For around an hour of last night’s Champions League semi final first leg the Special One’s gameplan was working down to a T. Everyone had known that Jose Mourinho’s plan was to simply frustrate Barcelona and essentially not concede. He might have achieved the first part, to an extent, but his side enter the Camp Nou next Tuesday two goals down and without a chance.
Against any other side, you might give them the benefit of the doubt. Even scoring a goal against Josep Guardiola’s side will be an achievement though. The match itself was an absolute abomination from the first minute until the referee decided Pepe’s attempt to challenge Dani Alves warranted a straight red. This also meant that Mourinho got his marching orders for remonstrating with the fourth official and that was that.
The match was littered with spats between players, more diving than Tom Daley puts in during a heavy training session, the referee constantly surrounded as if the players were paparazzi and he a famous celebrity. The fact that Wolfgang Stark cracked probably owed a lot to the atmosphere and the constant berating given to him by both sides.
Amongst the controversy of this clash one man was always likely to be the one you could turn to for some inspiration and boy did he deliver. Messi’s second in the closing stages put the tie beyond Real and was a goal worthy of winning a final as he jinked his way through the home defence.
In terms of what the Special One can expect with regards his post-match comments, a hefty fine is the least he’ll get for essentially accusing Barcelona and UEFA of match fixing. A ban for the entire length of next season’s Champions League wouldn’t surprise anyone and it now really looks like Guardiola beat Mourinho at his own bout of mind games.