Monday, May 21, 2007

La Liga Es Muy, Muy Interesante

Kind of a long story, but as it turned out I didn't do Bay To Breakers yesterday. But major major kudos to my sister, who came to town and not only did it, she bypassed the walking and drinking that the majority of the 60,000 partake in and freaking ran it. Congrats sis- I'm super proud of you, but I assure you that you will have much more fun when you come back and do Bay To Breakers with me the "right way".

But what I did do is settle in and watch the Real Madrid match and then the Barcelona match, as the run in for La Liga has been fantastic. Barca have been ahead of stuttering Real Madrid all year, with now 2 time UEFA Cup champions Sevilla in there as well. Well at long last Real Madrid caught up to Barca last weekend, and now these two were tied at the top of the table with Sevilla only 2 points behind. The trick is that unlike the English Premiership, where the first tiebreaker is goal difference, in La Liga goal difference is the second tiebreaker, aggregate head to head results are the first tiebreaker. Since Real won the first El Clasico and they drew the second meeting, this meant that Real Madrid were in fact league leaders even though Barcelona had a massively superior goal differential.

Real were away to minnows Recretivo de Huelva and were leading 2-1 late, when amazingly Recre equalized with only 3 minutes to play. 2-2, and the whole top of the table was turned on it's head, as Sevilla had already won and Barca were taking the field in Madrid to play Athletico Madrid.

Or was it? Real, for the second week in a row, scored a goal at the absolute death to turn a 1 point earning draw into a 3point earning win. Very exciting stuff.

So it was up to Barca to keep pace, and boy did they. Up 0-3 at half, and more of the same in the second half for an amazing final of Athletico 0-6 Barcelona. It was Athletico Madrid's worst home loss ever {the prior worst being 0-4 in 1980}, but I am not lying when I say that it could have been much worse. Ronaldinho hit the post with a free kick, Eto'o rocked the crossbah, and they had several other great chances- it really could have finished 10-0. Eto's unselfishness on the first and last goals was a joy to watch and so rare for such a prolific striker.

Arsenal Joga Bonito Wednesday will be preempted
this week for Barcelona Joga Bonito Monday

I normally would not enjoy watching a 6-0 soccer match, but watching Barcelona play is just so enjoyable. When Eto'o, Messi, and Ronaldinho are all healthy and doing their thing, it is the prettiest football in the world to watch. If the rumors are true and the team will be somewhat split up in the summer, with Eto'o likely leaving, then catch one of their last few matches together if you can. But watching R10 and SE9 celebrate their goals together kind of rubbishes the claims that they are still not getting along.

So no change at the top, with Real and Barca on 69 points with Sevilla on 67 points. Real is on top from head to head results even though Barca's goal difference is now 40 to Real's 22. Each team has three remaining matches, so anything can happen and it looks like it will come down to the wire.

Anyhow, if you have GolTV then watch the finish of La Liga over the next 3 weeks- good footy and high drama.

As usual, Phil Ball and Sid Lowe have much better writeups of all the happenings and drama in La Liga than the rubbish found here.

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