Sunday, 27 October 2013

Liga BBVA El Clasico - Review + Analysis:

Biggest in the world: The heavily-anticipated rivalry between Spanish giants Barca and Real reignited on Saturday afternoon.

One of the most heavily-anticipated rivalry games in the world took centre stage at 5pm (GMT) yesterday after the EPL 3pm kick-off's, with crucial derby debuts being given to world-record transfer signing and Welsh winger Gareth Bale aswell as Barcelona's Brazillian forward Neymar at the Nou Camp.

Real Madrid have had a slow start to their 2013-14 campaign, finding themselves behind the pace and sitting uncomfortably in 3rd place behind title rivals Barca and Atletico Madrid after a poor run of results, with their hosts Barcelona feeling the opposite sitting high on the top of the table.  

The game started off with a low intensity, with both teams trying to suss the other out with sly tactics and comfortable passing around the back, however the game exploded into life after Neymar broke the deadlock in the 19th minute with a lovely curled strike from the far post which Spanish goalkeeper David Lopez was helpless to save the shot. 

Great game: Neymar celebrates his strike in his first El Clasico match against Real.

Real Madrid suddenly looked dangerous on the counter attack after conceding the first goal, with Di Maria, Bale and Ronaldo all looking good with ball control on the counter, before Messi almost doubled Barca's lead with a finesse shot which narrowly missed the bottom corner of the net after a great through ball which set the World's Best Player through on-goal. 

The visitors were desperate to scored an equaliser, but could not utilise Bale and Di Maria enough to press Valdes and the Barca defence for a goal before half-time, with some cynical fouls being commited by both sides to create a fierce atmopshere between the two clubs just before the whistle. 

Real Madrid looked better in the second half after Bale was replaced by Benzema, with the wanted (Arsenal) French striker hitting the crossbar with a stinging drive from 20 yards out beating Valdes but not the woodwork.

It was looking as though Real were going to equalise, until substitute and Chilean forward Alexis Sanchez doubled Barcelona's lead with 12 minutes to go on the counter with a delicate teasing chip over Lopez from 20 yards out. 

Delicate chip: Sanchez doubled Barca's lead with a great chipped finish over Lopez.

Game over: Sanchez celebrates his finish which virtually sealed Barca's victory.
Barca could have made it 3-0 soon after, with right-back Daniel Alves using good trickery and improvisation to get past Ronaldo with skills on the wing before having a strike parried away by Lopez.
It was virtually game over before young Spanish forward Jese Rodriguez scored a late consolation goal in the first minute of stoppage time with a slot underneath Valdes, who should have saved the effort but luckily for him his side still ended up winning the game. 

Consolation: Jese Rodriguez scored late on for Real in the hope of a late fightback, but that was not the case.

It was a tense finish, but Barca won the tense game between two Spanish rivals desperate for a win, which was well deserved and proved that they are not 100% dependent on Lionel Messi for all their goals. 

Print-screen of the Liga BBVA table currently, with Barca top and Real third.

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