Barcelona 0 – 1 Real Madrid
Today is a day to rejoice and hail the great team Real Madrid that Bernd Schuster has put up this season and what an absolutely wonderful game of football it was, one could see all the hard work tactically both sides had done and in the end i can say that the Master has taught the Apprentice a lesson. It was the battle of two of the most decorated clubs in the world with the best players and with lots of titles, two clubs with history so rich not a single derby can be compared to a El Clasico derby.
So all it began in the Camp Nou the home of Barcelona, it was a very cagey opening with both sides showing nerves as if they all were playing in their first ever match in 7nth grade for school. Very little touch football was seen in the first 15 to 20 minutes for which Real Madrid and Barcelona are so famous for. Both sides were just blasting the ball into orbit whenever a dangerous situation was created. Barcelona had couple of very interesting chances with iniesta building up the attack from the wing and throwing a menacing ball into the 6 yard box to ronaldinho to curve it in the goal but to no avail as Casillas who is for me the best keeper in the world when it comes to making saves and you have to admit, the major part of keeping is making saves. Both Cech and Buffon are good in the air and in organizing their defenses but not as good as Casillas in making pressure situation saves, big match saves.
Real Madrid had Barcelona all worked out, a chance came on the counter attack and what a goal it was in the 36th minute by Julio Baptista who was the steel in the midfield for Real Madrid making powerful runs throughout the game in the midfield. Baptista got the ball about 30 yards outside of Barcelona’s goal and exchanged a series of passes all in the air with Van Nistelrooy to finish the move in the best possible manner i.e with a goal, Victor Valdes was left stranded by a clincal finish from Baptista from the outside of his right foot whilst avoiding the on coming tackle from Marquez, who tried desperately to stop Baptista but to no avail.
Baptista finishing a fantastic move leading to the only goal of the game
Baptista was in fantastic shape as he continued to be the scourge of Barcelona time and time again in the first half with none succeeding in overcoming the beast’s unparalleled strength and pace. Going into half time Real Madrid was leading by a single goal which proved to be sufficient at the final whistle. Pepe and Diarra as i predicted in my earlier posts were the mainstay of Real Madrid defense. Diarra was consistently knocking Barcelona’s midfield to pieces with his superb tackling though i have to admit, I was not fascinated by his distribution of the ball tonight but he more than made up for it in the defensive position. Sergio Ramos had Ronaldinho in his pocket all night, with Ronaldinho wasting several opportunities toattackReal Madrid, most of the times being selfish and not using his full backs like Abidal who was as his usual very solid and very composed at the back.
Deco trying helplessly to stop the Beast that is Baptista
In the second half again the effect of having Baptista in the midfield was seen as he broke again with his ferocious pace and poor Gabi Milito had no choice of just cynically bring him down with a bad tackle earning a yellow card with sneijder going close to scoring from the resulting free kick. Pepe controlled the whole game at the back with his composure, playing balls from the back to the front men, making heavy but very precise tackles, handling air balls it was just the best performance of his young career which certainly earns him the Man Of The Match award for his brilliant defending and for showing to us why Real Madrid paid 30 million Euro’s for him. Tackles were now flying everywhere now with temperature’s going to boiling points. Puyol got a nasty kick from none other than Raul and had to be substituted late in the second half for Zambrotta and Sergio Ramos was also feeling the pain for the tackle Ronaldinho made on him in the first half was also substituted. In the end Real Madrid had several easy chances to go further up pin taking but failed to capitalize of Barcelona’s mistakes whereas Barcelona’s were rarely seen getting close or causing trouble to Iker Casillas at the other end of the pitchwhowasat