The Clasico. Refs play a part; Ramos breaks opposition hearts, again

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Let’s get right into it; just about the biggest sporting event on planet earth, the first Clasico of the season between Barcelona and Real Madrid has just ended today with a 1-1 tie.  We had Luis Suarez scoring an early second half header off of a set piece for Barca, and Sergio Ramos being the clutch man he is, scoring a header as well in the 90th minute to tie it up.  The draw leaves Real Madrid six points clear of Barca to keep hold of first place in the league.

 

The risk of Barca going nine points behind was incentive for the refs to play a big part today and it showed with two clear penalty shouts not given to Madrid. If even one of those penalties were scored by Madrid, Barca would be forced into panic mode and on their back foot, chasing the game, opening it up for Los Blancos to attack more freely.

 

Straight away within the first minutes of the game, a clear penalty was not given for Madrid when Mascherano completely missed the ball and swept Lucas Vasquez’ legs from under him while in the box.  Soon after, Mascherano, again caused a penalty, that wasn’t called when he was seen pulling Ronaldo’s shirt down, impeding him from his jump to complete a header for a scoring chance.  After both of those missed calls, the referee gave Madrid a chance back when the ball was seen hitting Carvahal’s hand in the box with no penalty given.  By this time, the damage was already done as Real Madrid should have been up 1, or 2 to nil.

Modric and Busquets had their best games of the season, while Isco and Kovacic were impressive at times as well in the midfield.  Cristiano also played well in the first half, with a great, powerful shot, delivered accurately towards the near post that ter Stegen did well to stop.  Ronaldo as well, shortly after he made a great run, nutmegging Mascherano in the box creating a chance for himself, but Jordi Alba got there right in time to frustrate his shot.

 

Benzema had a poor game, and Morata was missed greatly, who could have been that super sub he always is.  Zidane eventually brought Mariano on, who probably should have been brought on earlier. However, Iniesta’s inclusion into the game for Barca immediately put the pressure on Real, showing his class immediately, creating chances for his forwards to score.  Neymar and Messi had great chances to put the game away in the second half, both missing, leaving Madrid a chance to make them pay.

 

Ramos saving the day again for Madrid seems like it is by luck, but it has happened time after time, again and again.  It is due to Ramos’ fearlessness and great instincts to get on these balls inside the box, as well as him always becoming that extra attacker for Madrid late in games that they are chasing a result for.  It must also be mentioned that he is absolutely world class in the air.

 

On another note, it is important to state the facts of late, that the magician we call Leo Messi, wasn’t so magical once again in a Clasico.  He is enduring his worst ever form in these fixtures as he has gone six straight without a goal.  This is a far cry from Ronaldo’s Clasico form as he just scored a late winner in the last match between the two superpowers in Spain.

 

Real Madrid will be happy with this draw at the Camp Nou though, considering they were missing Kroos, Bale, and Morata.  Barca were only without Iniesta up until the second half.  The rest of the season should be very interesting, especially with the next Clasico to be played at the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid.

 

Author: Zac Costa

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