The most awaited game of the season ended on a dramatic note as Sergio Ramos was again Madrid’s saviour with a late equaliser. A controversial goal by Luis Suarez put Barcelona in front and the introduction of Iniesta in the second half totally turned the game around. But Real Madrid’s Mr. Dependable once again stepped up and saved the side to keep the 6 point lead over their arch rivals intact. Ramos spoiled the party later on for the Barcelona fans, as Real Madrid retained their 6 points advantage at the top of the league table.
1. Liga needs better referees and linesmen
It was yet another game and yet another controversy. The La Liga referees and linesmen have been making too many mistakes in the recent past that there is a much needed urge for a change. The referee denied clean penalties early on in the game to Real Madrid. Replays clearly showed that Luis Suarez was offside when the ball was played in and he scored eventually from that. It is not just this game. There have been many such cases. Atleast an appeal against the decision should be allowed and the decision should be reviewed.
In the Madrid derby a clear Cristiano Ronaldo goal was denied early on in the game when the ball clearly appeared to have crossed the line when the score was 0-0. Alvaro Morata scored a goal from an offside position in the second league game of his club which earned them a victory. The referee and linesmen need to pull up their socks and perform their jobs with full concentration as these minor decisions can make a lot of difference to the outcome of the league.
2. Iniesta The Game Changer
Introduction of Andres Iniesta in the second half of the game totally changed its course. Madrid were dominating in the first half and were looking in control of the proceedings, winning the midfield battle, until the Catalan maestro came on for Ivan Rakitic and totally turned the game in Barcelona’s favour. His fake pass and then a lovely through ball to Messi to tear the whole defense apart was amazing, although Messi wasn’t able to finish the golden opportunity. Barcelona created 4 really good opportunities within 12 minutes but squandered all of them. Iniesta was at the heart of every move.
Though the Spanish midfielder wasn’t able to win the game for his side, he did make Real Madrid sweat real bad in the second half, giving the Blancos fan a near heart attack with every one of his moves. Iniesta didn’t look a bit rusty after coming back from an injury after a month or so, and coordinated really well with his teammates. He made us all realize what Barcelona was actually missing in their past few games.
3. Gareth Bale was sorely Missed
Gareth Bale’s pace and athleticism was sorely missed by Real Madrid while going forward. The Welshman is out for 3 months atleast and Real will have to cope up without him for the majority of the remaining season. Because of Ronaldo drifting in to the striker’s position, Benzema had to play as a winger at times which clearly slowed down the attacks. Benzema’s decision making was really poor as well. Lucas Vazquez did an amazing job on the wing replacing the Welshman, but didn’t offer as much in attack as Bale would have offered. The way Real Madrid were dominating the first half, if Bale had been playing, the half time score could have easily been 2-0 or 3-0. That impact player was sorely missed going forward and Madrid will have to learn to live without the services of the Welsh wizard.
4. Leo Messi Vs Ronaldo failed to take off
It was a battle of the two best players in the world but failed to live upto the expectation. Ronaldo had a few decent chances but ended up hitting straight at Stegen or not finding enough contact to force it past the German goalie. Ronaldo was given a golden opportunity late in the game to equalize when a cross from Marcelo met him at near post but the Portuguese wasn’t able to make enough contact with his head to push the ball into the back of the net from a point blank range. Messi had to drop in deep to get the ball and was kept quiet for majority of the game.
One good chance came his way when Iniesta put Messi through with only Navas to beat, but the Argentine could only put the shot wide with his favored left foot. Argentine’s goalless run in the El Clasico goes on as he failed to score yet again today. Both the talisman for their teams failed to inspire their sides to victory and were not even the best players on the pitch for their side. Messi was kept in check all the time by Luka Modric while Cristiano had a few half chances and did well in the defense as well.
5. Ramos The Saviour
Sergio Ramos did it yet again for Real Madrid. It has become a habit for the Madrid captain to bail his team out time and again. The centre back has become Real Madrid’s emergency striker. The Sevilla born defender yet again came out as he scored a late header from a Luka Modric freekick, much like a repeat of the UCL final in 2014 against Atletico Madrid. Real Madrid have clearly shown nerves of steel and the mentality of never giving up since then.
People may call it luck but when such things happen again and again, first against Sporting Lisbon this season, then against Sevilla in the Super Cup and now the El Clasico, it clearly shows the team is determined not to give up despite everything. Different players have done it at times for Madrid but Sergio Ramos has done it more often than any other player. The guy is a true leader and certainly a deserving captain of the side. Thanks to the man, Madrid are still 6 points above Barcelona and are 33 games unbeaten.