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Open Thread: October 17, 2021

Our Sunday issue of the Daily Merengue!

The Open Thread/Daily Merengue is a place where you can discuss anything and everything related to football. Feel free to discuss the topics presented here, or start your very own discussions! The Open thread will be posted every day by one of the mods: Valyrian Steel, Felipejack, YoSnail, Ezek Ix or NeRObutBlanco.

Real Madrid prepare with passion for Tuesday’s match

There was a noticeable intensity at the training groups yesterday.


The squad came together for the fifth training session of the week at Real Madrid City as the preparations continued for Tuesday’s Champions League Matchday 3 Group D meeting with Shakhtar Donetsk (9pm CET). The workout got underway with a joints warm-up on the grass.

The players then worked on ball circulation, pressing and possession and strategy drills, before completing some tactical work. The session was rounded off with some high-intensity training matches played on a reduced-sized pitch.

Eden Hazard and Dani Carvajal trained individually out on the grass, whilst Luka Jović, Gareth Bale and Dani Ceballos trained indoors.

Haaland registers a brace

Club sources say Vallejo does well in training

It’s never easy for players to wait on the bench and not have chances to improve and show what they are worth. Stay positive and be ready to make the case for yourself, Jesus.

An account of the 2001-2 UCL Final

The location: Hamden Park, Glasgow, Scotland. Opponent: Bayer Leverkusen.

Real Madrid was regarded as the favorite before the game. Real Madrid’s coach, Vincent del Bosque, was able to start the team he wanted for the final. Figo and French midfielder Claude Makelele had been in doubt to play because of injuries but were diagnosed as fit enough to play.

Game time. Real Madrid is looking to take the game to its German opponent from the first whistle. GOAL! In the eighth minute, Madrid’s hometown hero Raul reacts fastest to an angled long throw-in from close to the halfway line by Brazilian full-back Roberto Carlos. Like always, Raul has an uncanny way of being at the right place at the right time. He times his break perfectly and sends the ball left-footed past Bayer Leverkusen’s keeper. As Ray Hudson describes, “...the German’s defense was stretched out like spandex at Miami Beach… once again the pure genius of Raul to anticipate the throw-in… the throw-in is perfection… sublime… and the finish is the personification of grace under pressure....” [...] However, the German squad bounces back quickly, taking only five minutes before equalizing to make it 1-1.

In the forty-fifth minute, just before the stroke of halftime, it looks like the teams will go into their respective locker rooms tied at the break. GOAL! Zidane receives a high, arching cross from Roberto Carlos on the edge of the penalty area, and volleys a left-footed shot seventeen yards out into the top corner with exquisite balance, timing and technique. The shot is so sensational that the goalkeeper has no chance. It is considered one of the greatest goals in Champions League history. Ray Hudson is jumping up from a chair screaming “...aaaaaaahhhhh… excuse me for being excited… I think I just saw a ghost… a flash of 1960 Di Stefano or Puskas… that goal has just woken the spirit of Bernabeu himself… astonishing and mesmerizing skill and grace…” The halftime whistle is blown but almost no one in the crowd can hear it. Fans are still buzzing about Zidane’s goal.

When the second half starts, Madridistas are still singing “Viva Espana.” Real Madrid begins the second half confidently, with Raul and Zidane in particular crafting openings with fluid passing and movement. Real Madrid dominates the beginning of the second half. English Steve McManahan substitutes in for Figo, still recovering from injury, on the left side of the midfield. In the sixty-eighth minute, Cesar, Real Madrid’s steady goalie, is injured and replaced by Iker Casillas, a graduate of the Real Madrid youth academy. A few minutes later, Real Madrid replaces Makelele, also recovering from injury, with Brazilian Conceicao in central midfield. The action becomes end to end as Bayer Leverkusen starts to play with more desperation as time ticks down. With the young Casillas between the posts, Real Madrid manages to hold their ground. The referee decides to add seven minutes of stoppage time because of the substitutions and players taking time after fouls and being injured. Casillas makes three spectacular acrobatic saves in the final minutes as Real Madrid frantically holds on to keep the game from going into extra time. The final whistle could not come quickly enough. The referee calls it — and Real Madrid wins 2-1, their ninth Champions League cup. Rain falls to dampen the mood. The thrilled Real Madrid captain Fernando Hierro, who had been at Real Madrid since 1989, raises the trophy. The jubilant players parade the Champions League cup around the stadium as Raul clutches a Spanish flag.

Mandis, Steven G. “The Real Madrid Way: How Values Created the Most Successful Sports Team on the Planet.” Pages 138-140. Dallas, Texas: BenBella Books Inc., 2016.

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