The game of all games, the matches of all matches, the moments of all moments, and the atmospheres of all atmospheres.
El Clasico gives us thrills and then some each time around and today felt no different. Two clubs going through renaissance phases, young talent ob both sides, and some added star power on the rival’s side making their first entrance into the greatest footballing conflict of all time.
Salivating isn’t it?
So let’s see who found the gold first in the first of two guaranteed clashes between the two sides this season.
Barca…Real Madrid….let’s discuss.
The first half had a bit of everything.
As expected, Barca found themselves with possession control early, but Real Madrid stated compact and found ways to disrupt Barca’s early attempts at making the match their own.
But football is weird sometimes. With such a cagey affair early, you’d expect goals to come later as both teams ease into the environment.
However, Barca didn’t have to wait long for their first goal. In fact, they found their first goal inside of 10 minutes admits the caginess going on.
Gundogan open his Barca account
It was a wacky goal for Barca in all honesty.
To start, Ilkay Gundogan attempted to play a 1-2 with Ferran Torres, but Torres’ return pass was deflected away. However, the deflected ball bounced its way to David Alaba, whose ensuing attempt at a clearance led the ball back to the pursuing Gundogan.
Once Gundogan got the ball back, it was clear cut. He was 1v1 against Kepa and boy he didn’t disappoint, slotting the ball through the legs of the Madrid keeper and into the back of the net.
Pretty finish by Gundogan, whose label as a big game player was rightfully on display there.
After this goal, Barca and Madrid both tried to break each other down, but no success was really found between both sides.
There was another moment from Barca after the goal, in the 16th minute specifically when Fermin Lopez had his shot ring off the post. He’s had quite a few shots ring off the post and crossbar lately, unlucky for him for sure.
After that though we got to half time, with Barca holding a 1-0 lead and looking like the better team by far.
But Madrid is always known for being a quick strike team, one that can get back into a match very quickly if you give them chances. Barca had to stay alert if they wanted to walk away with 3 points, but as we saw in the second half, that wasn’t the case.
The second half saw Madrid find their footing a bit better.
They weren’t as poor defensively and they were able to find some more danger chances going forward.
For Barca, it seemed they were able to find some more chances as well. In the 52nd minute, Iñigo Martinez’s header rang off the post, while the following rebound shot by Ronald Araujo was saved by Kepa.
But for as much action both teams provided in the early portions of the second half, it wasn’t until the 68th minute when Madrid — and their main star at the moment — finally struck gold.
Jude Bellingham arrives
Jude’s first goal — yes first — wasn’t one made of brilliant link up or anything of the sort. In reality, it was simply a fantastic strike by one of La Liga’s greatest arrivals in years.
Replay showed Ter-Stegen could’ve gotten a hand on it. But it’s hard to fault him when the shot was full of venom and movement.
Then stoppage time arrived, with both teams going end to end trying to find a winner. Unfortunately for Barca, it was Madrid who found the late winner, as it was Bellingham who scored once again.
This time it was an action initiated by Luka Modric, whose pass fond Bellingham in the penalty area. After that, the Englishman simply tapped it home between Ter-Stegen’s legs and into the back of the net.
At first it looked like offsides, but replay showed Iñigo playing Bellingham onside while trying to track his run into the penalty area. In reality, it was good movement by Bellingham.
Barca couldn’t find another goal in time and the first El Clasico of the season ended in a 1-2 defeat.
Man, what a crushing result.
Barca played really well driven, disciplined football for 65 minutes. However, they have their efforts wiped away due to classic Madrid quick strike attacking football.
In all honesty though, Barca should’ve taken control of the game sooner. After the first goal, Barca had multiple shots ring off the post. Furthermore, multiple attacking instances that ended in shots not being on target.
It’s a problem that’s harmed Barca mightily in big games over the years. And it’s also one that’s going to wreck their season this year if they can’t fix it. Also with Barca not fielding their full XI — specifically a healthy Pedri and Frenkie De Jong — things were always going to be more difficult.
But this is only the first El Clasico match of the year. Barca is still 4 points behind joint leaders Girona and Madrid. Plus Pedri and De Jong look close to returning, so it isn’t the end of the world.
But still, this result has to sting.
Barca’s next match
Barca’s next match will be another tough one, as they travel to the Anoeta to face off against Real Sociedad.
See you all then!