Jon Dunham - Out of my seat to applaud the brilliant Barcelona

Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.
Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.
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There are times when, in your own living room, there is no other option than to stand up and applaud.

There have been a few moments in recent sporting history when yours truly has witnessed something so splendid on the television that it has forced me to leave the comfort of the sofa for a moment and celebrate something special, despite knowing that those who have done it (and anyone else for that matter) can’t see me doing it.

Away from the obvious, which for me would be Norwich City scoring a goal (that often results in a run around the living room, thankfully it doesn’t happen that often) or the England football team doing something amazing (see the previous comments in brackets), there have been some special sporting moments that have caused me to just stand up and applaud in appreciation.

Examples? I am no Manchester United fan but I did it when Ryan Giggs scored ‘that goal’ against Arsenal in an FA Cup semi-final replay at Villa Park in 1999. I did it when Steve Harmison took the wicket of Michael Kasprowicz in ‘that Test match’ at Edgbaston in the glorious Ashes summer of 2005. I did it when Mo Farah came round the bend in the 10,000m Olympic final on ‘that Saturday’ in London last year. And I did it when Martin Kaymer sunk ‘that putt’ which silenced the Americans in their own back yard as Europe completed their stunning fightback in last year’s Ryder Cup.

There have, of course, been others.

But the most recent occurrence came on Tuesday night when I witnessed yet another masterclass from what must surely be the best football club side that has ever existed.

I remember seeing the celebrations from the AC Milan players after they had beaten Barcelona 2-0 in the San Siro in their Champions League round of 16 first leg clash. And, after seeing what I saw on Tuesday, I am pretty sure the Barcelona players watched them with interest.

Beating Barcelona is no mean feat. It deserves a good pat on the back. But, my word, when it is only half-time in the battle and you have a job to do in the Nou Camp, I would suggest it would be more sensible to keep the celebrations low key.

There was always a very good chance that what happened on Tuesday would happen. You see, Barcelona can pretty much do what they want, when they want on a football pitch. They are that good.

And from the moment Lionel Messi (the greatest player of all time?) fired them in front with a quite stunning strike (there was no back lift, how did he get the power?) it was obvious it was going to be another famous night for the Catalan side.

Could Milan have done more to prevent the eventual 4-0 drubbing that sent them back to Italy with their tails between their legs? Perhaps. Actually, no not really.

If a team as good as Barcelona want to win, they will. And they will do it in a style that will leave every football fan drooling.

They went beyond magnificent on Tuesday night as they destroyed a decent Milan side, not the best Milan side ever, but a good one.

The technical ability of the players, not just the obvious ones, but all the way through the team is something to behold. In footballing terms, the clubs from the Barclays Premier League are a long way off. The last-eight line-up for the Champions League backs that up.

It was a pleasure to witness it and I am hungry for more.

But back to the original point. It wasn’t Messi’s cracking opener, his second or even David Villa’s sublime third that got me off the sofa this time.

No, it came right at the end when, despite knowing a Milan goal would send them out, Barcelona’s brilliant left-back Jordi Alba ran the length of the pitch in a classic counter-attack before finishing like a world-class striker to put the cherry on top of a very tasty cake.

It was worthy of applause in the Dunham household. I wonder who will make it happen next time...