Saturday, 26 October 2013


The first Clasico of the season was met with much anticipation around the world with over 200 countries watching the showpiece event. Tata Martino named a realtively unchanged side that faced AC Milan midweek while Carlo Ancellotti drafted in Daniel Carvajal, Rapheal Varane and most expensive player Gareth Bale into the starting eleven. Sergio Ramos was deployed in a holding midfield role alongside Sami Khedira with Luka Modric pulling the strings in midfield.

The opening 15 minutes was a relatively dull affair with both Sergio Ramos and Sergio Busquests booked for silly challenges. The Blaugrana slowly started controlling possession as the game wore on with Neymar looking very dangerous, creating two chances in quick succession. He wasted no time in opening his El Clasico goal account with a well taken goal. Following great work from Iniesta, the Brazilian squeezed his way past two static Madrid defenders before curling a low shot past the despairing Diego Lopez.

Madrid were denied a great chance to equalize after a great save from Victor Valdes. Ronaldo whipped in a devilish cross from the left that was brilliantly gathered by Valdes, who denied an on rushing Sami Khedira.

The second half began with Barcelona looking to double their lead. Chances fell to both Andres Iniesta and Neymar but were denied by solid defending.

As the game wore on, Madrid were slowly getting into the game, taking the game to Barcelona. Ronaldo created the first real chance for Madrid, unleashing a bullet shot that was somehow saved by the impressive Victor Valdes.  Karim Benzema saw his brilliant effort crash against the woodwork, 10 minutes after replacing the unimpressive Gareth Bale.  Minutes later Real had a strong penalty claim after Ronaldo was shoved in the box by Pique but his protests were met by deaf ears. Replays showed however that he had a solid case.

Substitute Alexis Sanchez however calmed the Camp Nou with a second goal minutes later. A brilliant pass from Neymar found Sanchez who shrugged off the covering Varane, turned him and chipped a delightful ball over Diego Lopez who was off his line.

Jese Rodriguez scored a late consolation for Madrid late on. Cristiano Ronaldo's blistering pace evaded Barce's defenders, enabling him to find an unmarked Jese who slipped the ball under Valdes.

The result leaves Barcelona six points ahead of Real Madrid. Ancelotti can take solace in the fact that they outplayed Barce for long periods with the penalty call a big decider in the outcome. Barce even though take all three points, were dissapointing with the likes of Lionel Messi and Cesc Fabregas who failed to impact the match. The biggest flop however was Gareth Bale who was dissapointing to say the least. The Welshman offered little in attack and looked out of sorts before he was hauled off for Karim Benzema. Terrible investment? Early days yet but the signs are not good.

Barcelona; V.Valdes, D.Alves, G.Pique, J.Mascherano, C. Adriano, S. Busquests, A. Iniesta, H.Xavi, L.Messi, F.Fabregas, J. Neymar.    Substitutes; J.Pinto, M.Montoya, C.Puyol, A. Song, S.Roberto, A. Sanchez, P. Rodriguez.

Real Madrid; D.Lopez, D. Carvajal, R.Varane, L.Pepe, J. Marcelo, S.Khedira, S.Ramos, L.Modric, G.Bale, A. Di Maria, C. Ronaldo.    Substitutes; I.Casillas, A.Arbeloa, F. Coentrao, F.Isco, A. Illarramendi, J.Rodriguez, K.Benzema.

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