Its been a while since the words “Real Madrid defeat F.C Barcelona” has been used in a sentence or even uttered verbally but as of yesterday things seem to have changed a bit. The words were on the brink of extinction and then boom! Cr7 tore forward in the counter-attack and calmly slotted one past Valdes making the score 2-1. He managed to silence his critics and finally came out on top against his arch nemesis Lionel Messi. Both players were in sublime form coming into the game with nothing to choose between them.
Prior to the all important clash, both teams had suffered defeats in the Champions league with Real Madrid losing to the in form Bavarians and Barcelona losing to a rejuvenated Chelsea. Head to head, it was advantage Barcelona.
Barcelona chose to go with a 4-3-3 Puyol and Mascherano manning the central barricades while Adriano and Dani Alves were placed on the left flank and right flank respectively. Thiago, Busquets and Xavi formed the midfield while Tello, Messi and Iniesta formed the attack. Fabregas and Pique are confined to the bench keeping in mind the champions league encounter.
Real Madrid chose a crafty 4-2-3-1 with Ramos and Pepe in the central defence, and Arbeloa and Coentrao in the right back and left back positions respectively. Coentrao’s selection was a bit surprising though, after the Munich clash. Xabi Alonso and Khedira formed an extra defensive midfield layer with Ozil, Di Maria and Ronaldo forming the attacking midfield while Benzema playing the lone striker.
Finally, Camp Nou erupted as the match began. The keepers had to be on their toes most of the time as Valdes was forced into action early on making a decent save. Casillas managed to deny an onrushing Dani Alves who was lightning quick to intercept a pass by bombing forward only to find the ball scooped up by the alert Spaniard. After being played onside, Benzema fired one from 20 yards out only to find his tame effort being stopped easily by Valdes. The promising youngster Tello showed some clever trickery as he managed to ward off Arbeloa and Pepe but his shot was saved by Casillas. Madrid finally found the back of the net after some sloppy keeping by Valdes. He failed to hang on to a header from Pepe and in the mad scramble, Khedira poked it in to give Madrid the lead.
Barcelona found it difficult to assert their dominance despite having a major chunk of the possession. Castillas did well to deny Xavi after Messi had played him in cleverly. Madrid seemed to have done well in keeping Lionel Messi quiet during the first half. Tello’s first touch seemed to have let him down often in the game as he failed to slot home after being played in beautifully by a defense splitting pass by Thiago. A disgruntled Xavi was substituted for Alexis Sanchez just after he had fired a shot marginally wide. The substitution seemed to have done the trick as Barcelona equalized through Alexis after a barrage of shots had been blocked. Three minutes later Cristiano Ronaldo promptly restored the lead with a well finished goal after being played on by Ozil. Real Madrid managed to hold on to their lead and went on to win the game thereby sealing the La Liga title. Call it the jinx of Cesc Fabregas but Barcelona seem to be off track as of now. Barcelona failed to capitalize after enjoying nearly 70% of the possession. Messi managed to get only one measly shot while Ronaldo managed to tank in six!
F.C Barcelona Real Madrid
To sum it all up, Barcelona will have to produce something special if they want to keep their Champions League hopes alive. Real Madrid meanwhile face the uphill task of beating Bayern Munich at any cost. This Clasico win might just prove to be the catalyst needed to spur them on. As of now its advantage Madrid.