FC Barcelona v Real Madrid –
Final Score/Result: Barcelona 2-1 Real Madrid
Man Of The Match: Neymar
FC Barcelona extended their lead at the top of the table as they defeat Real Madrid in the first El Clasico of the season.
Real Madrid are already six points behind Barcelona and this loss to their rivals has also provided Atletico Madrid the opportunity to extend their lead over them. The build-up two this match was mostly based on two factors – battle of two new managers and two big signings. It is perhaps fair to say that Gerardo Martino out foxed Carlo Ancelotti tactically. Neymar on the other hand grabbed all the headlines with his goal, while Gareth Bale was largely invisible.
The home side started the match brightly as Neymar scored his first El Clasico goal after being set-up by Iniesta. The goal arrived from Real Madrid giving the ball away cheaply in their own half and Barcelona making the most of it. The big summer signing made an immediate impact on what is surely one of the biggest games of his career.
Real Madrid, who were playing without a proper striker in this game, failed to create too many openings in the match, and when they did Victor Valdes was up to the task and kept them out. In the second half Real Madrid were furious after an appeal for a penalty was turned down the referee. The incident took place when Javier Mascherano brought down Cristiano Ronaldo inside the box with a nudge as the Portuguese international was about to strike the ball. Replay showed that Barcelona were lucky to have escaped that situation without being penalized.
Just few minutes after the above incident Barcelona doubled their lead as substitute Alexis Sanchez scored with an wonderful chip. The former Udinese player caught Diego Lopez off the line and created space for him to shoot on goal. It was his fifth goal of the season in seven appearances and the arrival of Gerardo Martino has seemingly done wonders to his confidence.
Real Madrid got a consolation right at the end when substitute Jese scored after being being put through on goal by a good pass from Cristiano Ronaldo. The youngster kept his composure and finished past Victor Valdes.
Barcelona manager felt his side could have done better in the second half. While he was delighted with the win, he the title race is still in its infancy and both Atletico and Madrid can make up the gap.
“We played well at first but tailed off, and the same is true of Messi.
“But he worked hard and I rate his performance. If he, and the other players, can continue playing this well, we’re going to have a good season.
“The victory is good for our spirits, and is more important in that sense than mathematically.
“There is still 60 per cent of the league season left, and Madrid and Atletico are close to us, they can still make up the difference.” – The Barcelona manager said.
Meanwhile Sergio Busquets has slammed Real Madrid for criticizing the referee after the defeat and said that the decisions evened in the end.
“They have nothing to complain about.
“It is really easy to say it’s the referees fault every time if you lose.
“The referee was not partial, one decision went in their favour, the other in ours.” – The Barcelona midfielder said.
Barcelona v Real Madrid – Statistics
Neymar made an immediate impact on this first El Clasico and ended the match with a goal and an assist. He first El Clasico goal came after Iniesta set him up on the right and he kept his composure to finish past Lopez. In the second half he set up substitute Alexis Sanchez with a wonderful through ball. The Brazilian certainly proved his worth in this big game and took away the lime light from the likes of Messi and Ronaldo. The above heat map depicts his movement and positioning on the pitch against Real Madrid.