Santana taps in the ball in the dying minutes.
Santana taps in the ball in the dying minutes.

I had scripted this article in my head. It was going to be called ‘hit and run’. The Mallorca application had been brilliant. Manuel Pellegrino had dealt with his immense personal pain and brought a Malaga team that has been performing more than it’s worth the past two seasons. And they had a very young, promising and talented team of Dortmund on the ropes. The fourth official had shown four minutes. Di Michelis, who I thought was quite appalling in both Bayern and Argentinian jerseys had shown such intent that I found it none the surprising that Mallorca should have won it.

Then the Di Michelis error. The equalizer. The restart with one and half minute left. The kitchen sink. Santana. Offside. But no. 3-2. God, I love this game.

Two minutes of sheer madness that threw away the whole game built on such effective strategy it reminded me of business school. Use your strengths and reduce positions of your weaknesses. Good solid defending backed by few attacks. Willy, the Malaga goalkeeper that made two great saves. A backline that never gave space. The first goal of Dortmund resulting from sheer brilliant play that any defense in the world could not have coped with. An energetic Isco and Julio Baptista, and an always at the right place Joaquin turned on the screw where it hurt the few times they got into position. Dortmund that tried to build, build, build, but couldn’t find an easy way through.

And it was lost. No, there were no dismissals that were fair that wasn’t ordered. The Bender foul initially wasn’t a yellow. The time wasting, that Malaga resorted to. Yes it was offside, but wasn’t Malaga’s second from an offside position too. Racism? Really? Or Dimichelis?

Whatever the PR strategy became after that, I have to accept, that indeed it was a great night of European football. 


He calls himself an expressionist. He also suffers from chronic palpitations owing to the repeated ingestion of double esspressos.

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