Atlético Madrid’s Radamel Falcao doubled and wrapped up Atlético Madrid’s victory today over Valencia with a brilliant finish in the first leg of the UEFA Cup semifinal.
Interesting times in Spain at the moment. Real Madrid and Barcelona are reeling after disappointing midweek results on the road in Europe’s big tourney, the Champions League. Giving up a late goal to Bayern’s Mario Gomez in Munich, left Madrid down 2-1 while Didier Drogba scored (amidst performing one of his career’s great acting performances) for Chelsea’s 1-0 win over Barca at Stamford Bridge. Both Spanish sides return to their native soil for the second leg ties next Tuesday and Wednesday, which will be two fascinating matchups. But first…
El Clásico. One of the oldest, greatest, and most insane rivalries continues with a fascinating new installment. Barca won 3-1 in the first matchup in December but with five games remaining in La Liga, Madrid is ahead of Barca by four points. A win for Madrid essentially wraps up the title, while a loss would give Barca a chance. Real face the same questions as always. Can they beat Barca at Camp Nou? Will Ronaldo show up in a big game? Is Pepe the floppiest flopper of them all?
However, Barca is far from their best form at the moment. Messi took a bad looking fall against Chelsea and might not be at 100%. Their defense has been error-prone and fully capable of being shredded by the Madrid attack. How do they balance their lineup with the important Champions League match only three days later?
2:00 PM EST, Saturday afternoon. Find a way to watch this one. These two are running away from the league like every year in recent (and distant) memory, but take note to Spain’s representation in the final rounds of Europe’s club tournaments. In addition to Barca and Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals, Athletic Bilbao remain with Atlético and Valencia in the final four of the UEFA Cup. Five of the last eight still competing for continental silverware, impressive.