Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Ajax Amsterdam, Auxerre, Craig Thomson, Cristiano Ronaldo, Iker Casillas, Jose Mourinho, Real Madrid, Sergio Ramos, UEFA Champions League, Xabi Alonso
Real Madrid dismantled Ajax, 4-0, in Amsterdam in its second-to-last Group “G” match, clinching first place in the group and eliminating the faded Dutch power from the UEFA Champions League. Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice after halftime to put the match away, the second from the penalty spot. [November 23]
Comment: With its final group match against Auxerre on December 8 rendered meaningless, Real Madrid engaged in some gamesmanship that could be described as low farce, played out by a couple of players sitting on yellow cards who would just as soon sit out the Auxerre game and go into the next round with a clean record. They succeeded.
Awarded a free kick near his own penalty area, Xabi Alonso, in a lame attempt to take time off the clock, made several phantom run-ups to the ball before Scottish referee Craig Thomson lost patience and showed Alonso the second yellow card he was looking for. Not long after, Sergio Ramos, with goalkeeper Iker Casillas, Spanish World Cup captain, standing nearby, lined up a goal kick and gave an impeccable impersonation of Alonso. After being shown his red card, Ramos out-did Alonso and shook Thomson’s hand on his way off the field.
Alonso and Ramos aren’t the first players to deliberately draw a suspension to skip a game. Players stick out a hand to stop a sure goal; too routinely, they dive in the penalty area; in the most innocent of instances, they dribble to the corner late in a game to waste time. However, the efforts of Alonso and Ramos were so embarrassing they should be banned by the UEFA not only for the final group match but Real’s first match of the next round, if not beyond. And Madrid’s big-time coach, Jose Mourinho, in charge of Europe’s most decorated team, deserves to show us a blush, and if his side wins yet another Euro championship in May, the trophy should come with a small but symbolic scratch.
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