The biggest sports rivalry in the world.
The two best teams in the world.
April 13rd, 2017. 11:45 AM PST.
Real Madrid vs. Barcelona.
What a game. It did not fall short of all the hype built around it. The top two teams in La Liga battling it out with nothing short of the league title on the line.
Here’s the background info to the match: Barcelona (the team I have always supported :D) came into the game 3 points behind Real Madrid and Madrid also had a game in hand. The match was also played at Real Madrid’s home stadium, the Santiago Bernabeu. Both of the teams played a game during the week before the game. Real Madrid played against Bayern Munich on Tuesday and Barcelona played Juventus on Wednesday. If you didn’t notice, Real Madrid also had an extra day of rest. Real Madrid won their Bayern game 4-2 with an impressive comeback from being down 1-2. (That is not mentioning the fact that 2 of Real’s goals were from offside positions). This meant that they finished with a confident 6-3 aggregate with both quarter-final legs in the Champions League and therefore moved on to the semi-final stage. Barcelona on the other hand tied Juve 0-0 and therefore lost with an agg. score of 0-3 and were knocked out of the Champions League. How to take this information is up to you, but I saw it as Barca having crushed hopes as they came into the match. Also, Barca’s Neymar, who is regarded as the third best player in the world, is banned from the match. Gareth Bale was pronounced healthy enough to play the Clasico.
Next lets discuss the actual match. Real Madrid started the match with an impressive display of offence as they were in Barca’s half for very much of the first half. Cristiano Ronaldo had a penalty claim that was turned down by the ref in the first few minutes of the game. I personally think that it was not a penalty because although there was contact from Umtiti, the ball was too far from Ronaldo to be a pen. Ter Stegen had to make very many saves to keep his side in the game. Messi destroyed Casemiro early on and Casemiro lashed out and got himself an early yellow. Marcelo elbowed Messi and sent him down with a bloody mouth and forced Messi to play with a tissue in his mouth to stop the blood. Then in the 28th minute, Ramos received a killer pass from Marcelo (who was purely on fire the entire game) and he got it around Ter Stegen into the post, which deflected to the other side of the goal to Casemiro who had an easy tap in for a goal. Although ugly, Madrid were happy to be 1-0 up to their “eternal rivals”. It only took 5 minutes for Messi to put his team on his shoulders as he created a beautiful solo goal that saw his side come back to 1-1. Gareth Bale’s injury was too much for him to handle and he needed to get subbed off in the 38th minute. Then came half time and Barca from the start came out ready to get on top of this game. After many chances from both sides, Rakitic scored an absolute banger from outside the box in the 73rd minute to bring the visitors back on top. To make the match even more exciting, Sergio Ramos came out with a leg-breaking tackle on Lionel Messi that saw him receive a straight red (his 22nd for Real Madrid) which left Madrid in 10 men for the most intense part of the game. Yet Barca had an extremely poor reaction to this as they started playing really sloppy defense. One commentator even said, “Real Madrid may have one player down, but it seems like they have 2 more than Barcelona”. James Rodriguez got an amazing pass from the one-and-only Marcelo and put that in the back of the net to bring it back to 2-2 in the 85th minute which sort of let everyone know that the game was going to finish at a tie. But then Real Madrid got a bit cocky and decided to play with their hearts and not their heads and sent too many numbers up forward in the last few minutes of the game. Sergi Roberto got an interception and brought it all the way up to the opposing box, gave a pass to Andre Gomes, who waited and gave a pass to Jordi Alba, who one-touch passed it to Messi in the Madrid box, and Messi buried it in the back of the net with the last kick of the match and sent his team home with a W and a 2-3 victory. Plus, he gave the most iconic Messi moment to date in which he took off his shirt (and got a yellow for it) and showed it to all the Real Madrid fans to see, all for his 500th career goal.
SOOO now that the game is over, what does it mean for the two teams? Well, Barcelona is now in first place in La Liga but Real Madrid have a game in hand. This means that in order for Barcelona to win the title, they need to win all of their games (which is a tough schedule by the way) and Real Madrid needs to lose one of their games. The most Real Madrid can afford to slack off is to draw one of their games, and that would mean that they would win the league by one point. Funny how all of that can happen just because some players wanted to win for pride instead of playing it safe with a draw and solidifying their hold on the league title. I guess the moral for this blog is to not always think with your heart, but use your head to lol.
I hope that you guys don’t mind that I changed up this post a little bit. I thought that maybe some people did not know that I was a soccer fan and I wanted to let a few of my emotions go on here. Please like, comment, and share this blog if you enjoyed!