Big things from this game!
- This guy, back on the field 13 months since his last action:
I seriously don’t think I ever believed he’d be on the pitch again until I saw it today–not even on the weekend when he was on the bench. What a story, and what a comeback. He looked very good on the field as well–no rust at all after a whole year off.
- Our crazy-ass lineup, which looked like this:
More than one report I’ve read called this a “revolution”, and I guess it’s sort of hard to understate the significance not only of playing 5 across the back (which seems like a fairly logical reaction to the fact that our defense has been terrible all year), but also choosing to sit three players (Navas, Perroti, Capel) who play the position that is our most consistent source of danger and has been really the foundation of our team’s greatest successes in the past decade. It would’ve been interesting (and will be interesting, if we see this formation again) to see what Manzano would’ve done if we found ourselves needing a goal–he certainly had a lot of firepower to choose from. Even with this defensive lineup, Kanoute often drifted deep to receive and help with possession in the midfield. That guy is a beast and surely instrumental to our success this year. Also fantastic today: Negredo, who didn’t score but kept their defense occupied all night (and didn’t make me hope for LuFa at any moment); Varas, who made several key saves when the game was at 1-0 and very much still in doubt; and Romaric, who assisted on 5 of the 6 goals of this tie and played the pass that led to the ball for the other (the first goal tonight). Fantastic stretch for him.
- The scoreline, which at the end of the game looked a little something like this:
That doesn’t really need any further elaboration, does it? Unless you want to also add “6-3 aggregate”, which doesn’t look too bad either. On to a Madrid team next, then. Personally, I’d love to see RM–how amazing would it be to face 3rd in Liga, then 2nd, then 1st on the way to the Copa? Not that we’d be guaranteed victory by any means, but it would feel very good indeed to pull it off.