Game one of the series is over, and it is a stalemate. Penalties from Messi and Ronaldo meant each team had to settle for a point at the Santiago Bernabeu. Who holds the advantage is unclear, but rest assured, this game is a mere taster of what’s to come. Make sure you keep it here at Barca Blaugranes for all Clasico coverage.
Big news before the kick off of the first of four, yes, four, Clasicos, was that Puyol was starting and Real were going with 3 holding players. So, when the challenges went flying in just after the start, you could tell how this game was going to go.
Heated, tactical, but cautious.
Barcelona seemed happy to knock the ball about, retaining possession against the ultra-defensive Madrid, and make no mistake, the Bernabeu crowd was not pleased. However, Barca were not creating anything, and only really created a couple of chances.
First one, Messi collected a ball over the top, and tried to chip Casillas, but the World Cup winning captain stood tall, and called his bluff. It was a golden chance, one you would expect a 48-goal striker to bury.
Second, just before half-time, and a great move, with one-twos and the first real trademark Blaugrana movement ending up at Messi, but once again Casillas was not to be beat.
Real had a chance too, with Ronaldo’s header being cleared off the line by Adriano, but the game was looking to be ruined by the “park the bus” tactics of Mourinho.
Or, by the ref, as Villa was upended by Casillas in the 25th minute, it looked a nailed-on penalty, a stone-wall penalty, whatever cliché you want, this was it, but Cesar Muniz Fernandez disagreed.
That was the first half over, and Barcelona looked comfortable to play out the draw; the onus was on Jose to change tact.
Second half, no changes at the break and the first act of the referee is to give a free-kick just outside the area. Up steps Ronaldo, but he could “only” rattle the post.
Not a bad effort considering the lack of chances that fell to Real Madrid in this game.
Then, the game burst into life as again Villa got behind the defense snd this time when Albiol grappled him to the floor, a penalty was given, and a red card was shown. Messi places the ball…
GOAL! Messi’s 49th of the season, and Barca were ahead!
To be honest, I thought it was game over from there as the Blaugrana played keep ball, and Los Merengues looked defeated.
Boy, do I hate being wrong!
Marcelo managed to get a run on Alves who made the challenge, appeared to play the ball, but given Marcelo’s “theatrics” the penalty was given. Whether it was a penalty or not is beyond the point here, Alves did not really need to go to ground, giving Marcelo the chance to go down.
Ronaldo places the ball, and it’s a goal. 10 man Real equalise, with Ronaldo’s 41st of the season.
Plenty of time left, I thought that Barca would rebound, would score, man, I really do hate being wrong!!! Villa was guilty of missing a few gilt-edged chances, and Messi was not his usual self. Sure, Barcelona had a lot of possession, but never really got out of 2nd gear.
I just hope it’s because of the cup final on Wednesday.
A late flourish by the visitors brought chances, but no winner, and i was hoping that the match would go on just that little bit longer. This one didn’t, but there’s another 270 minutes yet…
Man of the Match? Well, no-one stood out for me, but I guess Messi gets the vote for scoring the goal. Puyol was good on his return, but injury cut it short, let’s all hope he gets well soon.
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