Barca 1, Shakhtar 0, “Champions of European Champions” edition (edit)


This one took some time, folks, not only for our beloved Barca, but for me.

For them, the reasons were obvious: We came up against a side with next to no interest in playing football today. Their sole aim was to stymie our attacks, clog the midfield, have at least 5 men in the box and jam up the passing lanes. And, if a counterattack opportunity presented itself, they would be happy to take it.

Welcome to what we’re going to be seeing for most of 2010, so get used to more 1-0 or 2-1 wins, rather than 5-0 blowouts.

The picture that you see here is the epitome of truth and justice. The captain of the best team on the night is hoisting the trophy. It’s also a picture of my Man of the Match, Carles Puyol.

I can hear it now: “New site and already, Kxevin’s out of his mind.”

Whatever. Man of the Match is man of the match. The whole match. Other players (except for Abidal) came and went, going through periods of ineffectiveness, playing with the knowledge of a Monday Liga match, or a World Cup qualifier.

But from moment one of this match, Captain Caveman played as he always does, as if this were the last minute of the last match of the last season of the last year of humanity on the planet. His effort was constant, he was almost always in the right place at the right time, and the one error that he made, a wayward pass that became a Shakhtar break, he broke up inside the box.

On set pieces he lived up to his name of “Air” Puyol, leaping like a crazy man even late, late into regulation time, doing the Captain’s armband proud. For me, MOTM was a no-brainer. Even late, late into the extra time that was necessary to seal this deal, Puyol was playing as if daisy-fresh.

Guardiola rolled out with some semblance of our best lineup: Valdes, Alves, Pique, Puyol, Abidal, The Yaya, Keita, Xavi, Messi, Henry, Ibrahmovic. But what we saw is that in this game that we all love so, a determined defense can hold the best offense. Would Shakhtar have been able to hold us back two months from now, when everyone is clicking and at full fitness? No. But you also saw why the UEFA Cup winners had a slight edge in the overall competition, before we evened things up: While the Champions League winner is resting, the UEFA Cup winner is playing football. Shakhtar were fit, fitter than us, and it showed in their energy and industry.

Thankfully, they used that effort for evil, rather than good (in the playing football sense). We had the lion’s share of possession, epitomized in a statistic: At the 70th minute, we had completed 421 passes, to their 178. But if you don’t have the ball, you can’t beat us. Before anyone snarks about “anti-football,” they looked dangerous on the counter a number of times, and a coach will play the match that he has to play, so that his side has the best shot at winning.

And I’m not sure what they were playing for (penalties?), on a field that looked more like a neglected secondary pitch of a local high school, than a pitch upon which a world-class match should be contested, but I was never lacking for confidence that we would win. And so we did.

Recall that in the LiveBlog I observed that a moment of individual brilliance would be needed to win this one, because our team football was sorely lacking. Enter Pedro!

He charged at the defense, doing what he does oh, so well as Messi’s Mini-Me. His charge drew the attention of the defenders, as they moved to shut him down. This opened space for him to slide the ball to Messi, who was immediately surrounded by 5 defenders, including “Damn, that was weird” Chygnasty.

Messi controlled for an instant, and in that miniscule time span a number of things happened:

–Pedro! made the kind of diagonal run that just begs for a pass.
–The 5 defenders settled in on Messi, sure that he would do what he had been doing, which was dribble and shoot.
–The keeper made this same error, shading toward Messi.
–The 6th defender has to stay put to keep Alves honest, allowing space for P! to run into.

So when Messi controlled the ball, paused for that split second then slotted a beautiful, perfectly weighted pass for P!, the keeper was leaning the wrong way. Why? Because Messi continued his run into the box, which meant that the keeper had to guess that P! would slot it back to Messi, who would put the knife in.

Instead, Pedro! saw the lean and slid a beautiful shot past the keeper (who was helpless, really). And that was that, because except for a preternaturally stupid Busquets giveaway with less than a minute left that resulted in a long shot on Valdes, Shakhtar were not going to get that goal back. They began the day knowing that their best chance was in the penalty shot phase, and they played like it.

And still, we won.

So why the hell did this take so long?

Well, in part you can blame my making a 30+pound mountain bike travel 30 miles in about an hour and 15 minutes. Ouch! My check was cashed when I got home. Yours would be, too, so shut it.

But mostly it was because opinions on our various players were so galvanized in the aftermath of this match that I (however briefly) doubted myself and my own evaluations that were formed in the eye of a blurry, intermittent Web feed, and borne out by a viewing of the match.

So I watched it again, and still nothing changed. So off we go.

Don’t forget that this is still pre-season for our lads, and that our main striker is coming off surgery for a hand injury that has made him late, late, for a very important date. He will integrate into this club in a way that will make jaws drop. He’s already much, much farther along than Henry was at the same point in his first season with us. Henry isn’t fit, either, by the by. Excuses? No. Just reality. People are expecting us to drop the ball and play exactly as we did at the end of last season, in the CL final. Need I remind everyone that last year’s club began the season with a loss and a draw, and had to be more on-form because it had to play its way into Champions League group stages?

Just checking.

But most importantly, the club was collectively off in this match, in part because of the efforts of Shakhtar but in part because they haven’t really played competitive football. Bilbao rolled out a second-class side that didn’t really test us. We played Gamper at about half-speed. The pre-season friendlies probably weren’t even as hard as our practices. So. Not bad for our first real match of the season, because even though the side wasn’t at maximum effectiveness, we still played our game, which is you can’t beat us if you don’t have the ball. Guardiola didn’t look that nervous because he knew this, that Shakhtar were playing as hard as they were going to, and they still couldn’t even get the ball from us, unless we gave it to them.

We got the diet of the Barca Rules: packed midfield, packed box, tight marking on Xavi. It explains the emergence of The Yaya as an offensive force, and will make Piquenbauer blossom even more this season. And it won’t happen very much this season, but imagine a defense of Chynasty and Pique, flanked by Alves and Maxwell. That back line is as potent as most midfields!

As with the Chicago Bulls and the Jordan Rules (allow Michael Jordan to score his 30+, but don’t let the other guys beat you), we will adapt to the Barca Rules. Movement on and off the ball will be even more crucial, and dynamic wing play will be more important than ever, which makes me happy about a bit of news lurking at the bottom of this match evaluation.

And with that, the ratings:

Team: 5. They will improve, but the midfield pressure wasn’t there, nor was the one-touch game that opens up a determined side such as Shakhtar. Some was because of the crap pitch, some was just because it’s early days.

Guardiola: 8. The right starting XI, and the right substitutions, though I would have subbed Monument instead of Busquets. Youth and energy turned this match. But his short squad might bite him in the butt.

Valdes: 6. Dude. Next time you want to watch a match, buy a ticket. He had nothing to do. So maybe it was being shocked that a ball came his way that resulted in that absurd bobble, right on the doorstep, of the long shot that was precipitated by Busquets’ stupidity. Still, I was a little puckered on that one.

Alves: 5. Solid on defense, but man, what the hell is up with his crosses? One still hasn’t dropped from the Monaco sky.

Pique: 8. Full-on Piquenbauer mode today, as he quickly figured out that Shakhtar weren’t going to attack, and the congested midfield meant that he had space to become the attack starter. And what a glorious bit of keepe-uppe in the first half, including a Seal Dribble, to thwart a Shakhtar defender and start the attack. Shame about the haircut, though.

Puyol: 9. One wayward pass kept him from perfection. The rest of my effusion is above. What a majestic match, to show the new kid, Chygnasty, how hard he is going to have to play to displace him. Inspired? Perhaps.

Abidal: 10. A perfect match, right down to his time-killing inteplays with Messi, late in the extra time. Tackles and interceptions, and very intelligent moving forward on offense, including a couple of crosses that deserved a better fate than rolling impotently, across the box. People who say that he needs to play more offense just didn’t realize the kind of match this was. Alves was way up the pitch. If Abidal gets caught up as well, we’re screwed. His forays happened when Alves was back. I can’t say enough about the way he played yesterday.

The Yaya: 9 Man-sized. He was all effort, control and industry. He showed too much of the ball at times. Whether due to overconfidence or the pitch, only he knows. Massive individual effort in the pursuit of the victory. He was subbed when it was clear, on the Shakhtar counter that developed right in his face, that he was hammered.

Keita: 8. What a strong match, from sensing when to attack and when to defend, to intelligent passes (including one for Henry that was thisclose). This is the Keita that we signed, and it’s good to see him. I thought he could have shot long more (well, at all).

Xavi: 6. He’s been better, but he’ll never be worse, which is good. But his giveaways were uncharacteristic, and while his possession game was mostly right, his offensive game just wasn’t there. He usually sees the field better. Some of the blame goes to the attackers, who weren’t making themselves available in the right spots.

Henry: 7. People were ripping on Henry after this match and for the life of me, I don’t understand why. From tracking back on defense, to making passes, to shifting to the center when Ibrahimovic came out, his effort and scoring mindset were constant. Very good long-range effort that forced a save from the Shakhtar keeper, as well. It’s okay to dislike Henry, but you can’t fault him for the match that he played yesterday. He had his usual “soft” giveaways, but that he didn’t have more shot attempts is the fault of his service.

Ibrahimovic: 7. Again, people were all over BANGS, calling him lazy, saying now we see why Inter sold him, blah, blah, blah. But did you see him running up the pitch to break up attacks and harass defenders into bad passes out of the back. Did you see him running onto balls, chasing down long passes intended for him and trying anything to get balls into a danger position, including a crazy lob pass for Henry that I still don’t know how he got over the defense. Henry’s bicycle attempt was unfortunate, but the kind of effort he turned in, without full match fitness and still with a healing hand, can’t be faulted. Expectations are immense. But he isn’t shit if he doesn’t score 4 goals and notch 2 assists. Give him time.

Messi: 9. He didn’t play a whole match, but he was a constant danger. He intelligently held back when BANGS and Henry were roaming the box, sensing that they needed space to do their thing. But when Ibra came off and Henry moved to the center, Messi sprang into action. He picked the club up and put its offense on his back. All it needed was the effort of Pedro! to seal the deal. He was also very smart, in that he knew this would be a long one, and he should save his effort. He did, which also accounts for his being quiet early, and was able to play fresh in the late stages.


Pedro! (for Ibrahimovic): 8. What an impact player. His pace and movement, coupled with energy and ball skills made scoring only a matter of time. He and Messi are quite the danger tandem. And don’t underestimate his awareness in reading the keeper and taking the shot instead of trying for the dish. And I think that he earned the penalty, he just shouldn’t have tried to sell it so hard. But he clearly got Malachi Crunched by the Shakhtar defenders.

Krkic (for Henry): 6. Instant danger, then tailed off. His confidence appears to be growing. That run that he made, even though the shot didn’t have a chance, was exceptional.

Busquets (for The Yaya): 3. Played way too soft for what his role should have been. It’s why I would have preferred Monument in that situation, because he doesn’t screw around with the ball, then flop as Busquets does. He should have kept the ball moving on that late-match giveaway. If any Shakhtar attackers are in place, that’s a jailbreak going the wrong way. Man the hell up. The ref hadn’t been calling those fouls all match. He wasn’t going to start then.

And finally, look at the odd emotions on Chygnasty’s face in this picture. I mean, his club lost, but the club that he’s going to has just won its 5th trophy in 12 months. It’s very funny.


A few more thoughts:

–Speaking of Chygnasty, he looked like a 25m defender to me, all match long. Hell, I almost wish he wasn’t as good as he broke up attack after attack, calmly controlling the ball and knocking off a long pass to start a Shakhtar non-attack. His positioning is already top-notch, and he is physical without being reckless. His performance, and the sudden realization that he’s our player now, was one of the delights of this match.

–We have, right now, the best club in the world. The match fitness will come, the one-touch game will return and the movement off the ball that creates passing lanes will rear its head. Naysayers should just calm down. Some Barca sites are already branding Ibrahimovic a failure in the comments spaces. Wow.

–More encouraging news came in the way we defended aganst Shakhtar’s set pieces. There seems to be less zone marking and more “Oh, there’s the ball” marking. Big difference.

In other news:

Contratulations to Jeffren, who will be staying up with the first team says EMD. Final Fantasy will get the chance to turn some real matches, and I’m sure that he will. He will be on pins and needles in the January transfer window. I don’t think it’s a full-on promotion, but he has until January to show why he should stay. Let’s wish him well.

By Kxevin

In my fantasy life, I’m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, I’m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.


  1. Like Ramzi said, not Anatomy of a Goal is necessary for this one. Kevin pretty much covered it himself πŸ˜€ . The only thing I would add is that this is a perfect example of why we need to spread the field horizontally as much as possible. Pedro’s positioning opened up Messi for him to receive the pass. The FB left Messi to cut off Pedro, allowing P! to pass the ball to Leo.

  2. And even as I type….

    Last Tweet at about 11 p.m. BCN time, and concludes with “Visca el Barca.” I can’t see a player “saying” that, particularly an expensive foreign import.

    Very few Tweets en francais, as well. Color me officially suspicious.

  3. yeah i know some of the MLS players are constantly tweeting but they usually do it from their mobile devices, and all of “henry’s” tweets are from the web. aha i guess he could bring his laptop into the locker room to make a last min reach to his fans before kickoff

  4. oh and i’m not sure if you guys are interested, but i made a volunteer in the goodbye post back at the offside to help out with graphics and the offer is still on the table. i think isaiah has my email from the few times i did the liveblog

  5. Yep. And the Euros, especially handsomely compensated players, no doubt have the latest and greatest mobiles. Unless he just digs the laptop thing.

    But I could see texting from a mobile 10mn prior to a match more easily than from a laptop. And pardon me, but if you’re a working Les Bleus, some dude Tweeting you with Thuram’s picture up, should trigger a response.

    Then again, maybe this whole online world has made us all suspicious to a fault.

    And I’m sure that that if Isaiah forgot about your very generous offer, he has just been reminded of it.

  6. Also, two of the best books on the war are “The Battle for Spain,” by Anthony Beevor (brilliant!) and “The Spanish Civil War,” by Hugh Thomas. I’m partial to the Beevor book, because he makes military history so clear and engaging.

  7. porno mags & barcelona blogs

    maybe the…always good shit there. & i stold a password to the wallstreet journal from my bro’s old job. fuck yeah!

    mostly porn.

  8. Well, there goes Tottenham’s hot start. Modric is out for six weeks with a fibula fracture.

    I’m curious to see Juventus with Diego in the line up. If the team clicks, Ferrara proves that unlike Leonardo he is not over his head, the FB’s go from awful to decent, and he [Diego] stays healthy, they may well be serious UCL contenders. Lots of things have to happen though.

  9. I’ve got Inter in there instead of Juve πŸ™‚

    And I think it’ll be hard for Juve to surpass Inter’s performance from yesterday. Damn, the CL groupstage will be harder than last year for us, that’s for sure.

  10. Inter was as good as Milan was horrible. They are an interesting team, especially now that they have Sneijder. When looking at them, I look at Mourinho due to the control freak he is. Remember the trouble his Chelsea teams gave us? Well, he’s got some similar resources but at the same time he is lacking others.

    – CB’s: It looks like a geriatric home. The CB’s especially are all older and injury prone. He has guys like Materazzi and CΓ³rdoba (fastest CB I’ve ever seen in his prime) but they are past their prime and Marco is as reckless as ever. On the other hand Samuel and Burdisso are saavy and physical but also past their prime. Meanwhile, Chivu is good (he would have fit right in at Barca) but is needed at FB. Still, its a far cry from in their prime Terry-Carvahlo and the likes of Cole and Boswinga.

    -FB’s: A guy like Maicon is vital to Inter because of the lack of quality wingers which are vital for Mourinho’s teams. Mancini and Quaresma being flops has hurt them immensely. They count on Maicon to provide width and play as a winger much more than we count on Alves. Playing the more offensive Maxwell against them may well be a good option because the threat of Maxwell/Henry may be an antidote to keeping Maicon back and that will take out a VITAL part of their offense. Hell, put Messi on him at times as well. Santon has the potential to be great but is still a kid, and Zanetti is always solid despite his age. He’s a tough nut to crack.

    -Strikers: We know Samu. He’ll hassle our build up game all the time while using his pace to be a serious counter attack threat if he can break our backline. Milito is one of my faves. One of the last true target men. A poacher in the box and a great passer with back to goal. He’ll open up space for Samu. However, don’t be surprised to seeing them getting in each others way and mutually taking away space. Also, if they are starved of service (Sneijder and Cambiasso are the key to this), they can be taken almost completely out of the game.

    – Box-to-Box Mids: Mou loves them and these are the type of players (Essien, Lampard, Ballack, Mikerl, et. al) that, when world class, always give us so much trouble. It is vital for their transitions that these guys both defend and attack. Stankovic is prone to silly mistakes but defends and has a good shot, Cambiasso is one of the best registas in the world, and Motta is a decent box to box. Sneijder was the missing link with Ibra gone IMO. If he plays where he played yesterday and comitts himself he may well regain his Ajax form.

    Yeah, I am getting ahead of myself. πŸ˜€

    BTW check out our friend Ramzi’s article over at Pep’s Place. Good stuff.

  11. Thanks for that small Inter-Barca CL preview, Hector πŸ˜‰

    I have to agree, they don’t seem to be quite as strong as Chelsea used to be under Mourinho (at least in his first 2 years).
    I’m looking forward to Messi – Santon. Santon already had some great moments against CR7 last season, will he be able to neutralize our superstar?
    Is Santon injured or why didn’t he play a single minute against Milan?

  12. By the way, anybody bought Roberto Soldado? He just scored a hattrick, now that’s gotta be some points for the fantasy league πŸ˜€

  13. “There’s nothing I enjoy more during a Barcelona game than watching Henry take in the ball and then calmly play it around as you see his mind looking for the opening.”

    soto, there is nothing that I hate more. When titi gets the ball and pretends he knows what to do next. He moves the ball from left to right and ussually ends up giving the ball back or trying to do a half-dribble (just a sad change of rhythm) to finish crossing the ball to the thighs of his defender, a la Zenden style πŸ˜‰ Why does henry have to cross balls endlessly with his left foot while Pedro! can do it much better, faster and meaner? Pedro! should be our man for the wing this season,

    there is nothing that I like more than seeing canteranos grow up with us.

  14. Thanks for the review, Kxevin…I’m just adding another vote for “Homage to Catalonia.” It is also funny in a way that no other “war correspondent” book I’ve ever read has managed to be. There’s a passage in the early part of the book where’s at one of the fronts and describes how poorly supplied, poorly prepared and desperate both sides are. The main strategy became attempting to convince the other side to desert by shouting across the trenches about how the republicans were eating hot buttered toast in their camp. Of course they weren’t, but it’s actually hilarious (and sad). I think Orwell’s fiction is stiff and didactic, if politically insightful, but his nonfiction writing is incredible.

  15. Gudjohnsen seems to be leaving, does this mean that Thiago or dos Santos is going to be promoted? I certainly hope so.
    one main difference between Chelsea and Inter in my opinion, and the main reason I am not so worried about these particular couple of games against the Italians, is the difference between both teams in transforming from defense to attack.
    Inter practically plays with no wingers. no Joe Cole or Duff to worry about. and their back line defend very deep, it will take them quite some time to bring the ball up through Sneider, who will be the only player bothering Yaya in that area, there are no Essien or Lampard, as I doubt that Mourinho will be crazy enough to put both Stankovic alongside Sneider in his midfield, behind 2 strikers, not after watching the CL final.

  16. To toss in my two cents on the off topic: I would suggest reading Carmen Laforet’s “Nada”. Don’t be scared off by the usual description of the novel, i.e. “Spain’s Catcher in the Rye”. Regardless of the story arc of the protagonist, it has some great descriptions of life in Catalunya in the early post-Civil War/Franco days.

  17. Corrine, I guess I’ll also have to rethink the position of the keeper for my team πŸ™‚

    I Hope we’ll have a better start into the new season than Atletico Madrid and Villarreal had. Quite surprising results so far.

  18. Muhammad- Exactly. Thats why Mourinho hasn’t been able to play his preferred 4-3-3. If we take Maicon out of the game, they have practically no width. Don’t underestimate the likes of Cambiasso and Zanetti (if played in midfield) in transtition from their own box though.

    BTW That’s why I am liking Juventus this year. They got EXACTLY what they needed in Diego and Melo and got them at good prices. They have their playmaker and depth for the two positions with Camoranesi and del Piero also in the roster. Now if only they would have upgraded their FB’s, it would have been even better for them.

  19. Haha yes Helge, I didn’t put Atletico’s shaky defense into consideration when I chose him as my keeper

  20. Poor Atletico, Poor Asenjo and poor Aguero. Atletico will alway be like that, Asenjo had better offers and Aguero could have picked his team.

  21. grr… i made two teams. One had 4 Atletico Madrid players on it πŸ™

    the other one has ALOT of Barca players, so no points from them as of yet, my teams have 6.5, and 7 points.

  22. yeah i wasn’t thinking when i made my team and have an atleti player in every position. smart! i made another team of players that i thought were good looking just to see if their looks were on par with their skills and it did better than my actual team. interesting

  23. well, logic only dictates that Atletico Madrid should whoop Malaga’s ass. Thanks Atleti, for continually refusing to conform to logic and reason. Has Villareal played yet?

  24. Villarreal tied 1-1 with Osasuna.

    Pretty shocking to see Atleti lose to Malaga. 3-0.

    And Valencia beat Sevilla in what was a pretty meh game. 2-0

  25. this match was horrendous.. henry.. shit. ibra.. shit. keita.. shit. the only good guys out there were messi, yaya and the defenders + valdes. Great sub from pedro but guardiola should have done substitutions way earlier. henry should have been subbed at the hour mark and keita after that. keita did absolutely nothing useful to the attack.

  26. i’m going to put my two cents in the off topic as well: G. Orwel did write some interesting stuff but for the most past I was bored reading his books(even “Homage to Cataluya”) but I would suggest reading “Pride of Carthage” by David Anthony Durham. It’s about the 2nd Punic war between Carthage and Rome but it does relate to Barcelona because , well, it’s in the name. Barcelona derives its names from Hannibal Barca, the great general and king from N.Africa… Great novel, you feel like you’re there.

  27. I’m really surprised by the comments of some people, they just won 2 FUCKING Super Cups!!

    Alright, it wasn’t a good game but cut the guys some slack, I think some fans are getting to spoiled..

    I’m sorry for the language but sometimes I get so frustrated by the way some people comment on our players..

  28. about the inter preview: Inter look more dangerous than last year. Eto’o at the moment looks more dangerous than last year, and he reads the game so well. I don’t think we should worry about them just yet however because we haven’t really seen Barca click. When they do click, I’m expecting some “Messi Magic” and “ibra cadabra” with a back ground tune of “Humphry Bogart”

  29. Yeah so I included Suseta in my fantasy squad and he didn’t play so I’m a ‘man short’ but I’ve got 5 players (4 Barca) that haven’t had their scores posted. Saldado’s hatrick will probably make up for i though.

  30. could someone help me with something? i just got a sports package from comcast to get fox soccer channel and nba tv (my other sports love), and i was really looking forward to the fox soccer report, since you can’t get much of any soccer talk on sportscenter, obviously. but it’s really kinda disappointing. they start repeating themselves after like 20 minutes as if there’s nothing else to talk about but the EPL, maybe a bit of Serie A and MLS. they were talking about that West Ham riot leading into a break the other night, and they came out of the break saying the exact same thing from 3 minutes before. i nearly threw my remote at the TV. is it just me, or are they lacking a bit of worldliness? do they just talk about the stuff they televise? i’d much much much prefer they went in depth on the french league or portuguese league or whatever before they start repeating EPL highlight packages.

  31. *Sigh* Some of you guys DO know we started out last season with a loss to NUMANCIA and a draw to Racing, right? And that was being on form from the UCL qual round and with Iniesta healthy. Jeez…. What about the seemingly inconceivable possibilty that Shaktar is a damn good team that had us against the ropes last season until Messi saved the day and the pitch was shit?

    Take a chill pill for goodness sake’s otherwise you won’t make it through the season. Keita was shit? Watch the match again, Mike. Watch it closely and see if you can make out who was breaking up Shaktar counters left and right while linking up defense and offense with Xavi man marked?

  32. Museum- FSC doesn’t have La Liga rights so they give their own leagues more attention. Gol TV News is what you want.

  33. Hector, sorry but I fell like you talk about me. You’re right but I still think the list of players is short. Pep has said also but he says he trusts our youngsters. Iniesta or Pedro in the wings and Thiago or JDS should do a good job. Chigro or Busi as dm when Yaya leaves also. I don’t like Keita’s game at all even though I like the guy πŸ™

    visca el barça

  34. Yeah, we can’t Gol TV in Minneapolis. Don’t know why, they just don’t offer it. Still, it’s not like Sportscenter only focuses on stuff they have TV rights to. Or at least it used to be that way, they might have rights in just about everything now. Oh well.

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