I was going to put a "sneaky" 20 euros on Athletic (3/1 to lift the Cup) before the game. While Barça were clear favourites, I thought Athletic had a decent chance of causing an upset. They've been safe in the league for quite a while and have been able to rest key players with this game in mind. Barça's recent schedule has been hectic in contrast and they would be without the injured Thierry Henry and Andrés Iniesta: arguably their best players over the last six weeks or so. I didn't get my bet on in the end, just as well, as it happened.
This was one of those games you see on television and wish you were there: the atmosphere was fantastic with both fans making a lot of noise. In the second half an Athletic "fan" hurled a can at Dani Alves when he was about to take a throw. The Athletic fans near the incident were incensed and directed the police to the culprit. I was impressed with that. The fans were here to enjoy the game whatever the result and weren't prepared to let some idiot ruin the day for everyone.
Athletic scored first, after 9 minutes, and tried to close Barça down at every opportunity, but after the goal Barça started to find their front players from midfield. Touré scored a great goal before half-time and in a nine minute spell in the second half Barça scored three more (Messi, Bojan and Xavi) and that was that.
Football Shorts: Arrivederci, Massimo
1 day ago