El Clasico AS IT HAPPENED: Real Madrid 0-3 Barcelona – 10-Man Real Crumble Under Pressure
?Welcome to 90min’s Christmas Clasico liveblog! To get involved and have your tweets featured, tweet @ThatChris1209 with any comments, insight or analysis. Live updates will appear below!
14:12 – GOODBYE!
That’s it for this afternoon, I’ll just leave you with this little gem…
14:10 – LA LIGA TABLE
13:58 – THAT’S A WRAP
We’ll be back in a second for full reaction to a massive result, but just…take a second to reflect on that game. Goodness me.
13:53 – FULL TIME
Incisive. Barcelona have come to Madrid and taken advantage of every chance Real presented them, and the Primera Division title looks to be heading back to Catalonia after just a season away.
13:51 – GOAL!!!! REAL MADRID 0-3 BARCELONA!!!!
Aleix Vidal, welcome to the match! Lionel Messi dances past Marcelo on the right flank, dinking the ball back to Vidal on the edge of the box with the outside of his boot.
Navas looked to have saved the 28-year-old’s effort, but…well, when it’s not going for you, it’s not going for you. It squirmed under the Costa Rican and just over the line. That. Is. It.
13:49 – BARCA CHANCE!
So, so almost three. If it was any midfielder other than Gomes who was put one-on-one with Navas, Real’s humiliation could’ve been complete. As it is…we wait.
13:45 – POLEMIC?
It’s easy to read way too much into a single game of football – or even a single season – but there must now be some worry in the Real Madrid fanbase that what looked like becoming a dynasty under Zinedine Zidane is unravelling before their eyes.
Karim Benzema looks done. Cristiano Ronaldo, the man for the big game, was rarely seen – and worse, muffing big chances when he was given them. Barcelona; a Barcelona side who have failed to impress on a game-by-game level despite their unbeaten run, easing past them to wrap up the league title in December. It’s going to be 14 points now.
The Champions League is going to be the aim now for Zidane and his men, but on the basis of this performance – and their games against Spurs – that’s going to be tricky too. Will the Frenchman start next season at the helm of the club?
13:42 – RAMOS CHANCE
Ter Stegen makes a save from close-range with his face, as Andre Gomes comes on for Paulinho – one of the few players to provide a spark in the first half. Yes, that Paulinho. He’s been good this season, haven’t you seen?
13:40 – BARCELONA SUB
Andres Iniesta won’t see out the 90, coming off for right-back Nelson Semedo. That, you would expect, will shift Sergi Roberto into midfield from the right flank.
13:35 – BALE CHANCE!
Goodness me, how dramatic would that have been? Two saves in as many minutes forced from Ter Stegen by the Welshman, and Real are beginning – finally – to knock on the door here.
13:32 – REAL LETDOWN
Make no mistake, this hasn’t been a classic performance from Barcelona in this game. Real had the better of the match up until the first goal, but that wastefulness and lack of cutting edge that’s characterised their struggles to far this season came back to bite them again.
Ernesto Valverde’s Barca – who looked an absolute state both institutionally and as a team just a couple of months ago – have proven themselves brilliantly resilient once again.
13:29 – REAL MADRID SUBS
One last roll of the dice for Zidane, Gareth Bale and Marco Asensio making their way on for the last 20 minutes in place of Casemiro and Kovacic. Finally some attacking impetus – and genuine pace…but too little, too late in a must-win game?
13:26 – TWITTER REACTION
Barça fans at the Bernabeu singing “Goodbye to the league, goodbye…”
— The Spanish Football Podcast (@tsf_podcast) December 23, 2017
Lionel Messi scores his 25th #ElClásico goal, already most in matchup history.
It is also the 3rd opponent Messi has 25 career goals against
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 23, 2017
13:23 – REAL MADRID SUB
Boos ring around the Bernabeu – not for the sending off, that was nailed on, but for Zinedine Zidane bringing on Nacho for Karim Benzema. Not the most attacking change. But there’ll be more coming in a second…
13:21 – GOAL!!!! REAL MADRID 0-2 BARCELONA!!!!
THAT. IS. THE. GAME.
Lionel Messi hammers the ball past Keylor Navas, and at the risk of having this screenshotted in six months time – Barcelona have just won La Liga.
13:20 – WOODWORK!!! GOAL DISALLOWED!!! RED CARD!!!!! PENALTY!!!!!
DANI CARJAVAL HANDLES ON THE LINE AND BARCELONA HAVE A PENALTY. HE. IS. GONE.
13:16 – GARETH BALE WARMING UP
Always a good time to start warming up in the manager’s eyeline, isn’t it? GazBaz is doing some stretching in a bright orange bib, and a couple of his teammates are going through the motions beside him too.
And SERGIO RAMOS HAS BEEN BOOKED.
13:14 – #FANVIEW
Weird to say for a man who’s won as much as he has but Sergio Busquets might be the most underrated player there is. Pure class for the goal #ElClasico@ThatChris1209
— Andrew Headspeath (@Andy_Headspeath) December 23, 2017
13:11 – GOAL!!!!!!!! REAL MADRID 0-1 BARCELONA!!!!!!!!
It’s Luis Suarez! Lightning counter-attacking run from Ivan Rakitic who feeds the ball out right to Sergi Roberto. The right-back shaped to shoot, but pinged the ball first time across to the left-hand side of the box for the Uruguayan hitman, who made no mistake. Game very, very much on.
13:10 – MATEO COVER-CIC
Kova? Cover? Geddit? Anyway…he’s moved from his early role shutting down Sergio Busquets to sit on Lionel Messi pretty much exclusively now. And you know what? It’s more or less working, the Argentine has been very quiet. But wait…
13:08 – VIEWING FIGURES
Apparently there’s half a billion people watching this game worldwide. That’s half a billion people bored out of their absolute skulls right now.
13:05 – EARLY POT-SHOT
Ronaldo cuts in, shoots, it dribbles two or three yards wide of Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s goal. Not one for the highlight reel.
13:03 – KICKOFF
13:00 – WE’RE BACK
Awaiting the second half kickoff, Real’s players all seem in good spirits in the tunnel…all that’s missing is a goal to spark this one into life. And boy, do the home side need it.
12:50 – BACK IN 5
I need a coffee too, after that turgid first half. Back in a couple…
12:47 – HALF TIME
Free kick just before the break for Messi, about 30 yards out…into the wall, out for a throw, that’s the end of the first 45. Little separating them here, go stick the kettle on and hope that they’re getting some IV Red Bull in the changing rooms.
12:42 – BENZEMA CHANCE
Karim Benzema really is just in this side as Cristiano Ronaldo’s human comfort blanket, isn’t he? He’s certainly not there as an actual striker now – dragging a header wide at the far post. Another chance wasted.
12:40 – GREAT SAVE
Real have had far and away the better of the game in terms of control, but that’s another great save forced out of Navas, who pushes away a header directed low to his right-hand side by – I think – Paulinho.
12:37 – SECOND HALF SUBS?
This has been very much what you might call a midfield battle thus far, but there are some players on the sidelines who could change that. Most of them on the Real sideline though – looking at the silk of Isco and the pace of Bale there.
12:35 – PAULINHO CHANCE REVISTED
Might’ve underplayed that earlier chance for Paulinho a little, it was very well hit and Navas did incredibly well to tip it over the bar. That was coming very, very quickly indeed.
12:33 – RONALDO CHANCE
A dart down the left, a shot across the face of goal and things just, just about starting to open up here before half-time.
12:30 – PAULINHO DID A SHOT
Tipped away for a corner by Keylor Navas, which comes to – you guessed it – nothing. This has developed from a slow start into an actively bad game of football, lads.
12:27 – WAKEY WAKEY
Real Madrid has lost the last two league games vs Barcelona at the Bernabéu. It has never lost three straight vs Barcelona at home in La Liga.
Barcelona has won six of its last nine league games at Real Madrid.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 23, 2017
It’s come up once or twice in the buildup, but…yeah, this is earlier in the day than most Clasicos, almost entirely for the foreign TV market. Neither side really look like they’ve woken up so far, after that dramatic opening minute or two.
12:23 – REAL ATTACK
“Cristiano Ronaldo has options…and his favourite is to go it alone!”
We might hear that a lot today. No dice. No danger.
12:21 – FREE KICK REAL
Booking for Thomas Vermaelen – could that be costly later? – and a masterclass from Toni Kroos in how not to deliver a ball from midway inside the opposition’s half. I don’t think it even made it into the box.
12:20 – CAGEY OPENING
How slow has the opening 20 minutes been? The broadcasters are showing replays of a Luis Suarez offside decision from a run which ended in…well, not much anyway.
He was onside. For the record.
12:17 – WHAT WE’RE SAYING
90min editor and Academy Manager ?Scott Saunders:
12:15 – OUCH
A brilliant sliding tackle from Andres Iniesta cleared the danger after that Ronaldo air-kick as Dani Carvajal came haring in, but it’s come at a cost – big whack, and the veteran midfielder is down in some pain.
12:12 – BIG CHANCE
Cristiano Ronaldo has just completely missed the ball, unmarked in the centre of the box. A neat cutback onto his left foot, and…air-kick. Never mind working the keeper, you expect Ronaldo to score there – that’s an enormous let-off.
12:09 – FASHION WATCH
Ernesto Valverde already has one up on his predecessor Luis Enrique: he isn’t wearing a horrible silver suit with grotty trainers. Calm attire for a calm man.
12:06 – PHONY WAR
Okay, now we’re having the cagey opening stages we were expecting. That’s nicer. What a start Cristiano Ronaldo almost gave the home side though…
12:03 – GOAL DISALLOWED!!!
An absolutely lovely ball in from an early corner from Toni Kroos, flicked on to Cristiano Ronaldo…who is a step offside, and his celebrations are cut short. Can we take a breath?
12:01 – AND IT’S LIVE
11:59 – WHAT WE’RE SAYING
90min editor and Malaga resident ?Andy Headspeath: “
11:53 – WEIRD AND UNCOMFORTABLE
Christian Vieri has just done a really weird shoulder wiggle thing on beIN Sports after predicting Paulinho to score the goals in a 2-1 Barcelona win. I feel a little queasy.
11:50 – T-MINUS 10 MINUTES
Here it comes. Stick the kettle on, grab a sandwich, whatever it is you need to do before you settle down for 90 minutes of red hot Clasico action.
11:45 – FORM GUIDE: BARCELONA
Lionel Messi has scored 49 goals for Barcelona in 2017 – this is his last chance to reach 50 club goals in a year for the 6th time pic.twitter.com/cBa0h79GIZ
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) December 23, 2017
Barca haven’t lost a game since the Spanish Super Cup in mid-August. At all. Not a single defeat. Not in two games against Champions League finalists Juventus, not away at Atleti, not even against bogey team Malaga.
One point of note, though? They’ve drawn three of their last five away games. Olympiacos, Juventus and Valencia have all held Barca, two 0-0s and a 1-1 respectively, and that’ll give Real some degree of hope.
11:40 – FORM GUIDE: REAL
The reigning Spanish champions haven’t lost in 10 games…but of those, only five were in La Liga. And two of those five were draws – a pair of 0-0s away at Athletic and Atletico.
The Bernabeu has been more of a fortress though, five league wins in a row plus one more at home to Borussia Dortmund.
11:35 – WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
11:30 – THE CONTEXT
Obviously not the wide context of the fixture (there’s books for that sort of thing), but the context within this season.
It’s not overdramatic to say that this is a must-win for Real – with a draw leaving them 11 points behind with a game in hand, and a defeat leaving an unthinkable 14-point gap to the leaders.
For Barca, it’s a chance to more or less put the league to bed. Real will be a speck in the rear-view mirror, Valencia have fallen off massively and Atleti, just as they looked like they were putting some proper form together, lost 1-0 to Espanyol last night. If Barca win, that’s a nine-point gap.
11:25 – ISCO MISS…CO
And when Zidane looks to bench if he needs to change game, he’ll have Asensio, Bale, Isco there waiting. Blimey.
— Sid Lowe (@sidlowe) December 23, 2017
Did I mention that Isco isn’t playing? Yeah, Isco isn’t playing – starting the game on the bench, likely to accommodate Kovacic but also as a reflection of some pretty indifferent form this season.
Big turnaround for a man who was quite possibly Real’s most important player in the second half of last season. Yeah, including that guy.
11:19 – BARCELONA STARTING LINEUP
Barcelona doing Barcelona things. More or less the starting lineup most would have predicted, Paulinho the secondary attacking threat behind Luis Suarez and Messi.
Yeah, that still sounds a bit weird eh?
11:17 – REAL STARTING LINEUP
After all that talk about Cristiano Ronaldo missing training in midweek…he’s in the team, and how.
The interesting inclusion, though, is that of Mateo Kovacic in midfield with Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemiro. The suggestion is that he’ll be on the pitch to shut down one of two men – Leo Messi or Sergio Busquets.
11:15 – GOOD MORNING!
Good morning, good afternoon, good evening wherever you are.