Carlo Ancelotti decided to start the game with Sergio Ramos as the team's defensive midfielder. Modric and Khedira were escorting him, so Varane and Pepe played in the center of the defense. That meant that Real Madrid threw 55 minutes of the match away. When Illarramendi joined the game and Real Madrid returned to the 4-3-3 formation that succeeded against Juventus and Málaga, Neymar had already scored Barça's first goal after a terrible defending by Carvajal in the first half.
At least, Real Madrid still fought back. Illarramendi and Benzema improved the team a lot. Bale played fairly well, but Di María had a really bad game overall. Karim Benzema had a long-range opportunity that would've been a screamer and Real's equalizer, but the ball hit the crossbar. Undiano Mallenco should have called a penalty kick against Adriano just before that, but we all know how hard is to referee a game at the Camp Nou.
Alexis Sánchez put the 2-0 in the scoreboard in the 78th minute -what a bad defending by Varane that was-, and that buried Real's hopes. When you waste 60 minutes because of a weird experiment and you miss open chances like Di María and Cristiano Ronaldo did, and if the referee and the crossbar are also there to remind you that you're not going to score the equalizer, it's difficult to fight back.
Jesé was Ancelotti's third substitution -no Isco for this Clásico...-, and the canterano scored in his very first chance -91st minute- after a brilliant run and pass by Cristiano Ronaldo. It's good to see Jesé scoring in his first Clásico, but Real Madrid will need more than that if they want to beat Barcelona.
Still, after watching this match it seems that this Barcelona team was not great. Real Madrid should have at least got a draw. Neymar was Barça's best player, but they're not as dangerous without Messi at 100%. And the Argentinian player is not there at all. So Ancelotti's plan was pointless and showed how afraid he was of this Barcelona squad. And that clearly affected both Barcelona and Real Madrid's players. And while Barcelona is a great team, this Real Madrid should not be afraid of any team in Europe.
To defend well is one thing. To play Ramos as a defensive midfielder is another entirely different. You need to admit that you are not going to have the ball against Barcelona. But you need to build a team capable of creating danger in the few moments that you're going to enjoy the possession. Maybe this Clásico has paved the way for the next to come, but Ancelotti still has work to do.
Again, Real Madrid probably deserved the draw even after wasting 60 minutes. And that's how bad both teams played. This is not Mourinho vs. Guardiola anymore. Illarramendi should have started this game, and maybe things would have gone differently. But do not forget Undiano Mallenco's non-call. That would not be fair.
Six points behind now.
More from Managing Madrid:
- Live At The Camp Nou - Barcelona vs Real Madrid: Pepe, Varane and Ramos All Start.
- Varane, Ramos And Pepe Fighting For Two Spots - Bernabéu Bites 10.26.2013
- Karim Benzema To Start El Clásico From the Bench
- 5 Keys to Win El Clásico Against FC Barcelona
- El Clasico-Barcelona Vs. Real Madrid, La Liga 2013: Match Preview