Haven already beaten Barcelona in the Spanish Supercup, Real Madrid seems to be off to a shaky start with only 3 wins, a draw and 2 losses. Barcelona meanwhile, was undefeated going into the game with all wins, atop the table with Atletico close behind. All that aside, the yesterday’s match was about something more. The long history of rivalry between these two clubs has aggravated the stress and pressure on fans, players and coaches.
With Real Madrid hoisting the league title last year, Barcelona has something to prove. Real Madrid may be off to a slow start, but they already won the Spanish Supercup match in September that ended in a 4-4 tie with Madrid winning on away goals. The match yesterday showed that each club’s respective stars are in a league of their own, but it only adds to the rivalry.
Earlier in September, Cristiano Ronaldo lacked the same vitality fans love in his goal-scoring celebrations. Following that match, he expressed sadness and unhappiness towards his club. Yet he continues to perform. In the match yesterday, Ronaldo struck the first goal on a precision strike from the corner of the inside box that zoomed past Barca keeper at the near post.
Responding less than 10 minutes later, Messi cleaned up some garbage defending by Madrid’s Pepe on a double-deflected cross. A simple tap to the back of the net was all it took to equalize. Though uncharacteristic of Messi and Barcelona’s general attacking style, the fans at Camp Nou got a full dose in the second half on a free kick from 24 yards. A masterful delivery by Messi, clearing the wall and bending down to the very edge of the box.
Ronaldo would strike again though to equalize, on an instinctive through ball from Mesut Ozil, the Portuguese star was just barely on side, enabling a dribble touch and a strike to the corner. Barcelona fans were nearly relieved when a ball struck the crossbar, but that was the last chance for the home side as the game ended 2-all.
The draw puts Barcelona tied atop the La Liga table with Atletico Madrid, led by Tiger Falcao, they also have 6 wins and 1 draw (19 pts). Real Madrid will host FC Barcelona in early March, 2013.