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FC Barcelona vs Real Madrid, La Liga: Match review

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Los Blancos succeed expectations but end up losing the game and a big chunk of the Liga BBVA title. This is their 6th loss since 2015 started.

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A tale of two halves at the Camp Nou. While Real Madrid did more than enough to get the lead at halftime, Barcelona clearly dominated Los Blancos during the second half on their way to a decisive 2-1 win in El Clásico.

Ancelotti's men played with heart until their physical condition prevented them from keeping that kind of effort alive. Real Madrid's coach has publicly said multiple times that his team isn't tired, but the midfield lost all signs of control throughout the last 45 minutes. Modric, who is just back from a severe groin injury last just 50 minutes, while Kroos and Isco's physical presence is not as big as it was when the season started. This might be due to Ancelotti's lack of rotations before Christmas, but it is clearly costing the team.

Overall, Real Madrid did not take advantage from a decent --but not great whatsoever -- Barcelona performance. Neymar was too selfish, Suárez scored a goal but was focused on setting his teammates up and Messi was nearly invisible. That's mainly why this game will be so frustrating for Real. They had the chance to stay put in the race for La Liga and ended up losing a big chunk of their hopes at the domestic title.

After Ronaldo scored the equalizer, Real Madrid regained control of the game and arguably deserved more, but Dani Alves' through ball to Luis Suárez was as brilliant as it gets, even though Ramos might have something to say about that play and the one that saw Mathieu scoring Barcelona's opening goal. Then, Mateu Lahoz cooled the game down blowing his whistle right after time, but to point at that as the main reason why Real Madrid lost this game would be way too simplistic.

Ultimately, it all came down to execution. True, Barcelona did not put the nail in Real Madrid's coffin over the last 20 minutes, but they were in that position to begin with because of Los Blancos' lack of firepower and Barcelona's terrific accuracy. Marcelo and Carvajal were crucial during the first half by creating a lot of space for Real's midfielders and attackers, but their contribution dropped drastically after halftime.

Ancelotti was also too slow with his substitutions, but it's hard to lay all the blame on him considering how thin the roster is. The coaching staff had a lot of faith out on Jesé's recovery and his potential role as a game-changer, but he has failed so far. James' injury has also been devastating on that front, as Ancelotti would have one more tool on the bench hadn't he injured his foot. This is something Real Madrid need to address this next summer. Jesé's physical condition will be hard to judge, but it would be good for the club not to rely on him as much as they did this season.

The team will now have to keep winning just in cause Barcelona drop 4 points. Real Madrid have the goal-difference on their favor so any potential tie between these two teams would be enough for Los Blancos to conquer the title, although that might be saying too much at this point.