Real Madrid (Higuain 14′, Ramos 56′) 2-6 Barcelona (Henry 18′,58′, Puyol 20′, Messi 36′, 75′, Pique 83′)
Stadium: Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Spain
Competition: La Liga
Date: 2 May 2009
Kickoff: 18:00 GMT, 14:00 EST
Barcelona turned the latest installment of El Clasico into a mismatch, destroying their hated rivals, Real Madrid, by a score of 6-2! Soccerlens brought you the action live! Click below for the live-blog, and feel free to leave comments below!
Barcelona were cruising towards their first league crown in three years and were so dominant that a domestic double was almost a given. In fact, it seemed as if the only question would be if they won the Treble. However, they lost two straight league matches in late February/early March and opened the door to challengers. Now, their once unassailable lead over Real Madrid has dwindled to four points. Even worse, they’re coming off a draw against Valencia last weekend and a lackluster performance against Chelsea in midweek during the Champions League. They’ll want nothing more than to put the title race to bed, especially with a difficult trip to London on the horizon.
Real Madrid have been on a torrid pace ever since losing to Barcelona at the end of December. Their only losses during that timespan have been to Liverpool in the Champions League. They have won every single league match except for one, a draw to Atletico Madrid. However, they’ll have some injury concerns heading into this match. Wesley Sneijder and Guti are out while Arjen Robben and Gabriel Heinze are questionable. Additionally, Pepe will miss out after doing his impersonation of an Ultimate Fighter against Javier Casquero of Getafe. Despite their personnel issues, they won’t be lacking for motivation. They’ve won two Liga titles in a row and would love to add a third, especially at the expense of their hated rivals.
Will Barcelona put down their rivals once and for all? Or will Real Madrid close the gap to one point? Tune in and find out!
Real Madrid: Casillas, Ramos, Cannavaro, Metzelder, Heinze, Robben, L. Diarra, Gago, Marcelo, Higuain, Raul (c).
Subs: Dudek, Gomez, Drenthe, Garcia, Van der Vaart, Huntelaar, Faubert.
Two changes from the side that defeated Sevilla last weekend. Robben will start for Guti, who will miss out with an injury. Heinze has passed his fitness test and will reclaim his place from Gomez. Huntelaar will be available as a substitute, as will Manchester City-target Rafael Van der Vaart.
Barcelona: Valdes, Alves, Puyol (c), Pique, Abidal, Toure, Xavi, Iniesta, Henry, Messi, Eto’o.
Subs: Hleb, Sylvinho, Keita, Krkic, Cáceres, Gudjohnsen, Busquets.
Only one change from the side that drew with Chelsea in midweek as the skipper, Puyol, will reclaim his spot in place of the injured Marquez. Apparently, Barcelona don’t need no backup goalkeeper as none of Valdes’ deputies have made the bench. They better hope that Valdes doesn’t get hurt. As always, Hleb will start out on the bench. How’s that move working out for you, Alex?
90′ + 1 The refs put Real Madrid out of their misery after about five seconds of stoppage time and sound the whistle. That’s all she wrote and it was a deserving win for Barcelona! Let’s see if they can emulate this form on Tuesday when the Champions League resumes! I’ll see you then!
90′ Huntelaar nearly gets on the end of one in front of goal, but Pique chests it safely to Valdes.
88′ Messi is the Man of the Match, no question about it, but Xavi, Henry, and Pique have been outstanding. As for Real, well, the less said about this match, the better.
86′ Messi almost makes it a hat-trick, but he rolls his shot wide. That would have been piling on.
85′ Garcia is booked for a foul (I missed it, sorry). Meanwhile, Barca do a double switch as Toure and Iniesta come off for Busquets and Bojan. Why not bring off Eto’o and Messi? They have a big game on Tuesday, in case you weren’t aware..
83′ GOAL!! Look away Real Madrid fans. This is getting out of hand. Messi sends the pass to Eto’o, who makes the run down the right. Eto’o crosses it to the far post, and Pique decides to take it himself, rather than give it back to Messi, who is on a hat-trick. Pique gets his shot off and it’s blocked by Casillas. However, Pique gets another chance and puts it in!
80′ Cannavaro fouls Keita and Toure gets in his face. Meanwhile, the commentators criticize Chelsea for spending their way to prominence. Oh, like Barcelona haven’t spent anything? How much did Henry cost? Or Eto’o? Or Alves? Heck, they spent all that money on Hleb, Keita, and Caceres in the offseason, and they don’t even start! Pot, kettle, black…
79′ Garcia comes in for Robben, and it looks like Madrid are just trying to keep the margin of defeat down.
77′ Pique with another great tackle, this time standing Raul up on the edge of the end-line. You think Manchester United regret letting him go?
75′ GOAL! Real’s defense falls asleep as Messi and Xavi do a one-two along the edge of the penalty area. Xavi plays it through to Messi, and he easily beats Casillas! Messi was all alone in front of goal and, seemingly, had all day to shoot there. Drive home carefully, folks! This one is over. Congrats to your 2008-2009 La Liga Champions, Barcelona!
74′ Van der Vaart goes in late on Alves, and he’s booked.
73′ Messi takes on three defenders and he threads it through to Iniesta, who makes the run into the box down the left. Diarra tackles him in the box, and he gets it away. Barca want a penalty, but the ref doesn’t accommodate them. Looks like Diarra got none of the ball and plenty of Iniesta’s legs, but I guess the ref decided not to pile on to Real’s misery.
72′ Sergio Ramos comes off and Van der Vaart will come on. This could get ugly as Real Madrid have almost no defenders out there, right now.
71′ By the way, some of the words that these commentators have used to describe Messi today: brilliant, genius, wonderful, divine, and “without question the greatest player on the face of the planet.” I think it’s safe to say that these guys don’t rate Cristiano Ronaldo very much…
70′ Higuain with a long cross from the left wing to the far post for Robben, but it’s long and out for a goal-kick.
69′ The wind has really gone out of Real Madrid’s sails. They have yet to recover from that last goal.
68′ Iniesta finds Alves all alone down the right. His cross is knocked away by Metzelder, but Barca get it back. Eto’o gets it inside the box, and he turns to try and fire it on goal. However, Metzelder makes a great tackle on him and gets the ball away from danger.
65′ Robben works on Pique down the left, but the defender makes a great tackle to take it away and the ex-Man Utd. man has been brilliant today.
62′ The announcers are making a big deal about how Chelsea better watch out, but let’s face it, Real’s defense is hardly world class. Liverpool made them look like rank amateurs a couple of months ago. Cannavaro can barely move around, what with that giant fork sticking out of his back.
61′ Keita will come on for Henry.
60′ Huntelaar is on for Real (funny, I didn’t see his name among the reserves) and Marcelo will come off. Meanwhile, Barca nearly make it 5 as Eto’o rolls it across the face of goal to Messi, and he misses an absolute gimme. Or a “sitter” as the Brits say.
58′ GOAL! Higuain threads it through and nearly finds Marcelo down the left, but Valdes knocks it away. Barca then go on the counter-attack and Xavi plays it through to Henry. He leaves Ramos in the dust and and Casillas has to come out to try and kick it away. Henry gets to it first and he taps it into the empty net!
56′ GOAL! Iniesta is called for the foul on Ramos and Real have a free kick from the right flank from about 30 yards out. Robben whips in the free kick and he finds Ramos all alone in front of goal and he easily puts it past Valdes! He looked like he might have been offside, but no matter! Barca’s shoddy defending bites them once again.
55′ Henry gets it deep down the left half of the box and he tries to cut it to his right, but Cannavaro has it well scouted and takes it away easily.
54′ Messi leaves Metzelder in the dust and he gets through on goal. Casillas does well to close off his angle, and Messi tries to squeeze it past him. It’s wide of the mark, though, but it was a great effort.
52′ Casillas holds it and Eto’o charges at him, trying to take it away. Casillas makes a nice deke and avoids him easily. He kicks it away and Gago eventually fires a weak shot on goal that barely makes Valdes sweat.
51′ Robben makes a great run down the right and Puyol throws him down on the edge of the box. No call and Robben can’t believe it.
50′ Nothing doing on the corner and Robben tries to lead the counterattack. Marcelo tries to lay it off to Heinze, but the left back stops his run and it’s out for a goal-kick.
49′ Henry pops it up and makes a nice move to get around Ramos. He tries to send a cross from the left, but it’s out for a corner.
48′ Nice interplay between Messi and Xavi as they do the weave on the edge of the penalty area. Iniesta waltzes past Cannavaro and fires a shot that’s just wide of the post.
46′ Real kick it away and we’re underway. No changes for either side at the half. Marcelo has Heinze open along the left wing, but his pass is poor and allows Ramos to recover and close Heinze down. Marcelo tries to chip a pass into the box, but Valdes takes it easily.
See? Spanish football can be exciting! Even to jaded American fans who love fast-paced and high-scoring matches like me. It’s been a great half of football, thus far, as Barcelona have demonstrated their class after falling behind early. Real Madrid seemed to be off to a dream start, but then spent most of the half on their back foot. If not for Casillas’ brilliance, then this match could very well be out of hand, right now. Real Madrid are not out of it, despite Barca’s excellence. They’ve exposed some deficiencies in Barca’s back four, and if they can put some sustained pressure on them in the second half, then they could easily get back in this match.
45′ + 1 Alves takes it and forces a great save from Casillas! That could have been goal #4 right there. There’s the whistle and we’re at halftime. I need to catch my breath since this has been a heck of match! Let’s hope for an even better second half!
45′ Marcelo sees a yellow after he trips Messi from about 30 yards out.
44′ Barca knock it around and seem to content to take this lead into the half. Can’t blame them there.
43′ Robben tries to challenge Abidal again, but this time, Abidal does well and takes it away.
41′ Pique with a beautiful and clean tackle on the edge of the penalty area on Higuain. Even the Madrid fans had to respect that one.
39′ Puyol goes in hard on Ramos and he’s booked for the foul. His initial challenge was fine, but he followed through with a leg sweep that would make Steven Seagal proud. Robben whips it from the right flank and he nearly finds several of his teammates in front of goal as Barca’s defending woes continue. The ball bounces ominously in front of goal, but Barca are able to get it away. Robben sends in another cross, but Metzelder is called for a foul on Puyol.
37′ By the way, this commentator sounds like he wants to marry Messi. You guys should check out Iowa. I hear it’s nice this time of year…
36′ GOAL!! Diarra makes a terrible howler on the edge of his own box and Xavi picks his pocket. He sends it to Messi and he avoids a desperate tackle from Cannavaro and puts it past Casillas!
34′ Messi tries another shot, this time from the edge of the box. He pulls his effort wide and that’s the first misstep from him. His play today has been like night and day from his turn against Chelsea on Tuesday.
33′ Messi with a ridiculous shot from near the end-line that nearly curls in at the far post! Casillas needs every bit of his frame to keep it out!
32′ Diarra sends it to Raul, who has his back to the goal. He turns inside the box and fires a shot that is just over the crossbar.
30′ Real win a corner, but the corner is knocked out for Real throw. Ramos tries to send in a hard cross from the right, and Valdes is out to collect it. Meanwhile, it looks like Henry wants out, and that’s not a good sign. He’s been magnificent, so far.
29′ Messi and Iniesta play a brilliant one-two that make Cannavaro and Metzelder look stupid and nearly makes this commentator have an orgasm. Messi plays Iniesta through, and he, inexplicably, passes up the shot. He tries to give it back to Messi, and that allows Casillas to recover and stop the shot.
28′ Nothing doing on the corner as Real Madrid knock it away from danger.
27′ Xavi with a nice pass from the center-edge of the penalty area to find Eto’o on the right. He hammers a hard shot on goal that the beleaguered Casillas knocks out for a corner.
24′ As we speak, Alves threads a brilliant pass through the defense to find an unmarked Messi on the left side of the box. He fires a shot with his left, but Casillas makes a brilliant save to deny him! Ramos is then booked for a foul on Henry, and the Frenchman is limping.
23′ My only complaint about this match so far is the commentating. This guy on color-commentary screams EVERY time someone is even close to scoring. It’s incredibly annoying. Plus, he assumes everyone is going to score the minute they get in the box. “He’s in!” “He’s got it!” “OOOOOHHH!” Ugh! Just shoot me! Meanwhile, Abidal gets booked for a cynical elbow on Robben. That was probably more out of frustration than anything else.
22′ No chance for us to breathe as Higuain works it on the edge of the box and he threads it through to Robben. He tries to shoot it past Valdes, but he makes a great save! Real Madrid come back and Higuain gets another chance and sends in a hard cross or shot to the far post. Alves nearly puts it in past his own keeper and Valdes makes a great save to deny him!
20′ GOAL!!! Henry gets deep down the left and Cannavaro shoves him blatantly to the ground. It’s a foul and Xavi will take the free kick from the left corner of the penalty box. He sends it in from a tight angle near the end-line and he finds Puyol from the right corner of the six-yard area and he sends a powerful header to the near post that Casillas doesn’t even move for. What a great response from Barca!
18′ GOAL!!! That didn’t take long, did it? Messi with brilliant pass over Cannavaro’s head and finds Henry open on the left edge of the box. He shoots between Casillas’ legs and tucks it in nicely at the far post! Great shot from Henry and an even better pass from Messi.
16′ Henry with a brilliant turn and gets around Ramos. He sends a powerful cross to the far post, and it’s just out of Eto’o’s reach. What a great move from Henry and it’s been a cracking start to this match, so far.
14′ GOAL!! Ramos with a great move to get around Abidal (who has had a terrible start to this match) and crosses it to the center of goal where Higuain waits. He gets a free-header on goal and easily beats Valdes for the score! Terrible defending from Barca there.
12′ Messi gets behind the defense and he’s onside! Casillas tries to get to the ball first, and he and Messi collide. Messi is called for the foul and Casillas looks like he’s okay.
11′ Alves gets behind Heinze and looks like he’s got a great chance. However he sends a poor cross to the far post and Real Madrid are able to get it away from danger. Alves’ crossing was terrible for most of the Chelsea match, and it’s started off the same way for him today. Messi tries to come back and gets it deep down the left flank, but Diarra closes him down well and Messi loses it over the end-line for a goal-kick.
10′ Nice pass into the box from Raul to Higuain, but Pique closes him down nicely and the ball trickles out for a goal-kick.
9′ Higuain looks like he’s through on goal after Robben taps it to him nicely. However, the flag is up for offside! Higuain was onside, but Robben was not when he tapped it. Good call by the linesman.
8′ Valdes wanders way outside the area and taps it to Abidal. Raul mugs him and takes it away and tries to curl it into the goal while Valdes tries, frantically, to get back. Raul is called for the foul, which is fine since his shot curled wide of the far post.
7′ Messi cuts to the left from the middle of the box and tees it up to Eto’o on the left edge of the penalty area. He fires towards the far post, but Casillas sees it all the way.
5′ Eto’o is played through on goal by Abidal and Casillas stonewalls him. However, the flag is up and Eto’o was offside.
3′ The corner goes out to Metzelder, and he tries to send in a cross from deep down the left, but his pass is deflected out for another corner. This corner comes in low and Barca go on the counter-attack. Messi is almost able to thread it through to Henry from the right edge of the box to the far post, but Metzelder is there to cut it out.
2′ Robben gets past Abidal easily down the right and he forces a corner off Puyol. Robben saves to crowd to get them into this match, but they seem strangely subdued so far.
1′ Barca kick off and we’re underway! Alberto Undiano Mallenco is our ref. Barca with an early chance as Ramos gives it away on the edge of his own box. Xavi gets it from Messi and fires one from the edge of the penalty area. Casillas makes a nice diving save to deny him.
0′ The commentators are referring to Chelsea as “cowardly.” Wow. Talk about being unbiased…
0′ Last year at this time, Barca had to form a Guard of Honor for the champions, Real Madrid. I can’t think of anything more humiliating in sports than having to stand in a Guard of Honor for your hated rivals.
0′ For EPL Fans, this match is a chance to catch up with old friends. Real boast former Man Utd. defender Heinze, former Chelsea man (and soon-to-be Manchester City winger?) Robben, ex-Liverpool keeper Dudek, and ex-Arsenal, Chelsea, and Pompey midfielder Diarra. Barca have former Arsenal great Henry, former Man Utd. defender Pique, former Chelsea man Gudjohnsen, and former Arsenal midfielder Hleb.
0′ Cannavaro is playing in his last El Clasico today, as he’s officially heading back to Juventus after this season. I’m not surprised that he’s going back, although it should be interesting to see how he’s received by the fans. I don’t think it’s fair to boo him. After all, I can’t blame him for leaving after the club was relegated for match-fixing. I would have done the same thing.
0′ Welcome to Soccerlens’ live coverage of El Clasico! The stakes couldn’t be higher, as Barcelona must win if they want to wrap up the title, while Real Madrid must win in order to keep their hopes alive! I’m Victor and I’ll be your liveblogger! I’m watching this match on Gol TV. It’s available on Veetle.com for people who don’t get Gol TV. For information on how to access that fine service, feel free to consult this article. Click here for other, free, options.
Barcelona showed what they are capable of when they’re firing on all cylinders. Their recent missteps seem to be behind them, and they look poised to claim the league title. Whether they make it a Treble will depend on how they play at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday. There are some red-flags and some reasons to be concerned. Barcelona’s man-marking on set-plays was poor, and we’ve seen what Chelsea are capable of doing on corners and free-kicks. However, they have to be extremely satisfied with this victory over Real Madrid. Not only did they thoroughly destroy and humiliate a hated rival, but they put an end to Real Madrid’s impressive unbeaten streak and avenged the last season’s embarrassing Guard of Honor spectacle. Barcelona haven’t wrapped up the title yet, but it’s hard to see them not lifting the trophy at the end of the year. They just need one victory and two draws in their final four matches to clinch the title. I don’t have to go out on a limb and say that they should be able to do that, easily.
As for Real Madrid, they were completely exposed and will have a lot of questions to answer in the offseason. Cannavaro is already on his way out, and Robben and Van der Vaart could be joining him. For all the talk about Cristiano Ronaldo, the club’s main problem is on defense. Barcelona looked like they were playing against a reserve team with the way the back-four and Diarra were beaten. They need to make some wholesale changes in the back, otherwise, they could be looking at another trophyless campaign next season.
Man of the Match:
I made a big deal about how Ray Hudson (finally figured out his name!) sounded like he wanted to have Messi’s baby, but the fact remains that Messi was absolutely brilliant in this match. We didn’t see what all the fuss was about in the Chelsea match, but we sure did today. He and Xavi combined beautifully, generating numerous scoring chances for each other and for their teammates. Messi looked like the best player in the world during this match and could have had four or five goals easily. Henry also played well, as did Pique. Meanwhile, for Real Madrid, it’s hard to say anything nice about their squad. Ultimately, you have to give Casillas his due, since this match could have been 9-2 or 10-2 if not for his saves. Still, if you’re praising a keeper that’s given up 6 goals, then that pretty much tells you all you need to know.