Barça’s near-bottle and faking footballers

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When the time comes for clog-popping and meeting the Big Man upstairs, every one likes to think that it will be an ethereal affair akin to getting on a magic boat to Elfland.

Or whispering fond farewells to your great, great grandchildren as the setting sunlight seeps in through the billowing, linen curtains of your friend-filled bedroom.

Instead, The End is more likely to be a bit of anticlimax. And potentially rather violent: “Oooh, a new bus lane, I wonder which direction..." [SPLAT!]

The Spanish sports press is portraying the Real Madrid and Bernabeu clash at the Bernabeu in a fortnight’s time as a dramatic title-deciding, winner-takes-all affair. However, LLL fancies that it will be a bit of damp squib with one of the Primera pair dropping careless points against a supposedly inferior side to hand the other the crown instead.

At half-time last night, the blog thought that it was going to be Barcelona who blinked first: Pep's Dream Boys were blooming awful against Osasuna in the first 45, with the side’s under-appreciated goalkeeper saving their skins once again.

“The stop from Valdés was just as important as Ibrahimovic’s goal,” noted Osasuna boss José Antonio Camacho after the 2-0 win inspired by a much-improved second-half performance.

Highlights from Camp Nou - click to watch video

“Forget the football and the match and focus on the three points,” Josep María Casanovas instructs his readers in Thursday’s Sport, reflecting on a victory owed to two close-range efforts from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the supersubbing Bojan Krkic.

The three points that bring Barcelona up to a tally of 71 - “frackin’ incredible,” noted Pep in the post-match press conference - moved the Catalan side back to the top of the table, but with Valencia still hot on their heels (in the 18-points-behind sense of the phrase) after their 1-0 win over visiting Málaga.

That match was notable for another goal from David Villa and Ever Banega having his shirt ripped, leaving the midfielder clutching a white piece of cloth which LLL suspects was put to good use later.

Tenerife blew a fine chance to pick up three points against Villarreal, but switched off during a drop ball near the end of full time to allow Giuseppe Rossi to grab an equalising goal and make the score on the night 2-2.

Highlights from Heliodoro - click to watch video

Espanyol’s Osvaldo had a perfectly good effort disallowed at Valladolid, meaning another goalless away day for the Pericos. But they did at least pick up a point in a 0-0 draw branded “bad” by AS’s suffering correspondent.

Fourth place remained in Mallorca’s hands after another goalless draw, this one at Racing, who haven't scored at home for four straight games now. But Almería had another fine night with a 1-0 win over Zaragoza, who have started to slump again and are now without a win in four.

Highlights from Alfonso García Gabarrón – click to watch video

The final two matches of the round feature the three capital city clubs.

Manuel Pellegrini asked for any players that fancy the trip to Getafe to stick their hands up during Wednesday’s training. Two of those who didn’t bother were Karim Benzema, who has something muscly wrong with him, and Kaká, a footballer who is unable to play for Madrid but fine to run around and ponce about for an advertising spot recorded on Tuesday.

“There’s a difference between recording an advertisement and playing a game of football,” said the Madrid coach after some suggested that there was nowt wrong with the Brazilian bottler. And after receiving criticism of his recent performances, Lassana Diarra has also headed for the comforting bosom(s) of the Real Madrid treatment room.

When that eight o’clock encounter is over, Atlético Madrid can expect to be kicked to pieces by Athletic Bilbao at the Vicente Calderón. Visiting coach Joaquín Caparrós had the tickled-pink press rolling in the aisles on Wednesday in his conference by claiming that the 12th-placed side freshly battered by Mallorca were “in good form and in their best moment of the season.”

Then again, as Atleti only lost 4-1 in the Ono Estadi, with just the one own goal, the Athletic boss may have been telling the truth after all.

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