Real Madrid conquers El Clasico
Mar 3, 2020
Real Madrid conquers El Clasico as they defeated Barcelona 2-0 at the Bernabeau.
Real Madrid vs Barcelona (La Liga)
Starting XI: Courtois, Carvajal, Varane, Ramos (C), Marcelo, Casemiro, Kroos, Valverde, Isco, Vinicius, Benzema.
It was a surprise to see Marcelo in the starting line up. Zidane decided to trust his senior left-back over the dependable Mendy. He had the team structured in an asymmetrical 4-3-3/4-3-1-2. Vinicius also started following his impressive performance against Manchester City. Kroos was back in the starting line-up in place of Modric.
It was a slow start to the game. Barcelona was happy to try and keep the ball without much forward movement. Real Madrid started with a high press and attempted to move the ball quickly to the attacking half but without much success. Benzema had an early volley from the top of the eighteen, but his effort was over the bar. A fantastic cross from Marcelo, a few minutes later, is headed down by Isco towards big Benzema; the Frenchman is caught wrong-footed.
Vinicius was the crux of Madrid's attack. A lot of attacking sequences went through him. One of his dribbles ended with a cutback to Kroos which, the German sent over the bar. He looked Barcelona slowly got into the game and started holding more of the ball. Most of their possession was in their half, but they managed to create few exciting opportunities. Their first big chance came after Messi released Alba on the left. The Spain international picked out Griezeman in the middle of the box; the former Atletico forward smashed his shot over the bar.
Arthur all of a sudden is released on goal by Griezeman. The Brazillian managed to fend of Kroos and go one on one against Courtois, but the former Chelsea man made a fantastic save. Minutes later, Vinicius has an attempt on goal from the top of 18 that is straight at Ter Stegen. Soon after, at the other end, Busquet's lobbed a lovely ball to Messi; he took a touch and quickly released (under pressure from Varane). Courtois made a regulation save to deny the Argentine.
Half Time (Real Madrid 0 - 0 Barcelona)
Real Madrid played well but was let down by their decision in the final third. They got into excellent positions in the attacking half, mostly through Vinicius, but lacked precision. It was very end-to-end first-half. Barcelona didn't look as good on the ball but created better opportunities. They were slow to progress the ball, however, when they did get into the final third, they looked dangerous, and produced clear chances. Ultimately they failed to find the back of the net through poor finishing and top goalkeeping by Courtois.
Barcelona started the half trying to play out through Ter Stegen. Los Blancos continued their high press and also came out with more energy and urgency. Kroos took a quick corner, and Marcelo slipped the ball to Isco. Known as Magia to his teammates, the former Malaga man took a touch and sent in a beautiful curler from just outside the box. The Bernabeu crowd was on their feet: everyone thought the ball was going inside the post. It wasn't to be as Ter Stegen made a magnificent save to deny Los Blancos the lead. The Blaugranas couldn't exit Madrid's press. Zidane's men mounted increased pressure. It was all one-way traffic from Real Madrid.
The men in white were relentless. They won all the 50-50 balls. Carvajal hustled by the end-line and crossed the ball. Isco rose and met it with a grand header, but his effort cleared off the line by Pique. Carvajal looked like a man possessed in the second half. He set Benzema up with a lovely cross, but the French striker managed to shoot the ball over. The goal was inevitable. Toni Kroos signaled Vinicius to make the run as he sent him through with a marvelous pass. The Brazilian dribbled into the box and released his shot. The ball, deflected by Pique, flew past Ter Stegen into the back of the net; Real Madrid took the lead. Vinicius became the youngest player to score in El Clasico in the 21st Century.
Against the run of play, Messi dribbles towards the goal and would have been one-on-one with Courtois, but Marcelo had another idea. He chased Messi down and put in a perfect tackle to rob the Argentine off the ball. The Brazilian stood back up and celebrated with a punch in the air. Modric came in for Isco. Real Madrid was in control, and Barcelona didn't see much of the opposing goal for the last ten minutes. Zidane made a couple of late substitutions as Vasquez came in for Valverde in the 86th minute and Mariano for Benzema in the 90th minute. However, there was more excitement left for the Madridistas. Carvajal found Mariano with a hopeful throw-in. The Canterano striker ran into the box, one-on-one with Ter Stegen, and smashed the ball into the back of the net. His first minute in La Liga this season, his first touch, and he scored. Real Madrid conquers El Clasico with the score 2-0.
Final Time (Real Madrid 2 - 0 Barcelona)
This was one of the best performances by Real Madrid except for their finishing.
The first half was balanced (Barcelona perhaps had the edge with better chances), but the second half was all Real Madrid. They dominated the half; The Blaugranas pinned back and had no answer to Madrid's intensity.
Carvajal and Marcelo were both sensational in this game.
While Casemiro had his worst game against Man City, he had his best game of the season here to make up for it.
Real Madrid could have looked more dangerous if they were better with their decision making in the final third.
Isco, Kroos, Valverde, Courtois and Vinicius all had a spectacular performances.
Three stars of the match
Vinicius: He was electrifying. He wasn't always efficient and precise in the final third, but he created a lot of danger. He scored the decisive goal that gave Real Madrid control.
Isco: He was instrumental in giving Los Blancos the control. He was always available for his teammates to release the pressure and get out of difficult situations. Everything flowed through him and had excellent combinations with Kroos, Marcelo, and Vinicius. His beautiful curler in the 55th minute brought the crowd to life. He completed all three of his dribbles and had a fantastic game.
Courtois: Came in big at the biggest game of the season. He made two glorious saves in the first half. Those saves came at an important phase of the game and kept Real Madrid in the game. He now has the highest save percentage from shots faced in La Liga this season.