02 March 2013
The two consecutive Clasicos could not have gone better for Real Madrid. Two wins, one in the Camp Nou and another at the Santiago Bernabeu, and the unshakable feeling that the Whites can win at any ground and against any opponent. The home team soon went ahead. Benzema finished a play in the 6th minute that was started by Ramos who had stolen the ball from Messi before passing to Morata with a threaded pass. Barcelona responded and twelve minutes later Messi scored past Diego Lopez. Cristiano Ronaldo and Khedira coming on in the 57th minute gave the Whites more impetus and they went ahead from a corner that was headed home by Ramos in the 81st minute. Another set piece, in the same minute that Varane scored in the first leg of the cup semi-final in the Bernabeu, took the Catalans by surprise. That was the decisive blow and they could have even got the third from a Ronaldo free-kick which hit the crossbar in the 87th minute. Another confidence boost ahead of Tuesday's match against Manchester United.
Real Madrid played their first match in front of their home crowd since becoming Copa del Rey finalists. They did it in another Clasico, the second in a row, and with the extra motivation from Tuesday’s result. It was clear in the opening minutes of play, in which they pushed their opponent to exhaustion and also went ahead on the scoreboard. There were five touches that were as fast as they were accurate. Ramos intercepted a ball for Messi and passed to Morata on the left wing. The academy player came up against Alves, lifted his head and put in a threaded cross to Benzema who put the ball into the back of the net in the 6th minute. It could not have been a better start to the match. The Whites had the advantage on the scoreboard and could make even more use of what many people believe is the best counterattack in the world.
Barcelona responded and levelled the match with their first shot on goal. Messi controlled the ball in the area, fronted up to Ramos and surprised Diego Lopez with a well-placed shot in the 18th minute. 1-1 and back to how it started, although there wasn’t much more to come in the first half. Two shots from Kaka and Messi, which barely troubled the goalkeepers in the 28th and 32nd minutes and a header from Morata which ended up in the side-netting from a cross from Modric in the 39th minute. Everything would be decided in the second half after an even first 45 minutes, in which there were two shots on goal per team.
Ramos, from a set piece, sealed the second consecutive win against Barcelona
The script did not change after the players reappeared from the dressing rooms. Barcelona tried to maintain possession of the ball and Real Madrid aimed to use their strong counterattack. After 12 minutes, Mourinho decided to bring on Cristiano Ronaldo and Khedira in place of Benzema and Kaka. With the first ball he touched the Portuguese showed the exceptional form that he is in. He controlled the ball on the wing, went up against Pique one-on-one and could only be stopped with a foul from the centre back. Nobody could get on to the end of the cross from the dead ball in the 59th minute. Far more dangerous was the Portuguese’s next set-piece in the 65th minute. His shot from distance forced Valdes to shows his best.
The minutes passed by and the home side could have tipped the match in their favour following a great combination between Pepe and Morata. The Portuguese international saw his teammate lose his marker and played him in with the outside of his foot. The academy player controlled the ball magnificently before coming up against Valdes in a one-on-one which deserved a better finish in the 76th minute. Five minutes later the home team’s goal came. It came from a corner taken by Modric and finished by Ramos with his head. He got in front of the visitors' defense and put the ball beyond Valdes. Another set piece, in the same minute that Varane scored in the first leg of the cup semi-final in the Bernabeu, took the Catalans by surprise. That was the decisive blow, and they could have even got the third from a Ronaldo free-kick which hit the crossbar in the 87th minute, and another confidence boost ahead of Tuesday's match against Manchester United. Barcelona had a penalty shout for a foul on Adriano in the final moments. The two consecutive Clasicos could not have gone better.