Real Madrid return to top of La Liga table after comfortable El Clasico win

Real Madrid 3-1 Barcelona

Real Madrid came into the 250th El Clasico favoured by many and in the end, it played out as many had expected.

Barcelona got on the ball early and began to circulate it, if without danger. As if written from on high though, the key area of weakness highlighted before the match, a mismatch between Vinicius Junior and Sergi Roberto, cost Barcelona. The Brazilian was released brilliantly by Toni Kroos under pressure. Although his shot was saved by Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Karim Benzema was on hand, unmarked, to dispatch the rebound.

Again the Blaugrana were on the ball in the aftermath, by which point the observer began to get the feeling that Los Blancos were comfortable with that. Dani Carvajal did well to keep the ball in on the touchline and after an inadvertent deflection from Eric Garcia, the ball fell to Vinicius in behind. The Blaugrana recovered men back but none of them tracked Fede Valverde as he came onto a Ferland Mendy lay off and bulleted the ball low beyond ter Stegen.

Barcelona were kept at arms length for the most part but they did manage to work some space for Raphinha down the right. The Brazilian, for the only time in the match, used the ball well and his cross was skied over the bar on the stretch from Robert Lewandowski, amid suspicions of offside.

The second half was well under control for Carlo Ancelotti until a triple substitution from Xavi Hernandez gave Barcelona a new dimension. Lewandowski seemed to be taken down by Dani Carvajal in the box as the space appeared, but nothing was given. He then got the slightest touch on Ansu Fati’s cross, driving down the left, before Ferran Torres tapped in at the back-post, giving the Blaugrana hope with ten minutes to go. Both were brought on by Xavi and Jordi Alba was also involved.

Just as things looked a little concerning for the hosts, Ansu scuffed a shot narrowly wide, another counter-attack ended when Eric Garcia stepped on Rodrygo Goes’ foot, an Ancelotti substitute. He stepped up to convert the penalty and confirm Real Madrid as league leaders.

Although Barcelona had moments in the match, it was hard to escape the feeling that Los Blancos were passively waiting for their own to punish their visitors. Dreamy touches from Toni Kroos and Luka Modric adorned an almost nonchalant victory. Xavi takes his side back to Barcelona with plenty of thinking scheduled for the bus. His side seem incapable of avoiding the mistakes that he so hates and Real Madrid knew that all too well.

Tags Barcelona El Clasico Real Madrid

1 Comment

  1. “El Clasico favoured by many and in the end, it played out as many had expected”

    Only a football illiterate would favor a team where their two best players are either injured or out of form.

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