In the lead up to this installment of El Clasico, both Real Madrid and Barcelona were coming off losses in their Champions League semifinals ties versus Bayern Munich and Chelsea, respectively. Given that said context, this particular Clasico had tempered the morbo that exists between these two clubs—after all, the fixture list was anything but challenging.
I’ll be the first to admit that I was expecting a draw (or at least be thankful if we could manage a draw). After all, a quick look at the head-to-head statistics reveal that in La Liga, the last time that Real Madrid won over Barcelona was back in May 2008. Seven Clasicos in La Liga since then have materialized, with Real Madrid managing to draw only in one and losing the rest (including those terrible 5-0 and 6-2 matches—que horror!).
That said, this was a different Real Madrid team that showed up at Camp Nou—one that spelled of quite confidence and nothing-to-lose attitudes. This was not the team that had to rely on excessive fouling (although the playacting is still there). However, the defense was largely solid (save for the scuffle in front of the goal that led to Alexis’ lone goal for Barcelona—whose shot Iker has earlier saved), and I’m just all too glad that Fabio Coentrao contained Dani Effin’ Alves and my Sergio Ramos did a terrific job of covering Leo Messi.
One could counter that Barcelona had been running ragged, especially when Sami Khedira beat both Victor Valdes and Carles Puyol to score Real Madrid’s first goal.
While Barcelona continued to dominate possession, Real Madrid was more purposeful in the times that it had the ball. Credit should also go to Mesut Özil, who set up Cristiano Ronaldo nicely for Real Madrid’s second goal—which was just a sheer beauty to watch.
More importantly, this gives Real Madrid a seven-point cushion over Barcelona, with still a few matches to play. High time the Catalans got their wings clipped.
And, a treat for the ladies: