(Real Madrid) Whites: Ray Yap, Lester, Ilker, Alex F, Edmund, Azfar (Barcelona) Reds: Rajiv, Wee Teck, Ryan, Robbie, Angelo, William
Heavy rain in the early afternoon threatened to delay this El Classico match between the Real Madrid whites and Barca reds. Ilker had questioned Rajiv about the rain policy of the game at Santiago "Khalsa" Bernabeu, but the Heavens held up about an hour or two before the game started, ensuring that the pitch would remain playable during the match.
The game saw two new players, both who were Arsenal supporters, on the Barca reds team. Ryan wore an Arsenal jersey and a Nike headband that led some of the people on the team to call him Park Chu Yoong during the game. The game had an element of uncertainty initially as it was first time that the pair -- who have just graduated from the youth academy of Arsenal -- were involved in the El Classico game on Wednesday.
Carlos "Rajiv" Puyol let the Barca reds team down initially as he took about 10 minutes to get into his football gear leaving them to play with 5 on 6 against the Real Madrid whites at the start of the game. The Whites bastardly tried to take advantage of this by playing a series of quick one twos at the start of the game and take an early advantage. "Robbie" Valdes was excellent in goal in the early part of the game and blocked several clear cut opportunities to score by the whites, keeping the game level until Rajiv Puyol came into the game.
With the inspirational captain, Rajiv Puyol, back in the team, Reds established better themselves in the game and developed a system of quick counter attacks by the surges down the flanks by Villa Ryan and Messi William. A soft goal was conceded about 12-15 minutes into the game leaving the Reds to lead 1-0. The goal was conceded despite the Madrid Whites dominating possession and attacking play.
Madrid Whites moved into a 1-3-1 formation in a bid to introduce a more attacking play. Pepe "Edmund" was at the heart of the defence, with Khedira "Azfar" in center mid and Kaka "Ray" and Ronaldo "Lester" at the wings. The whites made placed center forward responsibility on the stocky "Ilker" Benzema. Barca reds were pressed deep into their defence and were challenged for every ball. After what must be 8-10 shots on goal that was blocked by Robbie Valdes, the Whites got a confidence-boosting goal to make the game 2-1 and then equalized the El Classico at 2-2. Suddenly, Khalsa Bernabeu got on fire and the game became very passionate, team-orientated and intense. Ronaldo Lester was criticized for his selfish plays as he tried to side-step the ageing Rajiv Puyol only to be tackled to the ground, leading to his team-mates to ask him to keep the game simple and quick with short passes.
With the score at 6-4 to the Barca Reds with only 15 minutes to play, the Madrid Whites shifted to a 0-0-5 formation in an attempt to take something out of the game. Two quick counter attacks saw Kaka Ray scoring to make the game 5-6 and then Ilker Benzema equalizing at 6-6. The Reds were taken aback as Villa Ryan and Messi William lost pace in the game. The game was bleeding passion at that point of time at the inferno encouragement of 6 supporters of the Madrid Whites (who were waiting to get their chance to play their game at 10:00pm) egged them to steal the game at 7-6. The game temporarily stopped as Edmund Pepe injured Robbie Valdes in a mid air challenge for the ball through a vicious headbutt. Because of the headbutt Robbie Valdes screwed a couple of his shots in the game wide.
With the Whites chasing the game so hard, they were left ruefully exposed at the back as Villa Ryan and Messi William combined to score twice quickly in the last 15 minutes. When the whistle for the game was blown, Ilker scored a goal from the other half of the field but was ruled out as the game had ended. 6-7 to the Barca Reds, as the next tie of the game awaits the following week to even the scores.
Unfortunately, practical considerations override - I need to keep tabs on the payment cycle for each venue.
You could always include the "headline" in the post itself - also gives you the option of big red headlines (see above). While at it, I added another feature.
As for the game itself, the 3 or 4 saves by Robbie early in the game prevented Whites from taking the lead. Angelo also made a couple of great saves in the middle of the game that prevented Whites from coming back into the game earlier. Despite that, Whites still managed to level at 4-4, only to fall behind again when Azfar got caught in possession in defence. Whites again pulled level at 6-6, and only lost to goal scored with virtually the final kick of the game.
On the other hand, Reds did hit the frame of the goal a couple of times.
Apart from Ryan, and some dodgy passes from me, everyone on Reds had a very good game, including William, who had a very good debut.
For me, Ilker was the best player for Whites, holding the team together when it looked like they might fall apart at 2-4 down.