Barcelona 1-2 Real Madrid (Alaba & Vázquez). Here is the immediate reaction to the Clásico. Look out for: press conference best bits, player ratings and the post game podcast.
Games don’t come much bigger than the historic match up between Real Madrid and Barcelona. Neither side are flying quite as high as they are accustomed to, but the sheer stature of the crests was enough to create that buzz that always come with El Clásico. Barcelona started with seven Spaniards that graduated from their academy, whilst Madrid fielded just one native player in Lucas Vázquez. Both Rodrygo Goes and Vinícius Júnior formed part of the front three. David Alaba started his first Clásico as a Real Madrid player at centre-back. Three points here would push Madrid back towards the top of the table, extending their gap against the Catalans to five points. Karim Benzema captained the team.
✅ Our #ElClásico starting XI! pic.twitter.com/q47mvKGS4S— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) October 24, 2021
It did not take long to realise why some Barcelona season ticket holders opted to stay at home in protest. Both sides offered little in the way of genuine quality or control, and it made for quite a tired watch in the first half. Barcelona if anything started a little stronger in attack, with the defences looking insecure when dribbled at. The hosts should have been in front as well, as Sergiño Dest became the spare man in the box when the ball came to him. Even with all the time afforded to him, he somehow couldn’t manage to get his shot on target, and Madrid were let off. This would be costly, as it was Madrid who took the lead through David Alaba of all players. The defender won the ball back in his own half, before Vinícius Júnior linked in with Rodrygo who played in Alaba with space to run. The Austrian entered the box before striking the ball powerfully past Marc-André ter Stegen for his first Real Madrid goal. Gerard Piqué came close after heading wide from a corner, and other than a Karim Benzema half chance - the half concluded with the 1-0 score line intact, but everything still to play for.
DAVID ALABA’S FIRST REAL MADRID GOAL IS A STUNNER IN EL CLASICO pic.twitter.com/3pZqESRuUv— B/R Football (@brfootball) October 24, 2021
Madrid managed to even out the play in the second half, and created the stronger chances out of the two sides. Vinícius was gifted a chance when Dest headed the ball into his path in front of goal, but the defender recovered well to stop the Brazilian taking his shot. Luka Modrić set Benzema for a volley inside the area, but Karim’s connection wasn’t as clean as he would have liked. The Frenchman then missed an open goal due to his body position before substitute Fede Valverde hit the side netting. Meanwhile, Barcelona were creating very little - and Sergio Agüero was brought on the change that. Much to the frustration of the home crowd, things only got worse. The home side came close to equalising, but Marco Asensio picked up the ball on the counter before seeing his shot saved by ter Stegen. Somehow, Lucas Vazquez battled hard to somehow beat Eric García to the rebounded ball and make it 2-0 to Madrid. With two minutes of added time to go, the action was still not done. Agüero managed to pull one back at the end with a neat finish for his first Barcelona goal. The whistle blew seconds later to end the madness and confirm the 2-1 score line, with Real Madrid taking all three points back home. Make sure you catch the ManagingMadrid Clásico podcast to celebrate and dissect the win! What did you think about the game?