15 August 2011
Fernando Porrero / Translation by Michael J. O'Donnell
Real Madrid did everything in their power to defeat Barcelona, but it wasn't to be. Tonight's match proved football is sometimes unfair. Barça scored from the only two chances they had on Casillas' goal. The Whites fought to the end supported by their fans.
Real Madrid's pressure close to Valdes' goal surprised Barcelona, who seemed to marvel at the physical prowess of Mourinho's men. Guardiola's players didn't feel comfortable on the pitch and the crowd roared in support of every local venture in attack. The Whites scored their first goal on the 12-minute mark through Ozil, who was assisted brilliantly by Benzema on the box line after dribbling past Abidal. The locals continued to search for more strikes and the Frenchman had a good chance in the 28th minute that was cleared by the keeper.
But just when everyone expected Real to score again, Villa pulled rank and defeated Casillas with a great shot from outside the box (35'). The strike was a harsh blow to Mourinho's side, but nevertheless, Cristiano Ronaldo kept trying for a winner and came close to netting it with a shot that marginally missed the target. Football was yet to be cruel once more with the Madridistas and Messi, having capitalised on Pepe slipping inside the box, found himself alone with Casillas and defeated him on the 45-minute mark.
Real Madrid continued their onslaught on Valdes' goal after half-time, spearheaded by the injustice of fate. Mourinho made Fabio Coentrao come on for Di Maria (53') and the equaliser soon followed: Ozil served a corner kick, the ball was deflected and landed at Pepe's feet, the defender controlled it and passed it back to Xabi Alonso, who scored from a great crossed shot.
Callejon came on for Khedira minutes later (57') and the team continued having plenty chances to score. A free-kick by Ronaldo missed the mark in the 63rd minute, a header by Benzema was saved by Valdes on the 66-minute mark, and possession clearly belonged to Real Madrid. But no more goals were scored and the clock was ticking. Higuain came on for Benzema in the 80th minute and two minutes later followed the most controversial play of the game: Valdes tripped Cristiano Ronaldo inside the box with his right arm and the referee failed to award a penalty. Barcelona also demanded a penalty after Pedro was tackled inside the box close to the end of the match but none was awarded either. The final minutes of the game saw Real Madrid put on a siege on Valdes' goal and Barcelona defending themselves any way they could.
In the end, a superior Real Madrid side only managed to draw the match and will have to fight to win the title at Camp Nou on Wednesday.
|Xabi Alonso||Goal 55'|
|Fábio Coentrão 55'|