Even before the game began, it was majestic as the entire inhabitants of the Nou Camp held aloft colored pieces of plastic to bring the stadium to life with beautiful scenes.
On the pitch, the first half was breathtaking. But, I must admit, that the goalfest had a lot to thank (or blame, if you support Barca or Real) on poor defending. The amount of room attacking players had, and the poor marking by the defense, produced gaping holes for the world’s best attackers to take advantage of, namely Ruud van Nistelrooy and Lionel Messi.
To me, the brilliance in the first half was Samuel Eto’o, who sprinted around the pitch, and could have scored one of the best goals in eons after dribbling past several players before Real Madrid cleared the ball to safety. What amazed me was Frank Rijkaard’s decision to substitute Eto’o at the half, and bring on Silvinho instead. I know Eto’o is still coming back from injury, but what was Rijkaard thinking?
Overall, I thought Real Madrid was the better team and deserved to eek out the 3-2 win. But Real Madrid’s porous defense opened up again allowing Messi to get his hat trick with a sublime goal late in the match.