Barcelona beat their bitter rivals Real Madrid two goals to one. El Clasico is the biggest match of the season so far, and it did not disappoint. There was a bit of drama in the game with some calls by the referee leaving some fans and sport commentators scratching their heads. But none the less, an entertaining match left us wanting for more.
The game started with a bit of sparring from both teams. Each side looked hesitant to attack in the first couple of minutes, but Barcelona started to play that famous possession game. Stringing some great passes together, Barcelona found themselves on Madrid’s side of the field for most of the whole half. Some fouls were given out for rough play, but nothing too extreme. Then in the 19th minute, a brilliant play from Andres Iniesta (who almost gets the man of the match award) starts with his right and switches possession to his left and flicks a pass to Neymar for a shot on target that deflects a little bit off Raphael Varane’s leg making its way past the diving Diego Lopez. The Camp Nou erupts and the young Brazilian makes his debut in El Clasico a memorable one. Throughout the first half Barcelona dominated the time of possession, and looked to get a 2nd goal before half time. On the other side of the field stood Gareth Bale. The most expensive footballer did not shine like his counterpart Neymar. He did show flashes of his brilliance that made him the most wanted player at Spurs. But it seemed that his injury limited him on the pitch. At halftime Barcelona had held Cristiano Ronaldo, Bale, and company to 3 shots, and only one shot on target from Sami Khedira.
It was a different feel to the game after halftime. Los Blancos came out firing and Barcelona seemed to be caught napping. Real Madrid started to pressure higher up the field and started to create more chances. The best chance earlier in the 2nd half was a through ball to Ronaldo, who broke free from the back four was clear. Uncharacteristically, Cristiano Ronaldo missed a one on one vs. the goalkeeper as Victor Valdes saved the Portuguese try at goal. Barcelona tried to keep their possession, but could not control for too long as Madrid’s pressure game started to work. The most controversial event in the match was when Ronaldo broke free from the back four of Barcelona in the 70th minute. The Portuguese winger caught up to the through ball, he started to slow down to control the ball, as he does this, Javier Mascherano runs through him from the back clearly making enough contact to cause a penalty. The ref waves off Ronaldo’s plead for a penalty and let the game continue. The commentators questioned the call and seemed puzzled as well. Even though the penalty was not granted, the game kept going Madrid’s way. Madrid kept pounding their heads against the Barcelona wall, from Benzema’s long range shot hitting the woodwork, to Sami Khedira missing a clear shot against Valdes. The game was put to rest after Alexis Sanchez came on. After 12 minutes of being on the pitch, he scored a beautiful chip over Diego Lopez. Madrid did score late, but it was not enough to show their valiant effort.
It was a good match, but not great. It wasn’t great due to the many fouls committed, but everyone can expect this when these two teams face each other. Many players played great, but the man of the match goes to Victor Valdes. The Spanish goalkeeper pulled a couple great saves throughout the match.