Real Madrid went in with an attacking line-up this time around in their attempt to pull off a "miracle", with attacking players like Kaka, Di Maria, Higuain & Ronaldo on from the first whistle. They looked better, they started strongly & scored a goal via HIGUAIN that was disallowed incorrectly by the referee. A called foul on Mascherano by Ronaldo that never existed. This obviously could have helped Madrid head onto bigger things, but I don't wish to get into debates & be accused biased, as I wish to point out that FC Barcelona then took control & were owners of the ball. Real Madrid then found themselves chasing & especially Carvalho being overrun by the likes of Messi & company. The outstanding players for Real Madrid at this period were Lass Diarra ( great match) & Iker Casillas ( will take latter more ) which indicated that Barça had the edge & were attacking in waves.
But there was a difference tonight,under the circumstances, Real Madrid played Football, not speculating & were still more than alive & with chances at the end of the first half.
|Iker Casillas proving his the "Best in the World"|
But lets briefly talk about this "fella", IKER CASILLAS. Huge tonight with same saves that can only raise admiration from fans of all colours demonstrating again - or at least to me - that he is currently the "Best Goalkeeper in the World" at this current moment. His Club may have gone out defeated tonight but Casillas leaves "Camp Barça" as a winner. It was spectacular to watch the man tonight in action.
|Pedro scores for FC Barcelona:|
The second half saw in the 54th min an excellent & alert "pass" from ANDRES INIESTA that found PEDRO between defensive lines to score the opener & put the semi-final out of total range for Real Madrid. I put Iniesta in capital letters, because as with Casillas, this man is a Football marvel, a pure "god given talent" that really gave Barça some differentiating quality tonight. A mention was in total order.
|Marcelo gets the equalizer|
photo: Sergio Perez
Real Madrid admirably found some of their historic grit & pride & reacted with a goal that Di Maria started with a post that rebound back to then find MARCELO that equalized in the 64th min. Madrid went super offensive, logically looking for some fresh legs, & put on Abebayor for Higuain & swapped Kaka for Ozil in an attempt to at least "die with their boots on". Barcelona then played it cool with ball control & did what they do best, make the opponent ran after them to take all the wind out of their sails.
|Abidal back from his sickness|
Then towards the end, a magical & human moment that transcended Football & rivalries, when Coach Guardiola put on ERIC ABIDAL to receive the roar of the "Camp Nou" after coming back from liver cancer surgery. It was a moment that put the hairs on your arms on end.
The referee blew, Barça was into the Champions League Final & it was a tension releasing moment of celebrations in the middle of the field between the players & their fans. A total communion that united the Barça Camp & rightly prized their well earned victory tonight & the semi-final phase.
Real Madrid fans will be sad & talk about tonights wrongly disallowed Higuain goal, but they should forget that & rightly congratulate Barça & just think about the following. Both side have meet five times this season were Barca won 2, 2 draws & Real Madrid won the other. The gap between both sides is closing & rapidly & next season could bear juicy fruits for Real Madrid.
Until then, Spanish Football is very proud & happy to get back into a European Cup Final a Spanish Team & we all wish FC Barcelona all the luck in the World.