Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring and disappeared, Lionel Messi settled for one assist but nothing new as to the winner of yet another fiery Clasico, with Barcelona coming back again to beat Real Madrid at the Bernabeu with goals by Carles Puyol and Eric Abidal.
Pepe tried hurting everything in his way, Sergio Busquets was the usual villain in Barca uniform, but once again no doubt was left as to who plays for the better team. Real Madrid lead the La Liga, but Barcelona are the superior team, proven once again.
Ricardo Carvalho, Conterao and Pepe should have finished the game being sent off for trying to batter Lionel Messi and got away with yellow cards and warnings. Didn’t help their team much. The moment Cristiano Ronaldo scored a typical CR9 goal, breaking from the left, pulling to the middle, pulling left and than shooting with his left foot, Real just disappeared. It’s not about this or that kind of game plan. Both teams bring their A games when facing each other; Barca and Guardiola have a better A game, as we see every time.
Barcelona pressed on, Real Madrid allowed them that. It was surprising to see how Barca couldn’t get the equalizer in the first half already. They were that much better than their biggest rivals, as Real just couldn’t find a way to build any kind of attack. Stuck in their own half, waiting for some turnover by Xavi, Iniesta or Messi. The three weren’t perfect, but Real players just cleared ball instead of actually trying to build something.
The second half was more of the same, with Real’s offside traps barely working, but eventually, a 49th minute header from Carles Puyol from a Xavi cross gave them the deserved equalizer. It seemed that Real players were growing more and more frustrated. Cristiano Ronaldo hardly got any touches, like Karim Benzema. Ronaldo swapped wings as Callejon and Mesut Ozil made their entrance, which hardly made a difference in the match. One way traffic, with Iker Casillas being the busier keeper.
The Barcelona siege was unstoppable, and finally bore fruit in the 77th minute. Too many Real Madrid players concentrated on stopping Lionel Messi, who brilliantly found Eric Abidal beating the offside trap, and scoring the winner. The rest of the match was simply more fouls that was inches from getting out of hand if a less experienced referee would have been at hand. Things remained relatively civil when the final whistle was blown.
Frustration? Probably on both sides, but mostly for Real and Jose Mourinho, who saw his players and his tactics prove insufficient once again. It’s only the King’s cup, and the league title/champions league matter much more, but every loss to Barcelona stings, burns, and brings on load of unwanted negative attention.
Barcelona? I guess they’re wishing they could play Real Madrid each week from the looks of thinks. Messi, who really was beaten up in the match was not exactly a happy camper when it was all said and done. Real Madrid finishing with 11 men was a miracle, only leaving to wonder if these are actually some direction from Mourinho to pick on the best player in the world or just instinctive frustration being vented the wrong way.
Pepe? A disgrace, for his diving and more for just being a violent player on the pitch. He also was the player that missed Puyol with bad marking in the Barcelona equalizer.
Cristiano Ronaldo – Scored a meaningless goal with everything said and done, and nothing else. Another weak performance from a player who never seems to get his way when facing the best side in the world.