Home FOOTBALL El Clasico: Real Madrid beat FC Barcelona at Camp Nou

El Clasico: Real Madrid beat FC Barcelona at Camp Nou

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On the 181st encounter between the Spanish giants- Real Madrid emerged victorious by defeating FC Barcelona 3-1, in a game that came down to experience as the deciding factor.

Image Source: Twitter.com

This Barcelona team had three players under 20 years of age: Ansu Fati (17 yrs), Sergino Dest (19 yrs) and Pedri (17 yrs), which translated into the game plan of utilizing speed down the flanks. Both teams were targeting the left side of the pitch, a duel where the offense outweighed the defense. For Madrid, it was Mendy & Vinicius going up against Dest and Pedri; a combination of power and speed. Barcelona had the services of Jordi Alba and Philippe Coutinho looking to take advantage of the attacking-minded Marco Asensio and slower Nacho Fernandez.

The above tone was set in 10 minutes of the game which saw both teams scoring on the counter to make it 1-1. Federico Valverde found the net in 5 minutes for the Los Blancos by a Benzema assist on a high press, looking to set the pace from the beginning. Ansu Fati, the club’s top goal scorer (4 currently), equalized for the Blaugranas on a counter down the left-wing- assisted by Jordi Alba, which gave the signals that this wasn’t going to be a monotonous Clasico.

At about 23 minutes into the game, Barcelona were on the counter with Messi pulling the strings in the middle of the pitch, made a deft turn near the right goal-post and shot at close range to goal which was parried away by Thibaut Courtois. On the other end of the pitch, Benzema had an opportunity from point-blank range as he squared his effort straight into the hands of the Barca keeper Neto. Barcelona were looking to counter on Madrid’s high press and, the high press was being implemented to take advantage of the Blanco’s speed and strength against their defense. The first half ended at 1-1.

The second half got off to a fiery start for Barcelona as Ansu Fati’s shot just went wide the far goal post on a counter-attack. Two minutes later, Fati delivered in a cross for Coutinho, who was left unmarked at the far end of the goal and headed his attempt into the side-netting. Barcelona were creating the chances they were looking for, but the conversion of these chances lacked the clinical finishing that a Luis Suarez or an Antoine Griezmann would provide.

Five minutes later, Sergio Ramos is fouled by Clement Lenglet in the penalty box (shirt tugging) on a cross delivered by Toni Kroos- referee Juan Martinez went over to VAR to check for the penalty, penalty awarded to the away team. The Real Madrid captain delivered from the spot once again to give his side a 2-1 lead with 30 minutes left in the game. Sergio Ramos: “[Clement] Lenglet’s marking went to the limit, he grabbed me when I tried to jump. To judge the referee by such a clear [foul] is unfair. Sometimes they get it right and sometimes they don’t. The penalty was quite fair.”

The remainder of the game saw Madrid settling down defensively, limiting Barcelona’s attacking options down the flanks and through the middle with Messi as the Maestro. The Dutch coach, Ronald Koeman made a flurry of attacking changes in the last 10 minutes of the game, hoping to get a chance to equalize the game; but the effort was in vain as Rodrygo had Neto on his heels in the penalty box, squared it to Modric who beat the oncoming Neto and defenders to find the net to make it 3-1 for the Los Whites. That was the nail in the coffin for this El Clasico.

With the win, Madrid are now top of the table with 13 points from six games while Barcelona reel at the 10th spot with just seven points from five matches. Lionel Messi has gone 515 minutes without scoring against Real Madrid in all competitions. The Barcelona captain has not been able to score against Los Blancos with any of his last 19 shots.

“It was the plan for the game to have control of the game,” Barcelona head coach Ronald Koeman said after the match. “We changed Leo’s position, put Ansu as a reference point. Tried to look for space behind Madrid’s defense and have players on the wide with good ball control, going between lines and one reference upfront. Can be happy in that sense, we played well.

Thibaut CourtoisVinicius JuniorSergio Ramos and Luka Modric have celebrated Real Madrid’s win on Twitter. “We suffer and win together”; “Madrid and nothing else”; “Thoroughbred” and “This is Real Madrid” were the messages.

“TEAM.” This was Zinedine Zidane‘s message on social media after winning El Clasico for Madrid against Barcelona.

 

Also Read: Marcus Rashford MBE – Talented on the pitch, a Legend off it

 

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