Football fans witnessed an entertaining evening on the 1st of March as it has always been in the match of such magnitude.
They started presenting their predictions on social media as they got fired up for the second annual Real Madrid v Barcelona.
El classico is a showdown between two world class brands that goes live in 180 countries. Around 80,000 people are gathered to witness this historic rivalry that transcends football and ignites the 120 year old connection with Spanish monarchy and Catalan autonomy.
Therefore, the additional pressure and excitement is understandable during Real Madrid v Barcelona.
The title race between Real Madrid v Barcelona
There has been a total of 180 el classico games including the Sunday spectacle. Both teams have been excellent, that is why there win/loss/draw record is almost similar. Real has won 73 and Barcelona has won 72 el classic games with 35 draws.
After defeating their main rivals on Sunday, Madrid is now enjoying a top spot at the La Liga table with just one point ahead of Barcelona. The Catalans are in trouble because they knew how crucial it was to defend this one point.
Barcelona could have secured a 4 point advantage over Madrid if they won this match. Currently, Madrid is moving ahead in the title race to the end of the season. The next Real Madrid v Barcelona will be during 2020/2021 season.
The history was made once again
The first half went scoreless giving rise to frustration. Barca was frequently able to attack but missed several chances in the first-half of the game.
In the second-half, Madrid was not in the mood to give away more chances. Brazilian teenager, Vinicius Jr. scored the opener at 71st minute with a strike that deflected off Gerard Pique.
The goal itself was not sensational but it did the job. Vinnie celebrated in the style of former Madridista Cristiano Ronaldo, who came all the way from Italy to experience el classico.
Barca did not have any answer to whatever Madrid threw their way in the second-half. The match and the title race was completely reversed when an unlikely substitute Mariano Diaz sealed a 2-0 victory in injury time and made history.
Zidane went with 4-1-4-1 formation which saw Karim Benzema upfront, Toni Kross replacing Luka Modric in the middle, and the risk of choosing Marcelo over Ferland Mendy at the left-back. Zidane’s steady faith in Marcelo paid off as the Brazilian became a key component in keeping the monster, Messi at bay.
Casemiro was between the lines as always which led Barca’s De Jong to often push inside the lines as well. This forced Casemiro to cover De Jong while leaving Messi to handle Ramos and Marcelo on his own. A brilliant strategy by Zidane, a man who single handedly solved Brazil during their peak years.
Setién on the other hand, chose 4-4-2 for Barca instead of the usual 4-3-3 which generated discontent among fans. Many went ahead and accused current Barcelona coach of incompetency.
Nonetheless, Barcelona was able to create brilliant chances of goal via Arthur Melo and Lionel Messi which were very well saved by Thibaut Courtois, who achieved a milestone by keeping a clean sheet during el classico.
Where was Messi?
Whenever we talk about el classico, we are excited or afraid of the tricks Messi is going to pull. However, Sunday was not a good day for the magician.
Whenever Lionel Messi raced towards the goal, he was easily tracked by Marcelo. It is a rare sight to see Marcelo offering his defensive duties properly while controlling the left flank as well.
Marcelo’s tackle on Messi received a huge pop from the crowd as they knew if Marcelo let Messi go, that would have been the first goal of many.
Due to a sad 2019, fans have continued to criticize and doubt Real Madrid which is unfair according to football pundits. Madrid proved on Sunday that they deserved this victory for sure.
Los Blancos hold the most UEFA Champions League (UCL) titles in the world which is 13 times. Moreover, they have won the UCL title 3 times in a row, a feat not yet achieved by any other team.