R.Madrid-FC Barcelona: Defeat at the Bernabéu (2-1)

Decepció al Bernabéu. FOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB.
A goal from Ramos with eight minutes left saw Real Madrid take a rather grey Clasico after Messi had equalised Benzema’s opener in the first half

Valdés was sent off after the final whistle after remonstrating with the ref who denied Barça an apparently clear late penalty when Adriano was brought down in the box

Barça suffered their second league defeat of the season in what was an atypical Clasico – with a four o’clock kick off, a sixteen point difference between the two teams and Barça indisputable leaders at the top of the league despite Tuesday’s Cup KO. Roura’s side weren’t at their very best, but finally lost in an especially cruel way – denied what looked to be a clear penalty in the final moments of the game after Real Madrid had scored at the start and the end of the game.

Madrid get early goal

Madrid played a near full strength defence, but included a number of fringe players in midfield as Mourinho chose to rest some of his big names, such as Cristiano Ronaldo, ahead of the Champions League game in Manchester on Tuesday, whilst Barça sent out their strongest possible starting 11.

Despite that, it was the hosts who started the brighter and Benzema opened the scoring after just 6 minutes, latching onto a great cross from the left by Morata to tap in at the far post. It was the perfect start for Madrid, who now sat back and absorbed the Barça possession.

Messi equaliser opens door to Barça dominance

As Barça strove to impose their rhythm and trademark style on the goal, Alves played a lovely through ball down the right for Messi, who cut inside Sergio Ramos and fired low past the keeper for the equaliser. The goal seemed to settle Barça’s nerves and they were looking increasingly comfortable on the ball, with Madrid forced to watch and wait as Messi and Iniesta at one point just passed the ball to each other in the middle of the park, with no Madrid player coming out to contest the ball. The possession was Barça’s now, but it was mostly in midfield and chances were hard to come by, with Messi seeing a shot blocked by Diego Lopez on the half hour and Morata headed into the side netting a few minutes later.

Ramos goal and  big penalty shout

Barça upped the intensity a notch after the break and Madrid replied by bringing on Cristiano Ronaldo just before the hour mark. The game began to get a bit feisty now, with the referee flourishing a number of yellow cards. Shrugging off Barça’s dominance of possession, Madrid’s confidence was growing with Cristiano’s entrance onto the pitch and he was soon testing Valdes with a dangerous free kick on 64 minutes, which the Barça keeper saved spectacularly.

Valdés was again the hero ten minutes later when he pushed aside a Morata effort when the Madrid youngster was one on one on the keeper, but he was unable to do anything on 82 minutes, when Sergio Ramos rose high to head home a corner and it could have been worse minutes later when Cristiano fired a free kick against the woodwork. With Alexis, Adriano and Tello now on, Barça pushed hard for an equaliser and were unlucky to be denied an apparently clear penalty when Adriano was brought down in the box – a decision that saw Iniesta shown a yellow and Valdes a red for dissent after the final whistle had been blown.