Real Madrid came from behind to beat FC Barcelona 3-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu in the season’s first El Clasico. A match that had a list of players making their Clasico debuts was far from an edge of the seat encounter, as Real Madrid brushed aside Barcelona despite going a goal down in the very early minutes of the game.
Headlines were made right from the moment the starting XI was named, as Luis Enrique gave Luis Suarez his debut for Barcelona. And the game had a blistering start with both teams looking to take on their opponent defense right from the first whistle. But Barcelona surprisingly took the lead in the 4th minute when Suarez and Neymar combined together to cause chaos in the Madrid defense and Neymar impressively tucked in the game’s opener. Carlo Ancelotti was a frustrated figure when he saw the ease with which Neymar made the space for himself to give Barcelona the lead. But Barcelona failed to keep a hold of things as Real Madrid came forward with more vigor. Karim Benzema came close on a couple of occasions and even hit the woodwork twice in the space of two seconds. But Real had their big chance after the half hour mark. Marcelo whipped in a low cross from the left which was delibrately handled by Gerard Pique and the referee had no option but to award the penalty for Real Madrid. Pique also earned a yellow card for the incident as Cristiano Ronaldo stepped up and converted the penalty in impressive fashion.
The first half was quite closely contested as both teams showed impressive forwards and also had a fairly solid defense. The two teams went into the halftime break level on goals and performance. But Real Madrid came out for the second half with much more hunger as Benzema and Rodiguez piled the pressure on the Barca defense. Meanwhile, Suarez was slowly settling into the team and was sterting to make the runs that we saw him do superbly for Liverpool last season.
But Real then took the lead through a set piece as Pepe climbed up high to head his team into the lead and the Bernabeu virtually erupted as the home side have now turned things around.
Once they had the lead, Ancelotti shaped his team to use their pace to their advantage as Real started to stay a bit deeper and looked to hit Barca on the counter. In an effort to comeback into the game, Luis Enrique introduced Ivan Rakitic to have his first taste of the Clasico. But Rakitic had one of the worst ever Clasico introduction as his first touch was a poor corner kick which gave Real a chance to catch Barca on the counter again. Isco, who had a start courtesy an injury to Bale showed impressive determination to win the ball and start the counter which was finished off neatly by Karim Benzema to give Real a 2 goal advantage.
With half an hour still left to play, Barcelona had enough time to bounce. But Carlo Ancelotti’s men showed good character not to put themselves under pressure and could have extended the lead further as their ploy to hit on the counter with pace was paying off.
And so, the season’s first El Clasico was deservingly won by Real Madrid. Barcelona would be disappointed having taken the lead and them allowing Real to dominate them from there on in. As far as El Clasico debuts were concerned, James Rodrigues and Toni Kroos had a neat debut for Real in the Clasico. On the other side, Luis Suarez was not as dominating as we have seen him, but had a decent debut for the Catalants. Real Madrid has moved closer to Brcelona and are now just a point behind their rivals in the table. Carlo Ancelotti would look to build on this performance and take his team to the top of the table in the coming weeks.