El Classico 2020
The term El Classico refers to a fiery rivalry between Spanish LaLiga giants – Real Madrid and Barcelona. These matchups always create a hype in the footballing world and almost every football fan waits for it to happen. Yesterday was one of them!!
Zinedine Zidane was able to reintroduce Sergio Ramos in the starting lineup after missing the Champions League loss to Shakhtar Donetsk. Marco Asensio also started and Luka Modric fell to the bench.
Ronald Koeman named three teens to his starting eleven – Pedri, 17, Ansu Fati, 17, and Sergio Dest, 19, on the team. Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele fell to the bench, but Jordi Alba was ready to start.
Drama in the first 10 minutes
After a nightmare week for Zinedine Zidane, Real started the game in the best possible way. Karim Benzema’s pass was perfect for Valverde, who took advantage of the reluctance of the Barça defense and finished over Neto.
But that joy did not last long when Barça cut Real’s defense with their first attack. Jordi Alba doubled his career to perfection to beat the offside trap and put the ball into the area, where he yielded to Fati who finished off with ease.
Philippe Coutinho and Messi had already tried their luck from a distance when Messi saw Courtois produce a magical moment in the 24th minute. The Argentine used his left foot to beat Ramos in the area and shot the near post with his right foot. Courtois was alert and approached the goal to push the ball.
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The game was played at a steady pace and Real came straight from the other end to create an opportunity of their own. Benzema saw his low effort repulsed by Neto after Kroos found him 15 meters from goal.
It was Barça who seemed more willing to move on after the break. Fati dragged a low shot past Courtois’ right post before Coutinho missed with a header off the back post. Fati again the creator of the hosts.
Barca were forced to pay for those errors in the timestamp. Ramos fell theatrically to the ground in the penalty area when a Kroos free-kick was converted into a penalty kick. It looked like a real-time dive, but replays showed that Clement Lenglet had pulled his jersey.
After consulting the VAR and the side screen of the field of play, referee Juan Martínez Munuera changed his decision and signaled the point. Ramos didn’t make a mistake from 12 yards.
90th minute stunner
Modric secured the three points with the calmest of the goals in the last minute of injury time. Neto smothered the ball at Vinicius’ feet but fell to replace Rodrygo, who passed to Modric. The Croatian surrounded Neto, before taking his time and finishing between two defenders who were guarding the line with the outside of his boot.
It was a deserved victory for Real, who put their struggles against Cádiz and Shakhtar Donestk behind them to produce a perfect away display. Barca were brilliant in the spells, but you will wonder about Ronald Koeman’s reluctance to make changes earlier.
It’s the Champions League for both teams, with Barcelona traveling to a Ronaldo-less Juventus on Wednesday and Real Madrid facing a trip to Borussia Monchengladbach 24 hours earlier. Next up in La Liga is a trip to Alavés for Barça next Saturday night, while Real host Huesca earlier in the day.
Also read THFC All or Nothing – A documentary that focuses on winning tactics of ‘The Special One’