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llorente y ibai: The two combined for the second and third Bilbao goals last night. The second for Ibai Gomez coming on the back of a wonderful assist from el rey leon. Bergkamp-esque.
one: Athletic. We’re sat here scratching our heads over Bielsa’s Bilbao. Once more they’ve blown everyone away with another European performance that would have Simon Cowell on his feet were it a X-Factor audition. A 2-4 win IN Germany against Schalke this time. Two for the talisman Llorente, another for de Marcos and the fourth to little Iker Muniain. The reason, at futbolgrande, we’re scratching our heads is that they’re without a win in four in the league. The exertions of the Europa League have seen them drift to eleventh in La Liga, and out of touch with qualifying for Europe next year. Still, with the way they’ve represented themselves in big matches we are hopeful of an exciting Kings Cup final in May. Only hopeful mind.
ps. It is definitely worth noting the ever-young Raul was the scorer of both Schalke goals.
two: Real Madrid. Not much to see here. A comfortable, if late, win in Cyprus came courtesy of two for Benzema and one for Kaka. 0-3. The goals all came in the last twenty minutes mind after the introduction of the Brazilian duo Marcelo and Kaka. The only suprise was that Cristiano didn’t score. Los Merengues, I’m sure you’ll agree, can be fairly sure of their semi-final spot.
three: Barcelona. It was a tricky night in the San Siro for Pep’s players. Criticisms of the pitch and a dodgy refereeing decision (really?) meant Barca headed back to Spain with a 0-0 draw. Although despite our sarcasm we, like the rest of the universe, agree that Alexis should have had a penalty. The lack of an away goal is worrying but not massively important all things considered. We think Barca should have enough to steer clear of a score draw at the Nou Camp and join Madrid in the next round. That doesn’t mean we’re not looking forward to Tuesday night mind. No, we’re very excited.
four: Atleti. They won so they should be happy. But we’re unconvinced at just how happy they will be with their 2-1 win over Hannover. Obviously they’re a lot happier than they would have been had Salvio not scored a late winner. However, Hannover have not lost at home in the Bundesliga (w7 d6) and nabbed an away goal through Mame Diouf following Falcao’s opener. Still, Simoene’s side should fancy their chances going into the away leg in Germany. Advantage, just about, Atleti.
five: Valencia. We can’t remember if we’ve mentioned it recently but Unai Emery is having a tough time of it at Los Che. And following last night’s 1-2 reverse against AZ his side find themselves in the opposite position of Atleti. Mehmet Topal’s equaliser was sandwiched between Holman and Martens goals in Holland. With home advantage Valencia SHOULD overcome their Dutch counterparts in the return leg, but with the Mestalla crowd baying for blood, futbolgrande don’t imagine it will be that straight forward.
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