Nobody will stop Xavi from taking the gold. Barça squeezes Real Madrid in the Clásico and has a 12-point lead


El Clásico does not need additional heating of interest and adherence to principles. Opponents too different and too irreconcilable and that not only represent football teams, but also symbolize the political characteristics of Spain. So everyone (except, it seems, Atlético fans) has preferences in this matchup.

However, the new meeting of the teams stood out against the general background. First of all, for the Catalans. For one, they were determined to complete the championship race that night. The nine-point advantage allowed, in case of victory, to close the issue of gold medals, and a tie left creamy minimal chances.

On the other hand, after the judicial scandal with the intervention of the Barcelona prosecutor’s office, a less accommodating atmosphere reigns. Let the players try not to read this news, it is clear that they do not live in a vacuum and at least receive links to media reports from their friends. And there is a hypothetical possibility of losing European competition and even leaving the example. It seems that while there’s no serious reason to expect the worst, it’s still puzzling.

The game was so significant (are there other Clásicos?) that even Pep Guardiola, who has enough work at Manchester City, visited the Camp Nou this Sunday night.


Xavi and Carlo Ancelotti are quite predictable managers in terms of starting line-ups, and this time they didn’t betray themselves: 4-3-3 mutual with all stars at the start. The composition of Real Madrid can generally be called with closed eyes, which creates difficulties for the team: some players have too much workload, while others mentally and physically remain on the bench. At Barca, only Sergi Roberto is noticeable in the midfield, and not Frank Kessier, but it is understandable: the Spaniard is more experienced, more restrained, more predictable in the game with the ball.

The plan itself was good. From the first minutes, the Blaugrana surrounded Thibaut Courtois’s penalty area and forced him to enter the game very seriously on several occasions. But the coaches suggest, but the ball is available. On goal occasions at the gates of the guests, he could not fly past the goalkeeper, and in a rare counterattack against another’s goal, he ended up behind the tape. It was Vinicius who fired a cross from the edge into the penalty area and hit Ronaldo Araujo on the head, from where the ball flew into the near corner. Rebound, of course, hurtful, but Marc-Andre ter Stegen must take the blame for the goal himself. It is clear that he has already shifted the weight to the far leg, but at least he had time to try to react.

The sad irony is that Xavi sent Araujo personally under Vinicius. On March 2, the teams met in the Spanish Cup (Barça won 1-0 in Madrid), and this time the Uruguayan ate the Brazilian without sauce. And now here is such an accident at the beginning of the game.


The goal invisibly changed the atmosphere on the field. The hosts, who came out fully confident in their abilities, suddenly faded into the background. No, they did not allow the opponent to dominate, but they themselves were no longer so aggressive. Surprisingly, even in possession of the ball and number of passes, Real Madrid was inferior to the rival in the level of statistical error. Although, in general, in these types of games little care is taken with this.

However, the hosts managed to recover even before the break. He helped the assault attack at the end, during which all the rebounds and rebounds went in favor of the culés. In the end, the ball bounced off Roberto, who finished off the corner kick, but Courtois couldn’t help, because he didn’t have time to get up after the previous shot.

It’s worth noting that for both star centre-forwards Robert Lewandowski and Karim Benzema, this was far from the best game. Both almost did not receive the ball in the penalty area and, consequently, very rarely entered a shock position. The only difference is that the Frenchman regularly bounced in front of the penalty area and tried to tie something there, but then he did not always have time to return to the position. The Polish has just been lost among the defenders of the creamy. As a result, Vinicius and Rafinha looked much sharper than their peers.


The second half was uneven for both teams. Barca combined impressively at times, even in the other half of the pitch, not shying away from midfield passes and thin diagonals, but regularly missing counterattacks led by Vinicius. The 37-year-old Luka Modric did a lot of work, this time called upon to help his teammates more in creation and therefore regularly appeared in front of someone else’s penalty area.

Ancelotti was the first to tire of looking indifferently at what was happening. At the end of an hour of play he released Ferland Mendy and Rodrigo (unusually, instead of Toni Kroos), and 15 minutes from time, Aurélien Tchouameni, Dani Ceballos and Marco Asensio. The latter almost managed to become the hero of the meeting. Shortly after the launch, he put his foot under Dani Carvajal’s sighted pass and sent the ball to a corner, but on the first play it was noted that he went up with his shoulder offside. He is embarrassing, but fair.

While Ancelotti completely refreshed the line-up, Xavi made point substitutions, only in the end he released Kessier (replacing Roberto, who had scored for a reason) and Ferran Torres (in place of Culés’ best player Rafinha). The end, as they say, was three results. Luck could fall to anyone, and Real Madrid even had a territorial and moral advantage. But even so, El Clásico ended with victory for the hosts. Already in stoppage time, Kessier ran into someone else’s penalty area and closed Alejandro Balde’s spotted pass.

“Barcelona” can be congratulated on the championship. Their lead over Real Madrid is now 12 points. On April 5, we are waiting for the next series of El Clásico, in response to the Spanish Cup.

The league. round 26

Barcelona – Real Madrid – 2:1 (1:1)

Goals: Araujo, 9 – own goal – 0:1. Robert, 45 – 1:1. Kessie, 90+2 – 2:1.

Barcelona: Ter Stegen, Araujo, Kunde, Christensen, Balde, Busquets, Roberto (Kessier 77), F. de Jong, Rafinha (Ferran Torres 84), Gavi, Lewandowski.

Real Madrid: Courtois, Carvajal, Militao, Rudiger, Nacho (F. Mendy 62), Camavinga (Tchuameni 76), Modric (Ceballos 76), Kroos (Rodrigo 62), Valverde (Asensio 76), Vinicius, Benzema.

Warnings: Nacho, 17. Rafinha, 33. Roberto, 65. Modric, 69. Bucket, 90. Fati, 90+7. Ceballos, 90+7.

Referee: Bengoechea.

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