MOTD- Real Madrid 2-1 Barcelona

El Clasico has lived up to it’s expectations, with Real Madrid taking an early lead, Barcelona equalizing, and Madrid.  Barca started the game a bit nervously, and despite Madrid resting their top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo, they amazingly took the lead in the fifth minute when they dispossessed Barca in Barca’s own half.  They immediately played the ball to young winger Alvaro Morata down the left, and he hit a stunning knee-high cross into the box.  Karim Benzema was lurking there, and when the cross came in he read the ball and ran around his marker to volley it into the back of the Barca net past Barca goalkeeper Victor Valdes.

Despite Madrid getting the early goal, Barca fought back and in the fifteenth minute they got their equalizer when right-back Dani Alves played a killer through ball to Messi down the centre of the Madrid half.  Messi took the ball into the Madrid box, cut it back across his body to lose his marker, and coolly slotted it past Madrid goalkeeper Diego Lopez and into the back of net at the near post.  Despite starting so strong Madrid slowly just sat back and defended Barca who were maintaining the bulk of the possession as usual.  But the next big chance came to Madrid, and when Luka Modric sent in a looping cross in the thirty-ninth minute, it found Morata completely unmarked at the back post but his header hit the side netting.  Barca dominated the rest of the half but could not score again, and the half ended 1-1.

Barca started the second half lively and looked like they would score again and complete their comeback.  The first big chance they got was in the fifty-seventh minute when David Villa was played in on the left, and he went past his marker, but his shot was saved by an oncoming Lopez.  But despite starting the half lively, Barca often committed to many men forward and they almost paid for that in the sixty-eight minute when Madrid won a free-kick thirty-five yards out from the Barca goal.  Ronaldo lined up to take it, and his shot went over the wall and dipped back on target, and forced Valdes to awkwardly parry the swerving shot.

After the free-kick Barca fell apart, and Madrid should have gone ahead in the seventy-sixth minute when Pepe hit an amazing chipped pass to Morata.  Morata took the ball into the Barca box, but his half-volley was amazingly tipped wide by an oncoming Valdes.  But Madrid did go ahead in the eighty-second minute off a corner, much to the displeasure of the Barca fans.  Modric’s in-swinger was met by the head of Sergio Ramos at the near post, and his glancing header went past a hapless Valdes and into the back of the net.

But Madrid did not stop there, and almost doubled their lead in the eighty-eighth minute, but Cristiano Ronaldo’s dipping free-kick from thirty yards out hit the top crossbar.  Ronado got another chance off a free-kick, but this time from an almost impossible angle and his shot was parried by Valdes.  But Barca had a chance to level the scoring in the final seconds of the game, but when Ramos clipped Adriano inside the Madrid box referee Miguel Lasa stunningly did not award a penalty.  But Madrid got the ball of the trip and the mach ended 2-1.  Even after the final whistle Barca were complaining about Lasa’s failure to award a penalty, and Valdes was given the red card for his arguing while three other players were given a yellow.
Man of the Match: Cristiano Ronaldo

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