Lyon vs Madrid: Rambo and the headless chicken

February 17, 2010 at 6:08 am | Posted in Champions League | 2 Comments
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This was not the Lyon we had been expecting nor was this the Madrid that had inflated us with enthusiasm. This was a ‘360’ Lyon that looked nothing like the team that ranks fourth in the league. They came out on fire from the start with better chances. They were brilliant and thankfully were kind enough in not scoring more as they easily could have humiliated us with a 4-0 result. Their sticky and suffocating defense and midfield were more than Madrid had anticipated. Once again over confidence blew over the madridismo expecting a ‘weak team’ to simply hand us the ticket to the next round. Tsk tsk Madrid, asi no! In the Champions League there are no gifts and to get far you have to work, something Madrid failed to do throughout the 90 minutes. To put it in better terms: We were awful! Nothing worked for us and Lyon put it all on evidence.

Marcelo showed yet again that he has not one defensive bone in his body. If I never saw him on defense again I would be more than happy! Govou took advantage of his atrocious performance and leaned all the attack on his flank. If it was not for a fantastic Ramos who multiplied all over the defense, who knows how much worse the damage could have been. Every time Marcelo went forward, Rambo was their to clear off the danger. His duties were doubled but he responded like a champ each time. Rambo continues to convince me that in the center of the defense is where he belongs. There may be those who disagree with my opinion, but Rambo was our best player who actually lived up to what is expected of any player who dons the white kit. Hell, not only did he do his defensive duties but also had the best chance to score with a header in the final stage of the game. It is a shame that none of our other players were influenced by his performance.

After Rambo I don’t think I can praise anyone else. We did not play as a team, but rather relied on sparks of individualism by our star players. Kaka once he woke up from his coma tried to bring Madrid to life, but found himself denied by the solid defense. CR9 was a bag full of tricks, but nothing more. Sadly there was no bromantic connection as we had seen in Jerez. Pipita never received the service necessary as both Xabi and Diarra were more worried on defensive duties and failed when they tried to turn the offensive switch on. And well everyone else was simply gray. Even Casillas, who I usually put on a pedestal was a hot mess almost giving a easy second goal to Lyon. There was not one speck of this Madrid that resembled the team that had shown so much heart and football in our previous games. Furthermore, there was no leader on the field to put the weight of the team on their shoulders and take control. We were a headless chicken running and going nowhere. It really was a sad image to see.

So it seems as though the ghost of the round of sixteen rears its ugly little head again, threatening to make it six years of being eliminated prematurely. Although a 1-0 result is not the end of the world, I do have my fears that Madrid will not be able to turn it around. I can already imagine the game plan Lyon’s coach Puel will place at the Bernabeu. Yes, more of that suffocating and frustrating pressure displayed in this leg of the Champions League, and I would expect nothing less because it worked to perfection. There are 90 tense minutes left to this match and all I can hope for is that the Bernabeu continues to be the fortress that it has been up to this point, oh and one more thing, I await Guti’s return… y muy pronto por favor!



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  1. Good review and very correct analysis. I am a bit more optimistic about the second leg though and consider ourselves fortunate to be just a goal down. I am going to be furious if we go out because of away goals again.

    • I wish I had your optimism! Madrid have to be near perfect at the Bernabeu in all areas because one mistake and it will send us packin’ as we have seen in the past due to away goals. I’m crossing my fingers but I’m not to sure Madrid will deliver.

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