The crucifixion of Torres, the MSN and the nerve of Brych

Finishing a game with eleven men at Camp Nou is a tricky task for any visiting team. Whether it the game be in La Liga or the Champions League. Whether it be Real Madrid, Atlético or any other side. During the week leading up to a trip to Barça’s ground every coach prepares tactical drills that focus on working with a numerical disadvantage. The urban legend, similar to the myth that crocodiles live in the sewers of Manhattan, reared its head again last night. Atleti played a large chunk of the game with ten men (an improvement on their previous fixture in Barcelona in the domestic competition when they finished with nine). Perhaps Fernando Torres was guilty of overzealous tackling, but Félix Brych showed him two yellow cards for challenges that were similar to others committed by Barça players that went unpunished.

Torres had resurrected once again before suffering his latest crucifixion. El Niño earned himself a contract extension (Simeone has already given the decision his blessing) and once again shook the Camp Nou faithful, this time by scoring his first Champions League goal for Los Colchoneros (according to Mister Chip it was the 600th Spanish-scored goal in the competition). After he was sent off the MSN got into their stride, which is hardly an uncommon sight. And each time an Atlético player challenged for the ball, out came one of Brych’s cards. But there’s still a second leg to come at the Calderón. And urban legends more powerful than referees also exist around the Manzanares. Not to mention, Tom Henning Ovrebo (the Norwegian who officiated over Chelsea - Barcelona in 2009) is retired now. Watch this space!