A game of the sort that turns spectators into fans, as we used to say. That’s what we saw yesterday at Ipurua. A beautiful game, end to end, with the outcome open till the final whistle, and none of those boring spells we see so much of in football currently, of static attackers moving the ball from one side of the pitch to the other, facing a solid defensive block, rather like handball. This was a fantastic match with four great goals. For Real Madrid’s goals, Benzema, who keeps playing better and better and that’s now pretty difficult, scored one and set up the other two. For the first quarter of an hour Madrid were imperious, with the French striker and Modric playing the violin, as they say. Eibar didn’t give up at 2-0 though, they fought for the game, soaked up the counterattacks and went home thinking they’d have got a draw if it hadn’t been for the VAR.
Because with the game at 1-2 and about to finish a header from Muto hit Sergio Ramos’ elbow. Everything was up in the air for a moment, but after a quick chat with Cuadra Fernández in the Video Operation Room referee Munuera said no. For me, Old Testament in hand, it wasn’t, but under the New Testament, the confusing codex produced by David Elleray, it should have been, and we’ve seen a lot of penalties given for less. At the end of the match, Carvajal and Kike García, interviewed pitchside, both confessed they have no idea what is handball and what isn’t. They don’t know, we don’t know and neither do Cuadra or Munuera. I wonder if Elleray himself knows.
That incident, which swiftly spread like wildfire across social media (what luck the Barcelona and Atleti penalties the day before were also talking points, let’s leave it at that), led directly to Real Madrid’s third goal, which meant a two-goal margin. In any event, Madrid were worthy winners, because they put more pressure on Eibar, and had better chances. Zidane picked up another three points with his usual team, except for Vinicius, who, being ill, ceded his spot to a decent Rodrigo. Late on in the game Valverde and Asensio came on. Zidane, who fairly recently was all about mixing up the side, now uses the same names week in, week out because, unlike then, there really isn’t much more. But while they can…