and for Adrián Escudero, the maximum goalscorer of the club in the Liga. Xabi looked model perfect during it….
EIGHTEEN. … which leads us to… The Xabi Alonso pose section.™
NINETEEN. Cristiano confessed that he was “very nervous on the bench after the 1-2 because I’m not accustomed to watching the game from there.”
TWENTY. The Mou corner.
Mou responded to the insults received by Cristiano and Marcelo by saying, “I continue to believe this is a fantastic stadium to play football, with an atmosphere that we would like to have in any stadium in the world, but obviously this type of insults aren’t good. That takes away from this fantastic stadium. You have to have more respect for the players and for their families.”
He also praised the referee’s performance, as well as that of Iker, although “I don’t like it when my goalkeeper has so much work.”
Mou also said that “I was tired, so imagine the players… Cristiano was at risk, Benzema and Özil were very tired. I have to congratulate my players because they were dead tired but gave it everything they had on the field to achieve this win.”
TWENTY ONE. Other game notes: Cris ended the game with pain and inflammation in his left thigh, while Ricardo Carvalho bruised his lower back and suffered a contracture in his right hamstring. Pobrecito. Cris was examined today and had an MRI done, which showed he has a grade I injury to his left thigh, and he will be out two to three weeks.
TWENTY TWO. Looking ahead: the next training session will be on Wednesday, as this week and part of the next are for international games.
Spain – Iker, Sergio, Arbeloa, Albiol and Xabi. March 25 vs. the Czech Republic (Euro qualifier), March 29 vs. Lithuania (Euro qualifier).
Spain U-21 – Canales. March 24 vs. France (friendly).
Germany – Özil, Khedira. March 26 vs. Kazakhstan (Euro qualifier), March 29 vs. Australia (friendly).
Portugal – Cris, Carvalho and Pepe. March 26 vs. Chile (friendly), March 29 vs. Finland (friendly). I assume Cris won’t be making it.
France – Benzema. March 25 vs. Luxembourg (Euro qualifier), March 29 vs. Croatia (friendly).
Brazil – Marcelo. March 27 vs. Scotland (friendly).
Argentina – Garay, Di María. March 26 vs. the U.S. (friendly), March 29 vs. Costa Rica (friendly).
And Castilla plays this afternoon against Alcalá, hoping to extend their non-losing streak to 11. Good luck to them!