Sunday, April 3, 2016

FC Barcelona fall to Real Madrid, 2–1, as long unbeaten streak ends in disappointment

ronaldo-small_trans++gGkfkDQxy4meE2pwF2fWREi6L4XAoX9KJ12arlP6KhIThe passing of each El Clásico
leaves in its wake — without exception — a
brand new chapter in the annals of history
documenting the grandest of rivalries: Futbol
Club Barcelona versus Real Madrid.
Saturday night’s match at Camp Nou, however,
was more than just another episode. It was an
epic game that had it all — a tear-inducing
pre-game tribute to the recently passed
Johan Cruyff and a minute of silence,
frighteningly fearless tackling, heart-stopping
end-to-end play and, somewhat surprisingly, a
tight, evenly matched encounter standing in
juxtaposition to an uncommonly large gap
between the two arch-rivals in the league
Nevertheless, the biggest jolt of all came when
the game ended in a shocking 2–1 upset
victory for Real Madrid.
The loss, a dramatic reversal from the first
meeting between the two rivals this season,
when FC Barcelona routed Real in Madrid, 4–
0, is FCB’s first defeat since 3 October and
snaps their Spanish record 39-game unbeaten
What had been a ten-point gap between the
league's first- and third-place teams now sits at
Although the match went into the intermission
with a pair of goose eggs on the scoreboard, it
was, as El Clásicos always are, the antithesis of
a scoreless snoozer. FC Barcelona had the
upper hand early with two juicy looks at the
Real Madrid goal that Luis Suárez and Ivan
Rakitic were unable to convert.
The so-called trident appeared on the radar in
the 55th minute after combining on a
dangerous attack, as Neymar and Suárez
helped find Lionel Messi, whose floating chip
toward the upper right corner was exquisitely
palmed away by Madrid goalkeeper Keylor
But Gerard Piqué broke free on the ensuing
corner kick to head in for a 1–0 lead, with Ivan
Rakitic chalking up the assist from the corner
Real Madrid drew level at 1–1 on a fortuitous
sequence in the 64th, when a pass by Toni
Kroos ricocheted up into the air off the heel of
defender Jordi Alba and fell right to Karim
Benzema, who struck a clean volley to beat
Claudio Bravo from the edge of the six-yard
Madrid had three straight chances to go ahead
with less than ten minutes remaining. Gareth
Bale appeared to score on a header but it was
nullified when he was whistled for a foul on
the jump ball with Alba. Cristiano Ronaldo
skimmed a shot off the crossbar. And another
Bale shot that squeezed through the legs of
Bravo was swept away by Alba before reaching
the goal line.
Sergio Ramos was booked for the second time
in the 84th minute, leaving the All Whites with
ten men and an uphill battle for the
The battle seemed destined for a draw but,
seconds later, Ronaldo settled a high cross
from Bale on the far side of the Barça net and
slipped the shot past Bravo for the deciding

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