Tuesday, November 30, 2010

El Massacre at Camp Nou

Barcelona routed Real Madrid 5–0 in El Clasico at the Camp Nou in Barcelona on Monday in the most highly anticipated match of the European football season to date.

Both teams are arguably the two best in Europe at the moment and were in great form coming into the encounter. Both sides have easily qualified for the Champions League knockout stages.

Domestically in their most recent matches, Barcelona annihilated Almeria 8–0 and Real Madrid comprehensively defeated Athletic Bilbao 5–1 so the scene was set for a classic in the El Clasico.

But it was all Barcelona, who produced an incredible display of inspiring football throughout the match and simply blew away the visitors from Madrid.

It only took 10 minutes for Barcelona to get on the board with Xavi Hernandez scoring from an Andres Iniesta through ball. After some Real Madrid pressure, Barcelona made it 2–0 in the 17th minute with David Villa placing the ball in the six-yard box. Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas should have dealt with it but didn’t, and Pedro had an easy finish. The first half settled down and Real Madrid did produce some chances, most notably a Cristiano Ronaldo free kick just going wide of the post.

The second half commenced with Real Madrid's manager Jose Mourinho substituting Mesut Ozil, who failed to make any impact in the first half, with Lassana Diarra. The change provided Real with a extra man in midfield in hopes of stopping Messi whilst trying to creating some chances on the break with the likes of Ronaldo and Angel Di Maria waiting up front. The change had no effect. Barcelona continued where they left off with beautiful ball possession, playing their very entertaining brand of fluent football—a marvel to watch.

Shortly before the hour mark, Barcelona made it 3–0 with a beautifully placed pass by Messi, in-between Real's defenders Pepe and Ricardo Carvalho. Stiker David Villa beat the offside trap and slammed the ball in the net in textbook fashion. Minutes later Messi and Villa linked up again with the latter outpacing the defense before he calmly slipping the ball through Casillas's legs to make it 4–0.

To add insult to injury, Barcelona made it 5–0 in injury time with substitution Jeffren Suarez chipping the ball into the net. To add to the humiliation, Sergio Ramos received his marching orders after a vicious tackle on Messi and shoving his Spain teammate Carles Puyol. The frustration for Real Madrid had been mounting and the game produced no less than 12 yellow cards and one red card.

Mourinho was quoted on after the match as saying, “Humiliated? No. It's easy to deal with this loss, we just weren't good enough. One team played very good and one team very bad.” The last time Mourinho met Barcelona at the Camp Nou was in last year’s Champions League as coach of Inter Milan. He successfully defeated the Catalans 1–0 by virtually suffocating Barcelona defensively.

Barcelona now moves into La Liga's top spot with 34 points ahead of Real Madrid who remain in second place on 32 points. Trailing a further five points back of Real is Villarreal on 27 points. La Liga's Round 14 clashes will see Real Madrid back at home at the Bernabeu Stadium to pick up the pieces as they face Valencia whilst Barcelona travels to Osasuna.

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