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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

"I never comment on referees, and I'm not going to break the habit of a lifetime for that prat."

And it all started so promisingly. Barca needed 2-0 or better to correct their first-leg deficit against Zaragoza in the Copa del Rey. They were all over the Aragonians in the first half. Protecting a 4-2 lead in the tie, the visitors to the Camp Nou tried to slam the door - but they couldn't hold off the L'il / L'el combination.

That is, they couldn't until just a few minutes before the end of the first period. L'il Ron came in late for a challenge near the center line and bumped one of the men in white off the ball using his shoulder. The ref's reaction? A straight red.

Just so you know who we're dealing with, his name is Julian Rodriguez Santiago, and this is his ugly mug. Because of him, Barca unfairly had to play most of the match a man down and without their talisman.

They responded admirably, scoring minutes later on a header by L'el that was pure aggression. In the second half, though, they conceded a goal - meaning two more of their own were needed. Barca's second score, from Larsson, came near the stroke of 90 minutes. Four minutes of stoppage time were supposed to ensue. But at 93:30, with Barca on the ball at midfield, Rodriguez Santiago blew his whistle.

Marca, the sycophantic sports paper from Madrid, had a headline on its website right away. It read, "Zaragoza 'bumps off' Barca" - how ruefully true.


In other news, looks like Arsenal could use a little David Bentley action now, eh? He can score a hat-trick against Manure, but he's just not good enough for Highbury. Where they can't even beat West Ham. Oh, and zero points for Newcastle? What else is new....


Blogger the Maradona of Malawi said...

makes you wonder about Theo Walcott, doesn't it? Ash Cole and Cesc Fabregas made it to the first team, but you do wonder what one has to do to get a run in the side. I remember Jermaine Pennant (who I think is one of the best players outside of the top 3 clubs in England) scored a hat-trick in his first league start. I don't think he ever got another start. And its not just the crim - Quincy has just been sold to a Dutch side and Moritz Volz is in Fulham (and wouldn't Arsene just kill for a fullback right now?).

11:16 AM  
Blogger The American Geordie said...

Well, Walcott isn't old enough to play in the Premiership yet. His 17th birthday is on March 16. So there are six more weeks of excruciating waiting for Arsene and for anyone who expects Theo to buy them a car....

2:36 PM  

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