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Title race almost over as Kessie gives Barcelona a dozen reasons to be cheerful

Cometh the hour...

FC Barcelona v Real Madrid CF - LaLiga Santander Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

A cacophony of noise that only a Clasico crowd can produce greeted the players as they made their way out of the tunnel and onto an immaculate Camp Nou pitch.

This is a fixture that rarely disappoints (though by and large it did on Sunday), with emotions and feelings always heightened before and during the match.

Indeed, the energy that culers create surrounding the game when Los Blancos come to town can’t be matched.

The flip side of course is that you can hear a pin drop when Real score and once Ronald Araujo unluckily deflected into his own net against the run of play, that’s precisely what happened.

It’s as if the oxygen gets sucked out of the stadium and that almost certainly translates to those on the pitch.

FC Barcelona v Real Madrid CF - LaLiga Santander Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Certain passages of play from both sides were worthy of this esteemed fixture though you’d be hard pressed to label this as a classic, as would befit the name.

But who cares?!

A first comeback win in a Clasico since the 1980s isn’t something to be sniffed at.

If nothing else it showed how this particular squad can grind out victories seemingly from the jaws of defeat.

Sunday night’s match wasn’t the first in 2022/23 to be slipping away, only for the rub of the green to go Xavi’s way. A lucky manager? Perhaps.

Though credit must go to players like Sergi Roberto after the victory. A player who is much maligned by the Barca fan base, but who can be relied upon to put in a shift at the coal face in each and every game.

It’s true that he wouldn’t have been anywhere near the starting XI had Pedri been fit, but he showed how much of an able deputy he was before being taken off.


Andreas Christensen. Another unsung hero who was, yet again, one of the best players on the pitch for Barca. When have you ever seen such an accomplished performer available on a free transfer?!

Making up the trio of players who don’t necessarily get their name in lights but should do is Franck Kessie.

Sure, it’s true that he’s not a typical Barca player, nor would he necessarily be first choice for many, but his late, late intervention has almost certainly won Barcelona the title.

Twelve points clear with 12 games to go... only a monumental collapse could hand the title to Madrid on a silver platter from here.

Football is a team/squad game. For all the Lewy’s, Gavi’s and Busi’s, there has to be a Kessie, Christensen or Roberto.

They deserve this league just as much as their contemporaries.

Visca el Barca!!

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