When Athletic Bilbao’s style works, it’s exciting and productive.
But this Europa Cup Final wasn’t their night.
Bucharest belonged to Radamel Falcao of Atletico Madrid, who scored in 6 and 34 minutes.
A two-footed reflex striker who is exceptional in the air, Falcao is one of my favourite footballers. I backed him EW to score the first goal, then made a saver bet on Susaeta (of Bilbao).
Marcelo Bielsa’s Bilbao’s team is so young that several players look as if they’re still at school. Their defending was quite naive.
Falcao sent a left foot bender just inside the post for 1-0 and soon followed that with a supercool wriggle: two touches and bang! Very few strikers are as accomplished as this guy.
That was the Colombian fireball’s 35th goal in 48 games this season.
Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone had been picked 30 times by Marcelo Bielsa for Argentina.
In 85, Brazilian Diego followed a perfect little dribble with a sweet shot across the keeper for the third goal.
Atletico Madrid defended very intelligently and were not flattered by a 3-0 victory. Sometimes when two teams from the same league contest a final, it can be dull because they know each other too well. This wasn’t one of those finals.
Falcao was the difference. Susaeta had three late efforts. One was deflected wide, another hit the keeper’s leg. If I was a smarter gambler, I could win two bets on one match. But that rarely happens.
Been thinking a quite lot about Arsenal over the last three days, even though I find the club depressing.
I’ll chew it all over before posting again.