Match Reviews

Barcelona 2-1 Real Madrid: Match Review

Real Madrid travelled to Catalonia to take on arch-rivals Barcelona in a high-stakes game on Sunday. The Merengues had the chance to cut short their deficit with the league leaders to six points on the night, and nothing less than a win would be seen as a success.

Carlo Ancelotti deployed a defence of Dani Carvajal, Eder Militao, Antonio Rudiger and Nacho Fernandez on the night to defend Thibaut Courtois’ goal.

Toni Kroos, Eduardo Camavinga and Luka Modric started in the middle of the park with Karim Benzema, Vinicius Jr and Federico Valverde completing the lineup in the attack.

The first half at Spotify Camp Nou was a queer one for Real Madrid. At no stage in the 45 minutes did the visitors appear to be completely dominating their opponents, yet, there was seldom a moment when they seemed out of the game.

In fact, it was Ancelotti’s men who created the first big chance of the night in the first minute. Neatly playing through Barcelona’s left flank, Real Madrid found Karim Benzema in a good position but the Frenchman was denied by Marc Andre Ter Stegen.

Real Madrid soon found themselves under pressure with Robert Lewandowski, Sergi Roberto and Raphinha winning concrete chances to score at the other end. Yet, the first goal of the night saw the men in white celebrate voraciously at their opponents’ den.

The play leading to the goal began with Los Blancos finding Vinicius Jr on the left wing. The Brazilian protege moved wide to the touchline and attempted a flick into the box to find a teammate.

The ball fell straight to Ronald Araujo and took a deflection past Ter Stegen to gift Real Madrid an own-goal and the lead at Camp Nou.

The Merengues immediately tightened up defensively and the plan appeared to be to hold onto the one-goal lead at any cost. Barcelona’s attacks increased in amplitude and intensity but the visitors always appeared reassured in defence.

Barcelona’s Christensen saw two chances wasted in less than ten minutes as he skewed a header wide and then played a poor flick to Courtois.

After over 30 minutes of strong, calm and resilient defending, Real Madrid lost the plot in the final minute of the half. The Merengues were all over the place for Barcelona’s equaliser and it is difficult to argue against the supposition that it was inevitable.

After a patient buildup, Barcelona’s Raphinha missed the ball with his swinging foot. The ball was recycled into the Real Madrid area where the Brazilian took a shot on goal. Camavinga blocked the initial attempt but there was nothing the Merengues could do about the follow-up shot from Roberto.

Real Madrid walked into the tunnel at half-time with the score at 1-1 but with despair over the last-minute equaliser conceded.

Barcelona began the second half on a good note with Raphinha coming very close to scoring their second of the night. However, Nacho was there to make an important deflection.

Ancelotti’s men then saw a strong period on the counter with Modric, Benzema and Vinicius creating threats in the box. Yet, it all led to nothing.

Rodrygo Goes and Ferland Mendy came on for Toni Kroos and Nacho Fernandez. Almost immediately after coming on, the Brazilian youngster skied an incredible chance.

Eduardo Camavinga, Luka Modric and Fede Valverde came off for Aurelien Tchouameni, Dani Ceballos and Marco Asensio in the 76th minute.

Real Madrid played a perfect counterattack and beat Ter Stegen through smart placement by Marco Asensio but the goal was ruled out for offside.

Benzema and Vinicius had their shots blocked in the 86th minute after a perfect counterattack routine. Real Madrid were again on the front foot and dominating the game for the first time on the night.

Barcelona took the lead in extra time through some good link-up play between Lewy, Balde and Kessie who completely undid the Merengues’ defence.

Real Madrid let a one-goal lead slip away on the night and dropped all three points at Spotify Camo Nou. They now go twelve points behind Xavi’s side and must return to the stadium for another Clasico in less than two weeks.

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