Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Real Madrid-Mallorca redux

Real Madrid-Mallorca redux
by rick olivares

Watching Barcelona destroy local rivals Espanyol 4-0 on a night where Pep Guardiola bid the Camp Nou faithful goodbye, I am reminded just a bit of the way the 2006-07 La Liga season ended.

That year, both Madrid and Barcelona were tied heading into the final games of the season. Los Merengues were atop because of their superior head-to-head match up with Barca.

Barcelona destroyed Gimnastic behind Ronaldinho, 5-1. That same evening, Madrid was at the Bernabeu hosting Mallorca with all sort of reports and rumors flying around how Los Bermellones were being paid €2 million to defeat the home side.

An inspired Mallorca side took to the pitch as Juan Arango nearly scored 30 seconds into the match. In the 16th minute, Arango, the Venezuelan, slipped a through ball to Fernando Varela who finally put the visitors on top with a goal. As if it couldn’t get any worse for Madrid, top striker Ruud van Nistelrooy went out with an injured left hamstring. David Beckham, in his final game in a Madrid shirt, joined the Dutchman on the bench in the 65th minute, hobbled and all.

That’s where the story took an incredible turn as Jose Antonio Reyes, an Arsenal castoff on load to Madrid came in. Hitherto, Reyes was mostly known as the player who then Spanish national coach Luis Aragones was trying to motivate by using racist remarks against the Arsenal man’s black teammate.

Reyes, scarcely two minutes in, scored when Gonzalo Higuain found him with a well-placed pass coming in from the left. Mahamadou Diarra headed in the go ahead goal seven minutes later. Reyes finished off his scintillating performance when he latched on to a loose ball and cracked a laser that dipped right under Miguel Angel Moya for a 3-1 win that had the Bernabeu rocking.

This season, the title has been secured for Madrid, their 32nd, and they will be playing Mallorca (14-10-13 for seventh place in the La Liga standings) in the final game of the season at the Bernabeu. What is at stake is three points that will shatter the record of 99 points that was installed by Barcelona during the 2009-10 season. Madrid is at 97. With Lionel Messi looking every bit the winner of the year’s Pichichi, Madrid’s other consolation is to smash the Barcelona record for most points. Madrid beat Mallorca last January 14, 2-1, at the Iberostar Estadi when Jose Maria Callejon stuck in an 84th minute game winner. One problem for Mallorca is that they are -1 in goal difference.

The question is, this coming Sunday, May 13, will they put on a tough stand against Madrid or will they roll over and die for Los Blancos’ record?

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