It’s all over and we’re all done. At least with La Liga. And, really, it was pretty fun despite some saying it wasn’t. People who don’t like children. And probably hate puppies, happiness, and rainbows too. Bah humbug and all that. But it really was entertaining and a great way to watch the youngsters. Now we can begin to break everything down, complain or rejoice in the relegations, and do the same for the promotions.
We started the match with Pinto, Adriano,Bartra, Fontas, Abidal, Maxwell, Thiago, Sergi Roberto, Afellay, Bojan, Jeffren arrayed in what looked like a wonky 3-4-3. The shadows at La Rosaleda kept me from understanding what was going on for about 30 minutes, but whatever, we were kind of trash and Maxwell kept trying to gift them the ball. They scored right as I figured out how to watch the game without squinting and I kind of wish I had kept doing it. Pinto did well, but there wasn’t much he could do to stop it.
And then we took over.
After being pinned back for so long that I noted to a friend that people would probably crap on Bojan for this game without considering that the ball hadn’t gotten out of our half, we suddenly figured out where to be and how to open up their midfield. We didn’t get more chances from that improved possession, actually, at least not before halftime, but we did end up winning a penalty. I haven’t seen it since the biased view I had from the bar, but at the time it looked stone cold and the tussle that ensued was pretty unbecoming of what had been a largely calm affair. Eliseu and Abidal were booked and frankly, Eliseu was lucky to escape with his feathers un-singed. He may be a kinder, gentler Abidal in everyday life, but as van Persie can attest there’s a different King Eric on the field. Would you tempt fate like that?
Bojan did celebrate his goal like he’d just scored the CL-winning goal and while that’s sorta lame because it was a penalty, it’s hard to really blame him. He’s 12, after all and hasn’t scored for a while. Give the boy a break, will ya? He actually played pretty damned well. Get off my back. I mean his. I…moving on!
You know who was also good? Jeffren. And Afellay. And Sergi Roberto once he found his rhythm. Bartra was never that great despite his later aerial prowess and he failed to clear the ball before Seba could get to it and Fontas was of and on.
Afellay’s goal was gorgeous and well deserved after his many runs through midfield over the last few games. He blew some chances before his goal, including his breakaway that he touched badly (I believe on his second touch–it went too wide right and boxed him in, so to speak, keeping him from being able to open his hips for the easy putaway with his left), but he really did put some sweet finesse on his shot and it curled beautifully beyond Willy.
After Bartra rose brilliantly to head home off a corner (a corner!), Málaga replaced their goalie with Francesc Arnau:
Yeah, he played for Barça from 1996 until 2001 after a long spell with Barça B. He then moved to Málaga and Victor Valdés took over. And it was his last match for Málaga and it was great to see him out there one last time. Whee and all that.
But now it’s over. It’s over over over over no more liga I get a break yay wooo. One more match, one more intense and amazing match that I’ll be going absolutely bah-nah-nahs over and previewing like I’ve got something to prove. And then I get my summer vacation. Which, of course, will be about as long as it takes for the rumors to pile up into publishable numbers after the final whistle. So…3 minutes? Crap.
La Liga in Review coming up later this week, folks. I’ve just got to write a screed about how I don’t care that Depor went down even though I really, really like Valeron.