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 Champions League Comment: Can Real Madrid Impress Again In Europe When They Take On Auxerre?

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Join date : 2010-09-26

PostSubject: Champions League Comment: Can Real Madrid Impress Again In Europe When They Take On Auxerre?   Wed Sep 29, 2010 5:04 pm

It was hailed as "the foundation to build on", the win that would eventually see Real Madrid raise their game and take it to the next level, a match in which they "played more as a team". Ajax coach Martin Jol conceded helplessness by lamenting that they had "lost to a veteran team" who "did not let us play our brand of football" while Real Madrid's Jose Mourinho paraded how they had "dominated the game" that was "boys against boys because Madrid has a team of boys".

Indeed, los Blancos were excellent against former four-time European champions Ajax at the Santiago Bernabeu in Matchday One of the Champions League in what remains their best display to date this season. Madrid had 35 shots (out of which 14 were on target) in comparison to Ajax's eight. They garnered 11 corner kicks to Ajax's three, had 65% ball possession and goalkeeper Iker Casillas was forced into making just one save while his counter-part Maarten Stekelenburg made 13.

Nevermind that Ajax's best striker Luis Suarez was out suspended. Nevermind that centre-back Jan Vertonghen, too, missed the match. Nevermind that Gonzalo Higuain once more wasted his chances and Cristiano Ronaldo's desperation to score from any and all positions was futile and pathetic. In the end it finished 2-0 in los Blancos' favour and that made all the headlines.

It was expected to be the turning point in Madrid's season, the 'proper' victory that would eventually see Mourinho's team play the kind of football that befits the world's biggest club.

Only, it didn't.

Since then Madrid have stuttered to a difficult 2-1 win against Basque outfit Real Sociedad at San Sebastian, defeated Espanyol 3-0 in a rather dubious game at the Bernabeu and looked like a mediocre side in their 0-0 draw with Levante in Valencia at the weekend. Like the well-known mathematical problem of a monkey climbing up a pole and falling down two feet after progressing three feet, Madrid have been back and forth so far this campaign.

Yet tonight is another 'special night in the Champions League' and one can expect the nine-time European kings to step up their game against Auxerre at the Stade Abbe-Deschamps in France.

It is an away match and a draw will be happily accepted but against a side that are languishing just above the relegation zone in the French Ligue 1 and who have yet to win at home, demands for a win are not entirely unjustified.

And a victory will not only see Madrid take one more step towards qualification for the last-16 in a group that also comprises of seven-time European champions Milan, it will also see some of the pressure fizzle out after the weekend's dismal performance.

Mourinho had earlier insinuated that teams like Sporting Gijon give away the league title to Barcelona after the Asturians went down 1-0 at Camp Nou. Yet after those tall talks, Madrid were utterly despondent bordering on the depressive against Levante on Saturday evening, exhibiting that they need some more time and more discipline. Mourinho insists that this is a team "under construction" but not defeating a side like Levante even away is a disappointment.

Okay, Barcelona's defeat to Hercules at home was an even bigger disappointment but Pep Guardiola's side bounced back from that shock result with a 5-1 humiliation of Greek champions Panathinaikos the following game. Now that is impressive.

On Tuesday, Madrid take on yet another struggling team and once again they have the chance to be impressive. Goals have been hard to come by with Mourinho conceding that they are struggling upfront and sporting director Jorge Valdano admitting as much. Mou's footballiing philosophy doesn't entirely entail a defensive or 10-men-behind-the-ball tactic but his is a 'caution-first' approach.

Nevertheless, finding the target just eight times in six matches in all competitions so far when you have players like Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Mesut Oezil does raise some questions.

But then again, perhaps it is best that Madrid are not too impressive in Auxerre tonight. A very Galactic win will once again surge the expectations of the fans and the media alike, which in turn will inflate the pressure on the team "under construction" to sustain that good form over the weekend.

And the team "under construction" may just fail to do that.

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PostSubject: Re: Champions League Comment: Can Real Madrid Impress Again In Europe When They Take On Auxerre?   Wed Sep 29, 2010 5:13 pm

tank you very much

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