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February 24, 2018

Sports Saturday: Olympics, La Liga

Crime novelist Dorothy Parker once wrote "I hate writing, I love having written."  

As this opening weekend of the Winter Olympics opens, there is a sense of happening, and having happened.  Korea is hours ahead of the USA and Canada, so many of "today's sports" are finished already, even if they won't be broadcast in North American until tonight.

Men's 50 K Cross Country Skiing  was contested earlier today, as well as snowboarding, Men's Curling (USA! USA!), and various contests in speed skating, and ice hockey.

Still upcoming today is 4 man bobsled and finals in Ice Hockey.

In other news, on Spain, La Liga season is heating up.  You will recall that last calendar year, Real Madrid was the most celebrated team in all of soccer history, winning Champions league, the World Cup of clubs, and three other cups.  Beginning the normal season last Autumn, though, they faltered badly, and their regular season play has been lackluster.  They were so far behind on the table, that Barcelona a seemed completely invincible. 

Things have changed.   Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane said on Friday he is proud of his side for their resurgent recent form as they target a fifth consecutive victory in all competitions against Alaves on Saturday to continue their charge back up the Primera Liga table.  The champions returned to third place in the standings on Wednesday for the first time since the start of December after beating Leganes 3-1 in their game in hand, climbing above Valencia and moving 14 points behind leaders Barcelona.  Real have also thrashed Real Sociedad 5-1 and Real Betis 5-3 within the last two weeks as well as beating Paris Saint-Germain 3-1 in the first leg of their Uefa Champions League last-16 tie, with their recent form contrasting with their limp start to the campaign.

It would seem the problems which assaulted them last Fall:  talk of transfers of key players like Bale and Ronaldo, recriminations, about the losses, and insistence that they had spent too much time and attention on non Liga games, seems to have been overcome.  

They are seven points off Atletico Madrid in second and with Diego Simeone's side facing a difficult trip to Sevilla on Sunday, Real have the opportunity to put further pressure on their local rivals.

"I'm proud of everything we're doing at the moment, we are showing character and personality, and scoring 26 goals in the last six games is lovely," Zidane told a news conference on Friday. "We want to continue on this great run and tomorrow we want to put in a good performance."

Real have a kinder schedule than Atletico between now and the international break which begins on March 19, with Simeone's side visiting Barca a week after their game with Sevilla, while Zidane's side face Espanyol away after the Alaves game followed by a home game against Getafe.

1 comment:

Xersex said...

love Cristiano Ronaldo, but #2 are two angels!