SUP-Ah?! Slowmo Review – 10 (RAVALRIES – Edition)

Victor Valdes - Real Madrid CF v FC Barcelona - La Liga

Now take a good look at, Barcelona’s goalkeeper, Victor Valdes’s raw reaction to not being awarded a late penalty against Real Madrid, and try convincing me that this latest El Clasico had “nothing to play for”.  This was not the first time Barcelona had been on the wrong end of refereeing decision, it was not the first time they had lost.  So why would Valdes go loco, and risk a long ban, over a a not-so-unusual sequence of events, that most sports fans would even lay claim to “being evened out eventually”?  RIVALRY!!  That’s why.   A good rivalry magnifies everything!  Things that are ordinary become extra-ordinary, normal morphs into ab-normal and regular flips to ir-regular as things get exaggerated.  This is true on both sides of the line that separates victory from defeat and as I mentioned in the corresponding preview, PUN-ting Ahead, blogpost, it is within that amplified state of affairs that Valdes most likely found his justification.  Now you may find all of this unacceptable, and some may even say they “HATE” it, even though “HATE” is still a strong wordBUT, Rivalries set the context for the hyper-inflated acceptability of strong terms like “I HATE”  to be easily bandied about by aggrieved parties.  That being said, let’s have a look-see at how those PUNts went down.  Perhaps you may be reunited with a few results you LOVED to HATE!

SUP-Ah?! – QUICK-PUNts (of smaller Tifs)

  • Tottenham Hotspur -v- The Arsenal (EPL):- = my PUNt  was for a NARROW SPURS WIN!!
  • I LOVED the eventual 2-1 Spurs WIN, for obvious reasons.  Much against the 1st half’s run of play Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon decided to just wing it and give Tottenham a quick fire 2 goal lead.  It was enough to secure the narrow win that led to ecstatic scenes of joy at the The Lane as AVB’s boys put a 7 point gap between themselves and their North London nemesis.  Tottenham Hotspur have not won, or qualified for anything just yet, BUT in the aftermath of that result their fans partied like it was 1995, which was the last time they finished above The Arsenal.  Now the focus will switch to consolidating that position, which will no doubt be fueled be another “lesser” London rivalry.  Finishing above Chelsea too will be most gratifying for Spurs, who had to cede their Champions’ League slot to them, not forgetting the fact that they also fired AVB.  If only they could also meet in the Europa League Final.
  • AC Milan -v- Lazio (Serie A):- = my PUNt was for a MILAN WIN.
  • Simple and straight to the point (or three) as the Rosoneri “honoured” my PUNt via 3-NIL WIN FOR MILAN and all I had to say to that was “amo questo PUN-teggio!”.  Which is Italian for “I love this score!” And I am sure the LOVE did not stop there.  Milan must be loving being back in a Champions’ League position.
  • Manchester United -v- Norwich City (EPL):- = I PUN-ted A WIN FOR MANCHESTER UNITED!!
  • Shinji Kagawa became the 1st Asian to score a Premier League hat-trick as he helped the table toppers to exact a good measure of revenge courtesy of a 4-NIL UNITED WIN!  No doubting that Shinji loved taking the match ball home BUT his performance was not the only lovable thing.  In shutting out The Canaries Sir Alex Ferguson’s side kept their fourth consecutive league clean sheets for the first time this season.  United have now scored in 63 successive Premier League home games – which extends their all-time PL record.  All things lovable.
  • BUT Norwich City would have HATED taking  60 minutes to register their first shot of any kind; (which was blocked).  They would have further HATED the fact that they are the first team since Blackburn Rovers (away at Spurs on April 29th 2012) to fail to muster a single shot at goal (excluding a blocked shot) in a Premier League game.
  • Chelsea -v- Rafa Benitez (EPL):-  = my cheeky PUNt was for a VICTORY FOR CHELSEA & RAFA!!
  • Rafa kept his job and CHELSEA DID INDEED WIN 1-NIL, so I suppose this was a win-win for all.  Well perhaps with the exclusion of the fans who still chanted against Gaffer Rafa.  It would appear that while those fans still LOVE their Blues they just as much still HATE Benitez.  No major reason is needed for this because even though Chelsea have conceded only 5 goals in 8 Premier League games under Rafael Benitez at Stamford Bridge, as one banner put it, they are….  “just not that IN-TER-IM!!”

SUP-Aaaargh!? QUICK-PUNt

  • The Sharks -v- Stormers (Super Rugby):- = Even though I PUN-ted a NARROW STORMERS WIN BY NO MORE THAN 4 POINTS!!
  • The fact that the STORMERS WENT ON TO LOSE BY 6 (12 – 6), still grates somewhat.  Sharks fans will be loving the fact that they have made it 3 Super Rugby victories on the trot over the Stormers.  While the Stormers will HATE the fact that after 2 rounds they only have a defensive bonus point to show for their troubles.  And now that the Champion Chiefs are next up, they will be praying against a hat-trick of dejection.

SUP-Aaaargh!? PUNt

  •   Real Madrid -v- Barcelona    my PUNt = a MULTI-SCORE DRAW!!
  • Love it or HATE it, that decision by the referee not to award a legitimate looking penalty at the end of this match affected more than just Victor Valdes’ emotions.  No real sour grapes from me because there is no guarantee that the spot kick would have been converted (which would have resulted in my PUNt being on point).  I am more intrigued by the possible ripple effects of this 2-1 WIN FOR REAL MADRID!
  • When all was said and done there were instances from this Clasico that some would love and a few that some could HATE.
  • Messi’s goal helped pull him level to a record 18 El Clasico goals with fellow Argentine Alfredo Di Stefano.
  • CR7’s record El Clasico scoring run was ended at 7 straight games (maybe a higher squad number would have helped extend the run beyond 7).
  • Barca continued their unwanted run of conceding goal by making it a leaky 13 consecutive matches in all competitions without a clean sheet.
  • A so-called 2nd string Madrid squad did the business against the runaway La Liga leaders, who played a full strength team but still came out 2nd best.  A second defeat within a week was enough for some Barca people to see RED, the colour of ….. LOVE!

NB* stats as per OPTA, www.whoscored.com, www.fourfourtwo.com, www.scrum.com

  • HEZV-Oh-M.G!! Moment!
  • India’s demolition of Australia in the second test match would have stressed a few Aussies.  India won by an innings and 135 runs within 4 days.  It’s even more mind-boggling to consider that Australia even declared their 1st innings.  That margin of victory was the 6th largest in India’s test history.  This is the 11th instance of a team losing a Test after declaring in its first innings, but the first in which the team declaring has lost by an innings!  Clearly the Indians still had a chip on their shoulders after their own disastrous tour down under.

NB** stats as per www.cricinfo.com

  • PUNisher of the Week!!
  • Jose Mourinho has masterminded 2 victories over a team regarded by many as the best in the world….(some even say best ever).  The fact that he achieved this within a week while managing to rest his key players in the second game makes it even more remarkable.  Many will point to the 13 point LaLiga gap as a reason to say Jose has failed this season,  BUT the final verdict on his tenure may have to be viewed also in the context of the fact that, even if he is to leave at the end of the season, he does so having been undefeated by Madrid’s arch rivals in all El Clasicos this season.  And if he should lead Madrid to that much coveted 10th Champions’ League title it is debatable whether Barca will enjoy their La Liga open-bus trophy parade enough to not be affected by the celebrations that will come from Spain’s capital.

PUNk(s) of the Week!!

  • Rory McIlroy’s petulant walk-off in the middle of the Honda Classic lacked in all manner of class.  Matters were worse by the lame dental distress excuse he offered subsequently.  It appeared contrived and will no doubt bring him some unwanted press.  Whether you believe his tooth decay excuse or not, I guess it’s fair to say that Rory has found that a tooth, just like pants, is extremely difficult to play with when you have…… A-Hole-In-One!
  • #Mark-Oh-Row-Coat-Oh! / Congratulations! to those whose exploits earned your affections.  BUT I am aware that the life of a fan is not always rosy.  So if this blogpost has inadvertently reopened some fresh wounds, I pray you respond with Love and not HATE, as you pardonthePUN-dit.

Until the next PUNt, be blessed and be GR8!!

LATE BREAK!!

Real Madrid have just knocked Manchester United out of the Champions’ League.  The, potentially inflammatory, fact that Christiano Ronaldo scored the decisive goal has been overshadowed by the referee’s controversial decision to send off Nani.  The subsequent fall out and glee from this has sparked a social media storm with referee Cuneyt Cakır doing some major trending with fans and neutrals.  Do you agree that the Rivalries that fans have “nurtured” over the years with Madrid and/or United have contributed to this out-of-proportion reaction to Turkish “Delight”?

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