El Clasico 6: From Valencia with Love – Nana Wireko
After showing a steel of nerves, shrewd and incredible counter-attacking football on Wednesday to defeat the Cyprus fantasy team Apoel Nicosia…. Real Madrid went to Valencia and did another thing worthy of mention….if not praise. Hahahaha…i guess you thought it was the draw that took everything from Madrid. No, this is a recount of Madrid’s heroics at the Mestalla earlier in the season. I just pray Madrid fans will have something to be happy about. All is not lost yet…there is a lot more to come in La Liga. This is where Champions show their class.
Jose Mourinho tried his luck at the Mestalla and it paid off immensely. I even wrote on twitter that, Mestalla is now the home ground of Real Madrid. Many are the people who said that was an understatement. Not only did the score line make Madridismo happy but Mourinho found impressive reserves as well.
Nine changes brought nine goals – six for Madrid, all from the trio of Kaka, Benzema and Higuain. The trivote has worked for Real Madrid against Barcelona in the two el clasicos gone by. This time around, it wasn’t a trivote but a magnificent trio of skillful players who could do anything and everything with the ball at their feet.
Valencia did not help matters as their defense crumbled against Real Madrid in the first half. “I’ve never suffered such shame on a football field,” was coach Unai Emery’s angry assessment after the game. “We played like a team who is 15th in the league.”
Except Valencia are not 15th on the league table. They are one of the clubs who will accompany Real Madrid and Barcelona to Europe next season. They are the 3rd on the league table in Spain.
One, two, three – Benzema, Kaka, Higuain. It was simple, yet a counter-attacking masterclass; honed on the training ground, executed on the battleground; and in truth, few sides would have coped. The movement was exquisite, the understanding exemplary, the combinations sublime. Confidence oozed; class bubbled. Madrid’s attackers were sublime and lethal. Each one knew where the other was. It was like they were connected as with the case of twins. They exploited the space, got behind the full-backs, made good use of the flanks, passed intuitively, gelled impressively and finished ruthlessly – with pace, power and panache.
Benzema was lethal. He did a lot of runs. His work rate has improved tremendously and he isn’t the man we saw some months back. He has the zeal to excel now and he isn’t lazy. Adebayor I must say has helped in the development of Benzema. As soon as he came in, we saw a great change in the attitude of Benzema. He was as if a man possessed by evil spirits to do the impossible. Only this time, what Benzema did, does and will do isn’t an impossible mission. He has the talent and will surely make it at Real Madrid. He wouldn’t be an example of Gilardino at AC Milan.
Higuain was devastating. His pace and positional play is something worthy of emulation. He is and will be useful in Mourinho’s counter-attacking play. He has been missed by all Madridismo but he prove
d again that even after injury, he can score hat-tricks. Something all Madridistas will be happy about. Renaldo, the El Fenomeno has a competitor now.
Kaka was everywhere. This could have been one of Kaka’s best games ever since he j
oined Real Madrid. He scored two and assisted two. This was the Kaka of old. This is the Kaka that I don’t want to see leave Real Madrid. He will surely do well as Benzema has exemplified.
And together, they were magnificent and unplayable. Mourinho watched in delight. “We played spectacular football,” he said afterwards. “We were absolutely fantastic.” It is going to be another 2 weeks of Champions League football between Real Madrid and Barcelona. The remaining clasicos will be a joy to watch.
It is time to observe another 90 minutes of clasico action. Injuries are piling up. Coaches are mapping up strategies. Formations will keep on varying. Cards will flow. Only the strong will survive!
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