There will be a sense of disappointment amongst the Real Madrid supporters after the latest match against Barcelona. Madrid have given Barcelona a way back in the La Liga title race after their 3-2 loss at the Bernabeu last week. The Catalan side were looking out of sorts before the match. Juventus kicked Luis Enrique’s side out of the Champions League last week. Neymar’s suspension from the Clasico was a huge blow for Barcelona. But Messi was on top form and scored a 92nd minute winner, dealing a huge blow to Madrid’s Liga ambitions.
Madrid dominated most of the first half and took the lead through Casemiro as Barcelona failed to deal with a corner. Barcelona responded when Messi scored with the team’s first shot on target. Madrid started the second half with a greater intensity and came close to scoring on several occasions. But luck was not on their side, as Ivan Rakitic gave their opponents the lead with a sensational strike from outside the box. The match turned on its head from thereon. Sergio Ramos’ red card just four minutes later all but ended Madrid’s hopes of a comeback.
But Zidane’s introduction of the Colombian player James Rodriguez paid off as he struck the equaliser in what looked to be a league saving goal for Real Madrid. But it was Messi’s night, as he struck home a last second winner.
With that goal, Messi has given Barcelona a real chance to retain their league title. Both the teams are on 75 points, with Barcelona ahead on the head to head rule. Madrid have the advantage as they have played a game less than their eternal rivals. But that game is against Celta Vigo, away from home. Celta are the only team apart from Barcelona to have beaten Madrid at the Bernabeu this season.
Barcelona’s remaining fixtures include two tough trips to Las Palmas and Espanyol. The rest of the three fixtures are at home. They host Osasuna, who are almost certainly relegated. Then they host Villareal who are possibly the toughest of the lot. The yellow submarine have the second best defence in the league, having conceded just two goals more than Atletico Madrid, which is some feat. Finally they host eighth placed Eibar which might not post that big a threat to Barcelona’s league ambitions.
On the other hand, Real Madrid have six games to go until the end of the season. Their away fixtures include tough trips to Deportivo, Malaga and Celta Vigo. All the three teams have beaten Barcelona on the Catalan club’s visit, which gives a clear indication of how tough it’s going to be for Real Madrid. Then they host Valencia and Sevilla. Both the teams have already beaten Madrid this season at their respective homes. The only relatively easy fixture is their trip to Granada.
Madrid have a slight advantage over Barcelona as they have a game in hand. But when you look at the remaining fixtures for both the teams, Barcelona have relatively easier matches to play. All in all, it is going to be an enthralling end to this season’s La Liga title.