Thursday, May 10, 2007

Getafe v Puyol: Copa del Rey Semi-Final

At the risk of sounding arrogant... it should have been a cakewalk. A few weeks back in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-finals, Barcelona thumped La Liga upstarts Getafe 5-2 at the Camp Nou. So you can understand, I think, why I would tune in thinking that Ronaldinho and the Glamour Giants from Barca would thump again.

But it wasn't to be.... Getafe charged the net from the opening moments, challenging Barca with speed and expert passing, weaving a wondrous spell around the blaugrana that was dispiriting to watch as much as it was impressive. Only Barcelona skipper Carles Puyol seemed to show up in that first half, protecting the goal alongside keeper Jorquera (a fine goalie who has had a good run all season in the Copa), waging a one-man battle of will against Getafe... and then subsequently his own lethargic club.

Barca simply looked dreadful throughout the match. Ronaldinho failed to show, as did Eto'o, Giuly, Iniesta (my favorite player of the season), Xavi, and on and on and on and on. Lionel Messi, who manager Frank Rijkaard no doubt rested for the upcoming pivotal league matches, was sadly missed, especially since it was against Getafe in the first leg where the young, brilliant Argentine got his hat trick and dazzled everyone with that gorgeous, serpentine Maradona-like strike.

Barcelona seemed to spark (only a little) near the end of the match when the reality of their 4-0 defeat was starting to stab into their minds. But not even the inclusion of Eidur Gudjohnsen or the wily Saviola could change things. It simply wasn't meant to be.... Getafe played like champions and defiantly yanked down my beloved Barcelona squad, making them look like fools.

Getafe move into the Copa del Rey finals (I believe their first appearance ever) to face a very strong Sevilla team. Good luck to Getafe! They certainly deserved to be in it.

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