El Clasico was on show in La Liga this weekend, again. 3rd “biggest derby in the world” in the last month had usual high emotional charge and little spectacular football.
Barcelona won’t mind too much the poor showings and will have the bragging rights, again. 4th consecutive victory in Madrid surely please the fans. Despite losing its much-publicized identity.
There are no meaningless clashes between the sides however, the midweek match was more important for Real as it could open the way for a trophy.
And the performance showed! Madrid was lively, played some good football and caused all sorts of problems to Barca’s rear-guard. Vinicius Jr. was particularly inspired and turned Semedo inside-out on multiple occasions.
Benzema supported the young Brazilian expertly and only an incredible Ter-Stegen prevented Blaugrana’s ship to sink. Well, Madrid’s duo had a say in that also as shooting was wayward on more than one occasion.
Except for the goalkeeper nothing worked for the Catalans! No possession dominance, no chances created, no Messi, no nothing!
The result might suggest that Barca upped the tempo and stepped up to take control of the game. But it couldn’t be further from the truth!
Until the second goal Real and Vinicius continued to dominate, until the second goal, anyhow.
Suarez took advantage of the only useful ball in the opposition area to score the all-important goal. The one that changed everything as annulled Real’s advantage from the first game and put Barca in commanding position.
Los Blancos had more than enough opportunities and time to overturn the deficit and went for it, but it just wasn’t meant to be.
When Suarez forced Varane’s own goal in the 70th minute and added another one from the spot just a few minutes later, the contest was over.
The home side decided to limit the damage and avoid greater humiliation. So the game was over some 20 minutes before the final whistle.
Barca won, ugly, the way they always held against Real.
Official statistics show 2 shots on target and 3 goals scored. Well done, Suarez!
La Liga Clasico
Valverde learned the lesson and replaced Semedo with Sergi Roberto to contain Vinicius. Arthur, one of the revelations of the season, filled the void in the middle of the park and things looked much better. At least for the visitors.
Solari opted for under-fire Bale on the right-hand side but the move backfired spectacularly. The Welshman looked lost, wandered around the pitch which disrupted Real’s delicate balance and didn’t offer anything defense-wise.
The result was a fairly uneventful match but the same outcome; Barca’s win. This time it was Rakitić who brought his side the victory.
Pique and Lenglet controlled Madrid’s attackers much better and the midfield was more compact and Ter-Stegen had a much quieter evening than in midweek.
Messi again didn’t have a memorable match but his sole presence is enough to strike fear in the opposition.
Despite 17 attempts on goal, Real wasn’t anywhere as dominant as on Wednesday.
Such was Solari’s desperation that he even introduced Isco but to no avail.
Barcelona won and ended any hope Real had triumphing in La Liga.
I rarely mention Ronaldo in relation to Real Madrid, he isn’t in their squad anymore, but this time I have to.
Real misses Ronaldo! No news, any club in the world would. He might have his faults however he’s a footballing superstar for a reason.
Nevertheless, it seems that even Barcelona misses him! Particularly, however strange it might be, Messi!
Without the Portuguese on the other side, Leo looks as if some of his motivation is gone also. 4 Clasico’s in the season and 0 goals.
Can you think of any other team facing the Argentine 4 times and not succumbing to his genius?
Perez perhaps found the best defense against Messi! But Suarez is now doing the damage.
Barca will end up winning the domestic double. The team might give up the playing philosophy nurtured the last couple of decades but the results are there.
With Juve in deep trouble against Atletico in Champions League, the Catalan club climbs to my first favorite for continental triumph also.
Real will look to salvage the season with another international title. Even if they’re on my extended favorite list, I can’t see them celebrating come June.
The only way the Blancos could celebrate crown retention is if the draw keeps them away from Barca. And their new worst enemy; Suarez.