Just two days after Real Madrid was licking their wounds of being knocked out of the Copa Del Rey, they faced the team responsible for their exit, this time in the LaLiga. Barcelona equalized the all-time competitive Clasico wins with a lopsided score in the Cup game and came in with a notion to take the lead. The Blaugrana had ended the hopes of a Copa Del Rey title for Madrid and a win in the league would put Madrid out of contention for the title, as well.
Solari started Gareth Bale in what seemed a strange decision after all the hate the Bernabeu had on him. Bale didn't justify his selection either and missed a free-kick from a scoring distance within two minutes of the game. Arthur returned for Barcelona while Sergi slotted back at the right-back spot ahead of Nelson Semedo.
It wasn't an enthralling affair like the 3-2 win in the past, neither was it a total demolition derby like the 4-0, 3-0, and 6-2. Instead, it was simple, get the job done and get the heck out of here, approach by Barcelona. The visitors scored with 26 minutes on the clock. Ivan Rakitic was sent through by Sergi Roberto and eased a chip past Thibaut Courtois. The one goal was all that separated the two sides but the aftermath has them separated on a lot of things.
Barcelona now lead the all-time competitive Clasico wins at 96-95 while Real Madrid had an 87-66 lead before a certain Lionel Messi made his debut. The two are separated by 12 points in the league table which makes it certain that the Los Blancos are out of title contention now. The only resort left for them is the UEFA Champions League which is just three days away against an attacking team, without Sergio Ramos.
Here are the hits and flops from the El Clasico that sent Barcelona ahead on all-time wins for the first time in 87 years.
#5 Flop: Gareth Bale
It was close, mighty close, between two of Real Madrid's lead forwards, not to score but to get on the flop list. And in the end, we have decided that Gareth Bale has successfully beaten Benzema to the flop list. Karim Benzema did everything he could to end up here. He missed an open header just for the offside flag to spare some of his blushes. Pique and Lenglet chewed up the spaces available for the Frenchman. 1 shot on target, 1 key pass, not Karim Benzema.
But then comes Gareth Bale, trying to shut up the Bernabeu's whistles, trying to shut up the critics. He had the perfect chance to write the script early in the game with a free-kick. Here's the thing. Bale is one of the players who hits the target constantly from free-kicks, scoring is secondary. He doesn't curl it or put any sort of dip into it, his priority has been hitting the target and let the keeper work. What does he do? He steps up and skies one into the crowd.
Let the free-kick go, he had no other shots on target, no pacy runs down the flank, nothing. He only had 20 touches of the ball, the lowest among all the starters. He was taken off in the 60th minute to roaring boos from the crowd. Not the Welshman's day at all and it has been like that for some time now.