Laughing to myself slightly as I expected a completely different outcome but to my surprise and perhaps all the neutrals and Madridistas, Real Madrid came out less than impressive. A combination of poor passing and lazy play by the players was perhaps the highlight of Real Madrid’s day and an ingredient in Barcelona’s victory.
Barcelona came out powering and latched on to every mistake made by the whites. Ten minutes in and Xavi does just that, latching on to a deflected shot by Iniesta and poked the ball beyond Casillas for Barcelona’s first on the night. Eight minutes later and Pedro would secure the second of the night for the hosts after a brilliant build up of 25 passes seeing Villa shifting Ramos, getting to the byline and squaring the ball for Pedro to tap in easily. The first half would continue the same with Real Madrid’s passing as horrible and Barcelona latching on to all the stray balls. The first half would end 2-0 but it could have easily been more with the way Real were playing. Nine of Madrid’s starting eleven were non-existent in the first 45 minutes; Özil who in previous matches was looking like he had the potential to be one of the greatest players to ever wear a Madrid shirt was absolutely non-existent and his corners and passing left a lot to be desired. Cristiano Ronaldo who was possibly the best player in a Madrid shirt since Mourinho’s reign reverted to his inevitable extinct disposition when it was time to show up in the big match. Alonso and Khedira were both helpless in midfield literally passing the ball to an opposing player every time they received it. At one point during the match I had to turn to a friend and asked if Alonso, Khedira, Ronaldo, Di María, Özil and Benzema were playing. The three man midfield was a complete debacle!
The 2nd half got underway and Mourinho decided to make his first change on the night substituting Özil for Lass who really came on to zero effect. Within 10 minutes and Barcelona would rightly make Madrid pay for their nonchalant display created by none other than the wizardry of Messi who slipped a brilliant through ball for Villa who was in behind the defence and finished sublimely to make it 3-0 and put the game to bed. However, Barcelona wasn’t finished and Madrid’s misery would continue only three minutes later. It was like déjà vu as Messi once again found Villa with a gem of a pass that set the Spaniard on his way to slot the ball between the legs of the onrushing Casillas for their 4th on the night. Deep in stoppage time and substitute Jeffren would score the goal of his life when Bojan found him from outside on the right which saw the youngster send a curling shot into the top corner.
Literally the last kick of the game and Ramos out of shame, frustration and stupidity rifled through Messi and earned himself a red card.
A disastrous performance from Madrid and the fans have no right to be happy with ANY of the players as they were all appalling. Their midfield was non-existent and they were all nonchalant whenever they lost the ball not to mention they were virtually unable to string two passes together through out the entire match. Interestingly, for the past 3 or so years this Madrid side have always chose the day of the clásico to give their worst performances of the season and they didn’t fail to do so tonight.
Congratulations to Barcelona and their fans for securing the leadership of the league and for taking control of tonight’s game and at least giving some fans and football enthusiasts a night to enjoy as if it were left up to Real Madrid tonight with the way they played it wouldn’t have been anything close to a spectacle.