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The two greatest teams in the world of football drew the first Clásico of the 2012-2013 Liga BBVA season 2-2. Real Madrid dominated the first half and could've finished off the game then, but Barcelona roared back in the second half of the match. The gap between both teams is still eight points, leaving unfinished business for Madrid in la Liga.
The final score was quite fair. Benzema and Ramos missed two clear scoring chances during the first half, but for Mourinho's team it was all Cristiano Ronaldo. He shot two times and scored on both of them. It's true that Barcelona's goals came off a Pepe mistake and a good free-kick by Messi, so los blancos might be a little disappointed since they missed the chance of beating a defensive line with Montoya (Alves left the game injured), Adriano, Mascherano and Jordi Alba.
The referee could've sent off Xabi Alonso and Busquets, and he missed a penalty in each box, one to Iniesta and another one to Özil. The German player worked really well to contain Barcelona's midfield, and he also assisted Cristiano Ronaldo on Real Madrid's second goal.
Real Madrid had three or four players that couldn't get it right, though: Alonso's game with the ball was simply grotesque; Arbeloa and Marcelo couldn't make an impact defensively, and Barcelona attacked through the wings constantly.
Even though Di María wasn't technically successful, he also helped Real Madrid's midfield a lot. Benzema's case is similar, but the French striker hit the post when he only had to push the ball to the back of the net when Real Madrid was leading 0-1.
Just after that, Messi was able to score after Pepe didn't clear the danger properly. It was Pepe's only mistake of the night, but it was a big one. He was certainly brilliant for the rest of the match, demonstrating that he's arguably the world's greatest centerback.
Cristiano Ronaldo injured his shoulder after he tried to strike acrobatically. He finished the game with pain and he even managed to tie the game up after Messi scored Barcelona's second goal off a brilliant free-kick that seemed to be Real Madrid's death knell.
The Portuguese star has scored in the last six Clásicos, something that should be noted as we dissect the game: still, people keeps saying he doesn't make an impact in the games that matter. He's an historic player that should get the Ballon D'Or if he keeps playing this way over the next couple of months.
Higuaín, Kaká and Essien replaced Benzema, Özil and Di María late in the second half. Higuaín tested Víctor Valdés, but Barcelona's goalkeeper saved it. Other than that, the Argentinian striker wasn't useful for his team. Kaká worked well defensively, and he even stole the ball from Pedro when the Spanish winger had a chance to shoot from a dangerous position. Unfortunately, Barcelona dominated when the Brazilian playmaker joined the match, so it's hard to qualify his performance. Essien joined the game in injury time.
After Messi's goal, Barcelona could've won the game. Montoya hit the crossbar in the last five minutes of the match, leaving La Liga alive. As always, both teams are allowed to be disappointed, but Barcelona is probably happier with the draw. But still, there are 31 games to finish the Liga, and eight points is not that big of a gap with 93 points to be played.
Now, another FIFA break will give Real Madrid some rest. It would be good to see Cristiano Ronaldo recovering from his shoulder injury, but given his commitment with Portugal's National Team, he will probably be on Paulo Bento's squad.
One way or another, Real Madrid is back on track. The team is playing well once again, and the players will get a well-deserve rest from Real Madrid's exigent atmosphere.
Who was Real Madrid's man of the match?
Cristiano Ronaldo (326 votes)
Khedira (17 votes)
Other (23 votes)
366 total votes