An absolute shocker in the Liga as Javier Mascherano’s debut turns to dust.
Hercules, a club promoted after 13 years and composed of former rejects including Real Madrid’s Royston Drenthe, Juve’s David Trezeguet, Pompey’s Noe Pamarot, and Borussia Dortmund’s Nelson “Haecho” Valdez defeated the Liga title holders, 2-0 at home. Barca undefeated at Camp Nou last season succumbed to Hercules as the league minions found space and gaps to exploit with their energetic counterattacking.
Nelson Valdez got the better of Victor Valdez twice. And Hercules could have added another before close to complete the humiliation. But the real story is how Barca was unable to score despite besieging the Hercules goal with attacking wave after attacking wave. The finished product left much to be desired. One was left with the impression of a club that wanted to coast on its reputation.
This year’s Liga will be even more open ended than last season. Barca cannot afford to drop points like this and not expect Jose Mourinho to hold off on his mind games. Because that is what this is all building towards: The most contentious and anticipated set of Clasico’s in many years.
Full marks to Hercules. It was a magnificent effort and another reminder why football throws up unlikely heroes. Now, can they stop Real Madrid?