Wasn’t it nice to have a Saturday evening dedicated to Spain and El Clasico?
The Premier League and the Bundesliga took the evening off, Italy teased us with Udinese against Torino, and France stuck Montpellier and Marseille on centre court.
Nah, you’re alright thanks. There was only one feast for the eyes on Saturday, and that was Real Madrid hosting Barcelona in El Clasico. The biggy.
With the two sides separated by two points prior to kick-off, and both hoping to leapfrog Atletico Madrid to go top of La Liga, there was so much at stake for the Kings of Spain.
If we were worried that the game wouldn’t live up to expectations, those concerns were put to bed on 13 minutes. Karim Benzema kicked off the scoring for the hosts, producing a naughty little back-heel to flick the ball beyond Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
We were all impressed…
15 minutes later, and Madrid were 2-0 up, thanks to a Toni Kroos free-kick. You guys love the swanky midfielder.
Arguably, the star of the show from the first half was Vinicius Junior, as Barcelona simply couldn’t live with his blistering pace and endless trickery. After his brilliant display against Liverpool in midweek, it finally seems that the real Vinicius has stood up.
He could probably still work on his finishing, though…
Safe to say, Barça supporters weren’t happy about that first half of football.
Saying all that, we did almost witness one of the most mental moments in El Clasico history, as Lionel Messi rattled the woodwork directly from a corner.
There was still life in this classic encounter. Barcelona rallied, Ronald Koeman’s substitutions paid off and the visitors found a way back into the game through Oscar Mingueza.
The game heated up so much in the pouring rain, that Messi decided to invest in a change of shirt for the final 10 minutes. He must have been pretty cold, in fairness. Bless his little cotton socks.
Desperate for a goal, Barça showed their desperation and turned to striker Martin Braithwaite to try and find a late equaliser. Incredibly, he actually made an impact and forced Ferland Mendy into a clumsy challenge.
The Barça players roared for a penalty, and the Madrid players roared for a booking for simulation. It was tense, but Los Merengues survived.
This game was missing only one key ingredient: Sergio Ramos.
Luckily, we saw him in the stands, going absolutely bananas and cheering his side on to victory.
It wasn’t finished there, though. Casemiro, realising he hadn’t picked up a yellow card for a change, overcompensated and grabbed two in the space of a minute, earning a costly dismissal as the two sides headed into injury time.
La Masia product Ilaix Moriba almost became the hero of Catalonia with the last kick of the game, smashing the crossbar with a thunderous volley.
But Madrid held on to climb a famous El Clasico victory, climb top of La Liga and put themselves in pole position to defend the Spanish crown. Thank you, for one of the best matches of the season!