Neymar shines as Barca down Real Madrid in El Clasico showdown
The most important fixture of La Liga took place this weekend as FCBarcelona hosted Real Madrid at the Camp Nou. The Catalan giants had not beaten the Madrid side in the past four matches and were under pressure to perform well and take all three points inside their own stadium.
FCBarcelona started the first half brilliantly controlling possession for long periods and creating attacking opportunities as Real Madrid had to chase the ball for most of the first half, barely creating any attacking opportunities apart from Sami Khedira’s effort in the closing minutes of the first half after Ronaldo set him up with a cross to which Valdes was on hand to make an excellent stop.
Neymar, who collected the man of the match award after completing an exceptional first clasico, was a continuous threat for the Madrid side with his trickery and skills. It was no surprise that in the 19th minute he scored the first goal of the game after Iniesta ran at the Madrid defence before laying the ball to the Brazilian who cut inside onto his right foot and placed the ball through the legs of two defenders on its way into the bottom right hand corner.
FCBarcelona came out strongly in the second half determined to double their lead and some resilient defending by the Madrid side was needed to avoid going two goals down as Madrid where finding it hard to create a clear cut opportunity. Right before the hour mark Madrid started to improve though as Ronaldo was denied with the equalizer after an excellent save by Victor Valdes. Benzema, who came on for the ineffective world record signing Bale, almost grabbed the equalizer with a superb shot that hit the top right hand corner of the post and right after that attack Barca scored another one. The Blaugrana broke forward with Neymar providing a through pass to Sanchez, the latter controlled the ball facing two defenders just outside the box, spotted Diego Lopez out of his area and chipped the ball excellently over the goal keeper to put Barca 2-0 up. It truly was an excellent goal as the Chilean keeps on playing excellently this season.
Real Madrid got a goal back through Jese, after he was put through on goal with a Ronaldo pass. Victor Valdes should have done better but it was nothing more than a consolation goal for the visitors as the referee signalled the final whistle with FCBarcelona being the victorious side of the most anticipated clash in Spanish football with a 2-1 victory.
Gareth Bale was a huge disappointment as he could not contribute anything to the encounter whilst Neymar had a man of the match performance outshining the likes of Ronaldo and Messi. Both teams had clear penalty shouts turned down. Mascherano pushed Ronaldo in the back inside the penalty area in the second half and Pepe went in with his studs on the ankle of Fabregas in the first half inside the penalty area.