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Guardiola, devoured by the Bernabéu volcano

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In six minutes of added time, the mettle of a champion project had to be evaluated. Getting out of that volcano that had engulfed PSG and Chelsea seemed more within reach than ever for City. But the decision that Graelish lacked in his two heads-up with Courtois was the foretaste of the catastrophe. All of Guardiola’s schemes plummeted in those six minutes that no Madridista will ever forget. What was seen yesterday does not withstand analysis, nor does it fit the reason, with which Pep has tried to build the most stable team in Europe. The one who internalizes each movement, each exit from behind, each tactical weakness of the rival, until he randomly pushes out of the rectangle. But the imponderable, as the Santpedor coach himself has admitted so many times, suddenly arises at the Bernabéu. Until yesterday the half hour of the extension was left in an inconsequential hustle and bustle, where the emotional continued to transcend football.

He could not oppose anything to the push of Camavinga, the banner on a night where he seemed more than ever a copy of Seedorf. Something must have inspired him the late appearance of the remembered Dutch midfielder, who arrived late to his seat before receiving the unanimous ovation of the preference stands. In that labyrinth of passions, Guardiola tried to recompose his attack front with Sterling’s silver bullet and ordering Laporte the role of pigeon keeper. However, City’s only outburst of character was signed by Fernandinho. With all intent, the captain left a comment in Benzema’s ear before the penalty and headed City’s only chance worthy of the name in the last half hour.

Orsato whistled and ZInchenko or Foden reclined on the grass, while Guardiola went to comfort. First with Fernandinho, then with Cancelo. Even sharing a hug with ALaba or Kroos. The grief was at the height of a defeat that no one in their right mind counted on. A terrible blow to the plans of Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain, who this weekend still have to defend the precarious leadership of the Premier at home against a much improved Newcastle. Recovering the team in a few days does not seem easy for Guardiola, because this blow does not admit precedents. Not even in 2014, when he was brought down in Munich by the firepower of Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos. Falling devoured in the jaws of the Bernabéu is still an intolerable cruelty. Especially when your team behaved many minutes up to what was required.

What better way to shake off the panic than with tactical rigor. Bernardo Silva, like a loose end, swarmed through interior areas, far from the range of white radars. Under the premise of possession, City wanted to lower the pressure at the Bernabéu. The integrity of the defense was maintained by the work and grace of Walker, who recovered at the last minute from his ankle problems. The presence of the English international was difficult to accept for Vinicius, who had just abused the slow pace of Stones and Fernandinho in Manchester. If Tuchel had disconnected the Brazilian giving way to James in Christensen’s position, Guardiola did not even need those revolutionary touches that the British press calls overthinking. Before the break, Walker had closed Vinicius’s four forays and already had three tackles. By the way, the mere presence of him allowed to relocate Cancelo in the natural space of the Portuguese.

City did not even bother to wait for the double turn of local changes. Or to miss Walker, who took a serious hit after a controversial anticipation against Vinicius. He had barely stretched his Rodrygo muscles when Mahrez crowned a perfect transition, again led by Bernardo Silva. Suddenly, a curtain of ice and silence fell over the stadium. The almost immediate applause, appealing to the essence of courage, seemed to be useless. Until the chaos, which Guardiola wanted so much to avoid, took hold of Chamartín.

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  • Pep Guardiola
  • real Madrid

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