It was a fantastic Clasico weekend, and if you missed it, where exactly were you?! Real Madrid encapsulated a brilliant night at the Bernabeu with a 3-1 win over Barcelona, who fell to their first league loss of the season and closed the gap to just one point after nine games.
Surprisingly, Leo Messi only managed one good scoring chance that Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas did well to turn away. Barca’s defense was shambolic in the second half, although Luis Suarez returned from his four-month ban and put up an impressive performance from the wings. Unfortunately, Real appeared sharper and quicker on the ball, and did well upfront with Benzema, who could have converted three or four more shots on goal.
Naturally, Barca coach Luis Enrique has received criticism right, left and center for his tactics, especially for Barca simply failing to ‘turn up’ in the second half. When things go wrong, it’s easy to blame the coach. When they’re right, it easy for the players!
“We saw a Real Madrid that also knew how to keep possession of the ball. They are not the only ones who can pass. It was a day to enjoy. We knew who to handle the phases of the match, when we needed to launch counterattacks and when to keep possession, something which they are used to dominating. And that hurt them a lot.” – Sergio Ramos
Interestingly, Madrid lost its two league “clasicos” last season, but the page appears to be turning against Barcelona since the departure of former coach Pep Guardiola in 2012.
Goals from Cristiano Ronaldo, Pepe and Karim Benzema settled the hosts in, as Neymar pulled one back a few minutes before the final whistle.