FC Barcelona 1 Real Madrid 2

There will be no fourth consecutive league title for Pep Guardiola’s Barça. Having clawed back the difference at the top of La Liga to four points Barça blew their chance in the clásico as Real Madrid earned their first league victory over Barça for four years. Khedira gave Madrid a first half lead which left Barça chasing the game, and then despite an equalizer from substitute Alexis Sanchez, Madrid restored their lead quickly through Cristiano Ronaldo.

Pep Guardiola made two changes to the team that lost at Chelsea with Cristian Tello and Thiago Alcantara coming in for Cesc Fabregas and Alexis. However, Dani Alves played a forward role leaving a back three of Puyol, Mascherano and Adriano. Thiago played deeper than usual close to Sergio Busquets while Iniesta played an attacking midfield role trying to support Messi, with Tello stuck to the left.

Real Madrid played the same eleven that lost in Munich meaning Coentrao continued at left back instead of Marcelo. From early on it seemed clear that Madrid were more tuned in the game. Barça were caught in possession too much and we gave some lose passing. Ronaldo had Madrid’s first occasion with a header from Ozil’s corner and Valdés had to stretch to tip the ball over.

Barça responded when Alves robbed the ball in the Madrid half but the ball ran away from him a little too far and Casillas was quickly out to save. Barça were struggling to find ways through however, Tello was isolated on the left and when Iniesta did find him he was called offside. Madrid won their third corner in the 16th minute and when the ball arrived to the far post Pepe beat Adriano to the jump, Valdés made a good stop but the ball stopped dead just two yards out, Puyol tried to clear but Khedira was quicker bundling the ball over the line.

With an uphill task Barça continued to struggle. Tello cut inside and shot wide but the best chance came on 27 minute when Messi played a magnificent ball into Xavi but Casillas managed to get a slight touch which sent the ball the wrong side of the far post. However, there was little else in the first half as Xavi, Thiago and Iniesta failed to control the midfield. Tello failed to control a great Messi pass and then Thiago sent a hopeful long shot well wide. it wasn’t happening for us and Madrid showed the danger of a quick counter when Ozil robbed Iniesta before dribbling past Thiago but Mascherano was across to save the day.

The second half continued with the same pattern with Madrid working hard to close down the spaces. The chances for Barça were falling to Tello who tonight was well off with his finishing. One Thiago through ball should have been finished by Tello mishit a great chance well wide. In the 69th minute Guardiola decided to bring on Alexis which begs the question of how injured was he, and within a minute he had put Barça level. Messi went on a run, Iniesta flicked the ball onto Tello who this time got his shot on target but it was straight at Casillas, the rebound came out to Adriano, 25 yards out, and he drove the ball back in low to Alexis whose first shot was stopped by Casillas but he managed to force home the rebound.

If there was hope here that Barça could still win the league it lasted for just three minutes. Ozil was allowed too much time to pick out his pass to Ronaldo who got away from Mascherano before rounding Valdés to score. Guardiola brought on Pedro and then Fabregas but there was no coming back. At the end Madrid looked closer to a third than Barça did to an equalizer but they failed to convert a couple of dangerous counter attacks.

There’s not much more to say really. We could argue that Khedira was offside or that Xabi Alonso was lucky to last the 90 minutes, but it would be looking for excuses. We created too few chances and our finishing was poor when we did. The post mortem will also ask questions about the team selection but it would be harsh to criticise Guardiola after he all has done for us. The only thing now is we have to take it on the chin and get everybody back in good shape for the Chelsea match on Tuesday. It is going to be tougher after this result but I’m sure a Champions League Final would go a long way to helping us get over the disappointment of losing La Liga.

Barça: Valdés 6.5; Alves 6, Puyol 6, Mascherano 6, Adriano 6 (Pedro m74, 5.5); Xavi 6 (Alexis m69, 6.5), Busquets 6, Iniesta 5; Thiago 5.5, Messi 6.5, Tello 5 (Fabregas m81, 6).

Real Madrid: Casillas; Arbeloa, Pepe, Sergio Ramos, Coentrao; Xabi Alonso, Khedira; Di Maria (Granero m74), Ozil (Callejon m89), Ronaldo; Benzema (Higuain m93).

Goals: m17 Khedira 0-1, m70 Alexis 1-1, m73 Ronaldo 1-2.

Yellow cards: m15 Busquets, m43 Pepe, m47 Xavi Alonso, m74 Ozil, m78 Granero, m86 Mascherano.

Attendance: 99,252

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22 Responses to FC Barcelona 1 Real Madrid 2

  1. FC Barcelona Rocks! says:

    An El-Clasico lost has seen the La Liga Title finally won by Real Madrid. Bad luck with injuries and emphasize in youth development goals finally takes its toll. Kudos to Madrid. Hopefully the youngsters like Tello and Thiago learn from their errors tonight. Great prospects for the future surely….though their exposure for this one has led to us surrendering the title. Gutted by the result, but i remain hopeful for the future.

    Questions to Nic and all Barcelona diehards in the house.

    1) Was the substitution Of Xavi Hernandez instead of Thiago in 2nd half justified??

    2) Is the midfield of 4 and a defence of 3 taking a toll in the balance of our play for the attack, midfield and defence transition??? Bear in mind that frequently Messi joins the central midfield as well, while Dani Alves offers width frequently leading to 6 midfielders and less defenders and attackers taking up dangerous positions.

    3) Does height matter especially in defence? And am i the only one here that thinks we neeed Thiago Silva or a simillar sort player that brings the balance of Defence attributes, ball control capable,, adequate pace and height and strong in the air instead of any OTHER sort of players for example Jordi Alba??

    A lost is a lost, though absolutely gutted, i shall not make excuses for this lost. I’m proud that we were brave to stick to our playing philosophy, the seasons goals in developing, introducing and exposing a minimum of 3 youth talents…also proud that all players stayed away from dirty play in general for both Chelsea and Madrid matches. Good game Madrid. We’ll be back stronger next season. Forca Barca!!

  2. wikd14 says:

    We were not up to our par and Madrid played really well. Unfortunately, frustration got to us while Madrid kept their cool.

    I support Nic we can’t be ungrateful to Pep after all what he has done to us. The line up indicated for me that we are betting for a the CL final not La Liga. Also, I am wondering about Pique’s situation with the current season’s injuries and lack of more options at the back four we were really exposed today. Especially with Alves playing up front.
    I still believe in the team, the season is not finished yet but the current games are shaping up the season drastically and we haven’t won any of them 2 losses out of 3 make it or break it games.

    I will not speculate more I will leave it to Tuesday’s night. I pray that our team can get tremendous performance on Tuesday.

    Also, I noticed 1 thing the year’s where Spain get the gold Barca don’t win the CL (2007/2008 & 2009/2010)
    We can’t have it all…

  3. FC Barcelona Rocks! says:

    I feel 4-3-3 is a much stable game plan/strategy as opposed to the 3-4-3. The 3-4-3 lacks a Thiago Silva sort of defender and the results against big teams with taller and more powerful players have proven us so. I hope we beat Chelsea and i really hope Gerrard Pique returns to the starting eleven and we DONT play the damn 3-4-3 whatever the means!!!

  4. FCB-Parbo says:

    Sure I’m dissapointed with the result, but hey after having to overcome so many obstacles I’m still proud of the team. Pep has tried his very best for us. Up till now we have already 3 trophies out of 6 in our bag. Like Pep said we already have won this year. The guys will be closer next season and we will fight harder then. We are still in the race for 2 more titles, so nothing is over yet.
    Now it’s time to focus on Tuesday and I hope that the team hasn’t lost their fire yet, I don’t think so coz it CL. Tonight they lacked the intensity and they come around quickly.

    Visca Barca!!!

  5. thisisspain says:

    A refreshingly honest overview from a Barca fan being objective. (There were few of those in the bar I was in!)

    I thought it was a good game and the better side won on the day. I was also pleased to see that it was generally played in good spirit. I don’t expect much from Mascherano…so was not surprised by his temper tantrums, nor by the fact that he eventually got booked – almost a debt of honour from him. No complaints about the ref although I thought he should have been harder with the BCN players constantly moaning about RM’s (putative) time-wasting. Özil was lucky not have got a red card. Immediately after his yellow, he deliberately took a corner from a meter outside the quarter-circle. The linesman decided to throw a blind eye. Weak!

    Surprisingly impressed with the RM back four. Marcelo was presumably not picked as Mou had some dream about keeping all his players on the park.(Same with Cesc?)I felt Barcelona had 2 or 3 younger players who gave Madrid too much respect/space and despite the best efforts of Puyol, Madrid did not allow themselves to be pegged back. Respect to Mou for not playing 5-4-1 but frankly the Madrid defence is just not good enough to soak up 90 minutes pressure from the likes of Messi, Xai and Iniesta.

    The fat lady is still singing but she’s on the last line of the last verse.

  6. titi186 says:

    Pep got today very very wrong.

    If Sanchez is injured, why is he on the bench. If Pique is injured, why is he on the bench. The only reason I flag this up is that if Pique was fit when Biscuits can go back into midfield where he belongs, Xavi and Iniesta can push 5-10 yards higher up and we can give the ball to Messi on the edge of the area rather than on the halfway line.

    Madrid’s line up was attacking as they’ve ever been. We needed 4-3-3. We needed to win.

    Tello was wrong to start. I know people will say he is young but he should not have played and even more baffling is why he was not subbed after 1 easy chance and general lack of influence.

    Although Pep had played 3-4-3 at the beginning of the season with mixed results, when it came to Madrid away he went 4-3-3 and the result was a dominant, clinical 1-3 win.

    Im trying to be objective and can accept losses because no team is perfect. But the formation was just very wrong and team selection was appaling. Though I hope we can revert back to it on Tuesday because it has become a season defiing game.

  7. Caleb says:

    Tough one to take. To s of credit to guardiola for making a loss to Madrid such a rare thing.

    I understand playing alves at attack allows us to revert to a 433 on the fly but I can’t say that alves gives us a lot when he is a forward. That’s my only real gripe and all along I’ve felt that to make the 343 worth while we got to really go for it. Meaning alves at the back or on the bench

    Congrats to Madrid. They outplayed us today and looked far more dangerous.

    It doesnt get any easier. Força barça!!

  8. apo says:

    Barca weren’t going to win every Liga/clasico for the rest of eternity so I knew this day had to come at some point. Lots of people talk about the difference Puyol’s absence makes to the squad but I think Abidal’s is just as significant. Think about all the clasicos (league or otherwise) from this season alone when Abidal has been present. I feel like he was a very calming presence that can boost the team and give them strength when under pressure. But maybe I’m reading too far into it.

    Also not completely devastated because this has been one of the worst seasons for Barca in terms of injuries that I can remember…the last significant one I recall was 06/07 when Messi and Eto’o were out awhile. Anyway, considering Villa, Abidal, and Affelay have basically been out of commission for long spans of time we’ve had to rely on our youth a lot and forced them to “grow up fast” (and they sure have risen to the occasion haven’t they?). Considering this probably wasn’t Barca’s second or even third strongest side versus what is arguably Madrid’s best, 2-1 isn’t a bad result and I’m confident Barca can and will bounce back from this both physically and mentally. Let’s just hope it’s in time for the Chelsea match!

    Visca el barca

  9. barcentralomer says:

    Ouch! After 3 years of winning almost everything lots of Barca fans like me had begun to consider winning every trophy a formality. A good post-match review Nic of a match that has brought many Barca fans back to reality. More than the Madrid win which was executed to near perfection it was the dismal performance in general by the team that disappointed me. At this point in time and with a big match coming up – it would be inappropriate to make accusations about tactics and individual players and least of all Pep and his team who have been nothng short of phenomenal ever since he took charge of a team in disarray in 2008.
    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I’d take the CL title any day over La Liga so while the La Liga dream may have turned sour, we still have our CL hopes alive (even if Chelsea are in a great run of form) so come on guys and lets get behind our team. Visca Barca!!!

  10. bc9jaCulé says:

    First off culés, I know last night’s defeat was a bitter pill to swallow for everyone but then, we must also learn to handle such RARE disappointments. A lot can be said about the match, ranging from lineup to tactics to substitutions to individual player inputs but ultimately, we lost — simple. So, let’s just hope we can move on from these back-to-back agonizing losses and give Chelsea a thrashing so as to redeem our image. Albeit, I must say that we MUST CONVERT OUR CHANCES when we create them & Valdez also needs to deliver when needed as those two issues seem to be our major problems now. I’m really unhappy losing to Madrid, Mourinho & most especially, Ronaldo but sooner or later, they are bound to have one over us too so, NO BIGGIE. Besides, what has happened has happened and all those are in the past now. Please Barça, we MUST do all that’s necessary to qualify for the CL final as being knocked out by Chelsea will be a crunching blow. I trust this team though and I know they will deliver the goods AGAIN!!!!!

    Visca Barça!!!!!
    Força Barça!!!!!

  11. barcacentralenrique says:

    great reaction guys. glad so many people have managed to put it all into context and not fallen for the myopia that is footballs plague. last night hurt, i felt we were worse than versus chelsea, more tired mentally and physically, but it was just bound to happen. as the man above me said, we can look at many things here and there, wonder this wonder that, but sometimes you just lose. and really, we lost 2-1, in a match we still dominated, not like some of the thrashings we’ve handed out over the past years. if anything, i hope losing to madrid gives pep and the team another reason to come back, to prove we are due our high praises.

    the is one thing though that is worrying me. im not so sure pique is injured. i have a bad feeling there is a personal issue going on between himself and pep, and that i dont like. pique has had a medicore season, but guy, he was stellar the first 3 seasons. all this talk about thiago silva? why? pique at his best is much better than him. our young man just needs to get back to his best. i hope im wrong, and i hope he plays tuesday. puyol has to go left, adriano is not stepping up to his chance in my opinion.

    tuesday now is what matters, obviously. i really hope that despite the fact they are going to come and defend and only defend, we fight with everything we have, and you can see it on the players faces. dejamos la piel. thats what i want, the result is secondary.

    • thisisspain says:

      What amazes me is how the Bareclona fans are giving up. I am positive that the likes of Puyol, Piqué and co KNOW that you COULD still win the title by 5 clear points. (Remember Newcastle?)
      I am sure that Mou is telling his guys this 24/7. If the players have suddenly developed the mindsets of losers than goodness knows what Chelsea can do. Twelve points to play for – it is as simple as that. A defeat and a draw for Madrid and it’s game on if Barcelona get 4 big wins.

    • FC Barcelona Rocks! says:

      i understand that we have Pique, but we better accept the facts that Puyol is loosing his legs sooner rather than later…If a signing is to be made, it should be a Thiago Silva sort of signing rather than a Jordi Alba sort of signing imo. And also if we source for a left back, it’ll be really nice if the guy can defend better than he attacks. Enough of attackers, we need defensive players to balance the play

  12. titi186 says:

    To be honest the only thing that makes this loss any less hurtful is the fact is if we feel like this after 1 loss imagine how madridsta’s felt every time we dished out a battering to them.

    Abidal is the best defender we have imo along with Puyol and we have missed him so so much especially in big games. He has height and discipline that we have lacked in so many games.

    In some senses its just made retaining the Champions League even more important. Maybe Pep will not tinker with the formation and put Cesc and Sachez in from the start rather than mess about. I hate to criticise Pep and he will know more than anyone he got it wrong. Lets just accept this defeat as a one off and hope we have a LOT of anger to channel on Tuesday 😀

    • FC Barcelona Rocks! says:

      I would prefer a 4-3-3 with Puyol, Mascherano(makeshift left back due to better speed than Puyol) Pique, Dani Alves, Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta, Pedro, Messi, Sanchez. I would love to see us perform in our Champions League winning tactic with the best possible lineup. Affallay, Fabregas, Cuenca and Tello are all potential subs.

  13. FC Barcelona Rocks! says:

    David Villa is said to be ready to play =D Should he be included for Chelsea????

  14. layibiyi says:

    it had to come guys…nobody runs from losing forever. we can argue many things in hindsight but pep’s quote says it all.’Guardiola”I feel bad for the fans. But the players have been giving everything for 4 years now, so I hope they understand..”

    he probably got his selection wrong and made some bad decisions (even though we cant be certain from over here), but can pep ever try to do anything to dissappoint the fans or the catalan nation? Nah, I dont think so.

    On to the main issue, chelsea. We still have the chance to call this season a very successful one (does back to back champions league ring any bells). However, we need to correct many wrongs mainly support for messi. I sure as hell hope sanchez is fully fit for tuesday. niggly injuries here and there have been one of the main reasons for our failed league campaigns

  15. barcacentralomer says:

    I think the season post-mortem reports can wait till after the close of the season. We were all stung by the defeat and the fact it came courtesy of Moaninho and CR7. But we need to get behind Pep and the boys bcos the season ain’t over till its over. Yes, we’re having a bad patch, yes its unusual and almost unbelievable to think we could end up with just the Copa final to play for BUT I believe in Pep and his team. We can and we have to beat Chelski bcos we have a score to settle with Moaninho (once again) in the CL final although I’d love to see Bayern knock them out ….:)

  16. FCB-Parbo says:

    I don’t understand fans why they are so angry at Pep. We don’t know the sitiuation what’s going on within the team. Pep also said he may had got it wrong. Seems like it’s forbidden for him to do one thing wrong. Pep has given us so much and believe me no one can top that. It’s now time for fans to give big support to Pep and his team. They’ve earned that right don’t they? I know our coach will never give up and he will make sure that his pupils won’t either. So we as fans, we let them know that we also never will give up!

    Visca Barça!!!!!
    Força Barça!!!!!
    Força Pep!!!!!

    • FC Barcelona Rocks! says:

      Amen to that!! I hate seeing us loose, and i’m sure the boys hate to loose 10000000times more than i do.

      Visca Barça!!!!!
      Força Barça!!!!!
      Força Pep Guardiola!!!!!

  17. Fredegar says:

    Was what, like the third Clasico we lost at home in the last 25 years? My goodness, bad luck for me… I so much hoped I could celebrate on la Rambla… A defeat that hurts, but as you all say, it was coming one day anyway. Worrying fact for me is that we looked completely jaded, and in the past we already suffered when we had to pile games, so that’s not boding well for tomorrow. Hope we’ll have a response from the guys, but a bit of luck and a lot more of realism would not be amiss if we are to go through. I’m not sure I could stand losing to Madrid and Chelsea in the space of a week.
    Nonetheless, I’ll still be proud of the team and of Pep in particular whatever happens!
    Visca Barça!

  18. bc9jaCulé says:

    I’m surprised there’s no preview yet for tonight’s game. Is anything the matter?

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