Pep, Barcelona, And A Game Of Strategy

He tinkers, revises and, like a watchful gardener, seems engaged in a constant battle against the entropic imperative.

(Source: The Guardian, The Question: what marks Pep Guardiola out as a great coach?)

We watched this game yesterday and it was one of the most strategic games I've ever seen. You'll have to appreciate the away-goal rule but the reaction of both sides after Messi's first goal for Barcelona was stunning. A big shrug of the shoulders. From both sides, it seemed.

Realistically, Milan had to score a goal to win. This seems obvious but with the previously-mentioned away-goal rule, this became critical.

Once the game restarted, we talked about what that goal (Messi's first) meant:

  • While up a goal, was it Barcelona who were on the back foot?
  • Did neither team care about the next xx minutes, seeing only the final 10 minutes of the match would really matter?
  • Did Ibra know the entire strategy (of both sides) and is that why he was so upset after the second penalty (ie, the ref wasn't playing by the same strategy)?

Fascinating game. A bit on the dull side as far as action goes, but an amazing chess match between two power clubs.

Bring on the semis.

 

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