A Great Match
Was it a goal fest like last year’s 4-3 match ?
Was it filled with eye-catching dribbles or smart
smooth sequences of passing ?
In fact, the match was quite the physical one. Eleven
yellow cards is the perfect indication.
However, the match had the most important element in
such matches : suspense. The feeling that anything could
happen any time. Something which most people dreamed
off before the match. To but it more clearly, nobody thought
the out-of-form Real Madrid will go toe-to-toe with the stable
destructive Barcelona. This was logic, for whom football was
never really obedient.
MSN vs BBC
It’s clear that the front three of Barcelona had the edge over
their counter-parts in Real. Comparing them one by one will
make it even clearer.
Starting with Suarez and Benzema. Both of the central forwards
had an excellent match. The French assisted Ronaldo’s goal with
a nice back-heel. But took too much time before passing the ball
to the Portuguese on an earlier chance in the 12th minute which
ended with Ronaldo hitting the cross-bar. He also missed a vital
chance in the first 15 minutes of the 2nd half after a one-two with
, again, Ronaldo. He was a consistent threat but he was missing
“the killer instinct”. The ability to make the right run to be in the
right place and have the right touch. Suarez, on the other hand,
didn’t. The Uruguayan didn’t have the best match when it comes
to overall performance. But his goal was an prime example of a
No.9 mastering his position. From the first step of his run to his
inch-accurate shot. Everything was top-notch.
Neymar vs Bale was no-contest. The Brazilian wasn’t at his best
when it comes to finishing or decision taking. But he was always
on the move and a constant threat. Simply put, he was there and
you could feel it. The same can never be said about Bale.
Finishing with football top 2, here is where I think many would dis-
agree with me. To me, Ronaldo had the edge over his Argentine
nemesis. CR7 scored a goal, had two very dangerous efforts and
created a scoring chance for Benzama. The key part is, all of these
happened when the match was still alive and the result was really
on the line. On the other hand, except for the free-kick assist, most
of Messi efforts came after Pepe substitution and Suarez goal i.e.
against a weakened defense and after the match was, apparently,
The Modric Effect
This match was another example of the huge influence the Croatian
has on the team. In the first half, we saw the team who was struggling
to dedicate the match against lesser teams without Luka dominate a
very strong Barcelona side. Modric was everywhere : linking lines, killing
attacks and helping teammates. He was the one behind the pass to
Benzema preceding the French assist. A couple of minutes into the 2nd
half, Modric got tired. It’s only natural for a player with his second match,
as a starter, after months of absence.
From that point on, Real Madrid lost it. Barcelona dominated the rest of the
game. Not saying it’s the only reason, but it’s a big sign to the significance
the Croatian mid-fielder has in the team.
Bravo killed it, Casillas killed Madrid
Another vital detail in this match was the goal-keepers’ performance.
On one side, you get Claudio Bravo on his game saving Blaugrana
in multiple occasions. Starting with Ronaldo’s rocket in the first
half and ending with Benzema’s deflected shot. Did any of these hard
-to-save shots hit the back of the net, the route of the match would’ve
drastically changed. On the other hand, you get Iker Casillas with
another big mistake in another big match. His positioning in Suarez’
goal was just bad. The Uruguayan shouldn’t be able to score in
that situation. As simple as that. With this mistake, Iker handed
the match to the bitter rivals.
Knight of The Night
The decision is hard and so should it be. Marcelo had his 100th
excellent match in a row, Modric dominated the midfield for nearly
an a hour and Pique continued his 2015 amazing form as an all-
rounded defender. But the two ‘finalist’ for me are Bravo and
Suarez. One man prevented the match of going Real Madrid
way, the other made it go Barcelona way from the first half-
chance he had. I can pick one decisively to be honest. but it’s
worth noting that : For once, neither Ronaldo nor Messi is a
candidate here and, for once, Barca’s main men where those
at the two ends of the pitch rather than those at its middle.