Barça battle Betis as Madrid unleash fury on the Spanish FA
The nightmare scenario for the money men of Real Betis came horribly true with BarcelonaÃ¢ÂÂs 5-0 tonking of the Seville side in last weeks Copa Del Rey quarter-final first leg.
Then again, LLL is not even sure that Betis actually has money men. The blog wouldnÃ¢ÂÂt be at all surprised to discover that a couple of goats and Wesley Snipes have been in charge of the books for the past few years judging by the economic mess the club finds itself in.
Whoever was running Betis at the time - it tends to change every ten days or so - had asked a favour of the Spanish FA to switch the matches so that Betis could play at home first and guarantee a bigger home gate. Strangely, the response was a logical and sensible one from the gameÃ¢ÂÂs big wigs with a swift Ã¢ÂÂnoÃ¢ÂÂ and a turfing out of the saloonÃ¢ÂÂs swing doors
And so it came to pass that Betis went to the Camp Nou, did reasonably well but lost 5-0, leaving the chances of the club passing through to the last four fairly slim. Instead the approach from Betis on Wednesday night is simply to entertain the fans admits coach, Pepe Mel. Ã¢ÂÂWeÃ¢ÂÂre going to put on a night of good football and if we can win, even better.Ã¢ÂÂ
Naturally, Pep Guardiola is taking the game very seriously, indeed. Then again, the Dream Boys boss takes everything very seriously, which partly explains where all his hair went.
Ã¢ÂÂWith a 5-0 lead against another team, IÃ¢ÂÂd bring a lot of youth team players. But not against Betis,Ã¢ÂÂ intoned Guardiola who may still do the nearest thing to taking pee that BarÃÂ§a can manage and play Bojan from the beginning.
The winner of the overall tie will be in action next week against either AlmerÃÂa or Deportivo. LLL is praying to all the gods that be that it is the former who either hang onto or build on their current 1-0 lead in la Riazor so the blog is spared two matches spent watching BarÃÂ§a trying to pass their way through DeporÃ¢ÂÂs infamous nine man defence with AdriÃÂ¡n to cover the rest of the pitch for the team.
In the other half of the draw, Sevilla have continued to show why they're known as Copa Del Rey specialists by making like Hugh Hefner and achieving their fifth semi in seven years. A 3-0 win over Villarreal in the SÃÂ¡nchez PizjuÃÂ¡n put the holders through 6-3 and left Juan Carlos GarridoÃ¢ÂÂs men with the Europa League as their only chance to actually win something for once.
Sevilla will next face AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid or Real Madrid, who play at about two on Friday morning in the Vicente CalderÃÂ³n with the visitors holding a 3-1 lead from the first leg.
Once again Atleti are spouting the usual nonsense about 'putting on a performance' in front of the home fans and feeling that this is their time to actually defeat their rivals. And once again, JosÃÂ© Mourinho has been before the press to pick another fight with referees, the assorted journalists and Jorge Valdano, too.
Ã¢ÂÂIÃ¢ÂÂm too old to be receiving messages sent through the newspapers,Ã¢ÂÂ shrugged Mourinho on Wednesday when asked to comment on ValdanoÃ¢ÂÂs snooty insinuations on the Madrid coach choosing to start the AlmerÃÂa game with Karim Benzema on the bench on Sunday.
JosÃÂ© MourinhoÃ¢ÂÂs bosses have also chosen to go to war with the Spanish footballing world in response to a comment on a cup game preview on the Spanish FAÃ¢ÂÂs website which read Ã¢ÂÂthe referee, Turienzo Alvarez will be in the charge of the game under the watchful gaze of Mourinho who felt persecuted in the last league matches.Ã¢ÂÂ
Although the comment was swiftly removed, blowhards at the Santiago Bernabeu released an official protest on Wednesday lunchtime complaining about the apparently backfiring joke.
The situation has become so bound up in complaints, counter complaints and conspiracy theories in the Spanish capital that Mourinho couldnÃ¢ÂÂt even be bothered answering a question from an English journalist on the actual football game in hand on Thursday night.
Ã¢ÂÂDifficult match. Long time to go,Ã¢ÂÂ the Madrid coach mumbled in English in a half-arsed fashion looking more and more like a man who would rather be anywhere else than Real Madrid.