So it wasnt really the close encounter I had expected. I’m happy nonetheless, of course. What we were all privileged enough to witness yesterday was sublime football. Football at its finest. That is how the game is meant to be played.
Barca appeared to their adoring Camp Nou looking like men with a plan. From the word go, they took control of the game, playing that possession football they have so mastered. In the 6th minute Messi almost scored from an awkward angle, when he curled the ball with his left foot toward the topmost corner of the goal-mouth. It missed by inches. Had that gone it, it would’ve been one for the ages.
Xavi delivered in the 10th minute, with a through ball from Iniesta. A defensive lapse ensured the first goal from Barca.
Madrid, at this point did not look like they could take the ball of Barca. After stringing together 21 passes, Villa broke into the area and passed to Pedro, who scored the second on the 18th minute.
Madrid were not without their chances, di Maria had a stunner saved by Valdes, Ronaldo’s free kick went wide, and then there was a nervous moment when Abidal almost scored an own goal.
Barca went into half-time 2-0 up. A serious pep talk was needed for Madrid.
I thought that in the second half, we’d see a change in tactics from Mourinho. But all he did was substitute Ozil with Lass. This obviously did not work, as Barca just continued to toy with Real Madrid, and looked more dominant than ever. Villa made it 3-0 on 55minutes with a beautiful ball from Messi. Moments later, Messi and Villa teamed up again, to make it 4-0, with Villa scoring his second.
Bojan replaced Villa on 75minutes and immediately got stuck in the game. The seemed to stumble over his own two feet and missed a sitter. But he made amends for it later by setting up follow Cantera Jeffren to put the nail in the coffin. 5-0. Madrid were dead and buried.
The ugly moments
With a match that holds so much importance as this does. Both professionally and emotionally, there are bound to be flaring of tempers.
Ronaldo’s petulance showed again in this clasico. He appeared to have pushed Barca coach Pep Guardiola on the sidelines. This enraged the Barca players, and Victor Valdes came running from him goal to confront Ronaldo. Even the likes of Iniesta were getting involved. Ronaldo was shown yellow.
Then just before half time, Carvalho seemed to have elbowed Messi, who took to the ground. The ref, perhaps not seeing this offence, booked Messi for diving. Messi did’nt kick up a fuss, he just got on with it. Good Sportsmanship I say.
Then in the dying minutes of the game, the emotions seem to run too high for the Madrid lads to contain. A “brawl” broke out that seemed to involve all the players on the pitch, and Xavi, who was on the bench at this point even ran onto the pitch. Ramos was given his marching orders for pushing a couple of the guys. And thus el Clasico came to an end. Barca celebrated with their fans, Madrid returned gloomily to the changeroom.
The game ended with 12 yellow cards awarded and one red.
Words and phrases that are being used by the international press to describe this win?
“Men vs Boys”
“Barca Thrash Real Madrid”
“Barca playing unReal” (I liked this one!)
So what did the “Special One” have to say?
In the post match conference, looking very much like the “Beaten One,” Mourinho seemed to have taken the loss gracefully, admitting his side weren’t good enough:
“One team played very good, one team very bad. One deserved to win and one deserved to lose.
“I’ve always said that the club [Barcelona] is a finished product and Madrid have a long way to go.
“Humiliated? No. It’s easy to deal with this loss, we just weren’t good enough.”
I feel that Mourinho did not come into this matched prepared enough. He knows Barca’s style of play. And yes, he may have been missing some of his vital players, but Madrid gave Barca too much room. Thats the bottom line, they let Barca take control of the game. One cannot go to the Camp Nou to face Guardiola’s men and just sit back and wait for the break. Mourinho made this mistake and they were punished for it.
The players themselves showed a very different kind of spirit. Whatever it is that was making Madrid look so formidable this season was just lost at the Camp Nou. The Barca players played their hearts out. While Madrid lacked soul. It was seen when Ronaldo pushed Guardiola, how the Blaugrana jumped to their coaches defense. Even though i do not advocate fighting on the pitch, this was a clear demonstration of one of the many reasons why these guys play the way they do, they play for their coach. And no coach in recent memory has been able to assume this kind of role at Madrid.
Until the next Clasico, here are some pictures to keep you going…
For more pics, check out my El Clasico Album