Cristiano Ronaldo irritated by Mason Greenwood

Real Madrid lead with 2-1 win over Barcelona

Real Madrid rose to the top of the La Liga table with a 2-1 victory over Barcelona in the first Clasico of the season on Sunday at the Camp Nou stadium. Carlo Ancelotti’s side got off to a good start when David Alaba scored with a left-footed shot from the edge of the box in the 32nd minute. Barcelona put pressure on their opponents but failed to convert any of their chances before Real Madrid’s Lucas Vazquez doubled the advantage in added time. Sergio Aguero’s first goal for the Catalan club came in the dying seconds of the game, but it was too late.

Sergio Agüero scored in the 97th minute for a second goal, which was perhaps more than what this game deserved. There were no celebrations, as everyone knew it was already too late, and the image of Madrid’s second decisive blow helped define the 246th meeting between these once-powerful rivals. The closer Barcelona got to the opponent’s area – even if that was only rarely their goal – the more they risked being killed, with Madrid’s counterattack proving to be their most dangerous weapon.

Even though two unlikely men eventually won it for Madrid, which seemed to say something, it was skillfully exploited, with Vincius Junior notably crisscrossing Barcelona. The first goal was scored by David Alaba and the second by Lucas Vázquez. Ronald Koeman had become the first Barcelona coach since Patrick O’Connell before the Civil War to lose three classics in a row. Carlo Ancelotti won for the first time in this match. “It feels good,” he said with a smile, but his analysis was realistic and the Madrid celebrations weren’t too enthusiastic, as if he was aware that obstacles bigger than Barcelona lay ahead.

There was no hint of the “lion” Ancelotti had mentioned before the game, a reason his team were afraid. Barcelona had played more, deserved more, and the result was ‘hard to accept’, but accepting that argument was even more difficult. Barcelona were toothless at best, and the chance Pique regretted was only their second or would have been if it had been a real chance. The first was Sergio Dest, who wasted a golden opportunity with the score still 0-0 in the first half.

There hadn’t been much after that. Barcelona’s first attempt at the target came from Agüero, who rushed to death. Marc-André ter Stegen conceded: “They actually had more opportunities than us.” They had also arrived by a simple and more familiar route.

It quickly settled into a pattern in which Madrid seemed happy to wait, and the reason was clear: the exit was so simple, so effective, that closing this assault channel – this autopista, in reality – would have was a waste of time. . Barcelona wanted to get a head start, but it seemed like a trap. Almost all of the balls were sent past them, usually in search of Vincius, who was sprinting on or behind Oscar Mingueza, who had an afternoon of 45 minutes. At half-time, he was withdrawn. The damage is done. It hadn’t been his cup of tea.

In 24 minutes, Dest gave himself a big chance that could have changed everything, but it ended with his teammates on their knees. Memphis Depay had escaped, passing Éder Milito and making a quick pass across the pitch. He followed Fati but landed at Dest’s feet. He fired a side kick from ten yards that went far over the bar and into the southern seats. It was exactly what Barcelona needed. They had already been warned of what would happen if they didn’t understand this – and in particular about Vincius. Mingueza couldn’t do it.

Vincius had already taken advantage of an opportunity, slipping behind after just 11 minutes. Mingueza was slow to notice the danger, then unable to avoid it, reaching out his hand as Vincius moved between him and Eric Garca, and he might have won a penalty. The referee said no when Vincius fell. Every bullet seemed to be aimed at him. When Madrid got it, they all ran forward largely in a straight line, including Thibaut Courtois. And when Vincius caught Mingueza next, he produced the opening of the half hour.

The field was reopened when he found Rodrygo, and his compatriot watched Alaba run from section to section. “What was I thinking?” said the narrator. After that, Alaba said something. “It’s all about the score. Ter Stegen was alone in the zone when a fine shot passed him. Toni Kroos’ attempt was blocked during another Vincius break. As Alaba stepped in to stop Fati at close range, the home side hadn’t provided much else. At half-time, Mingueza was replaced by Philippe Coutinho, and Barcelona took control of possession and territory, but Madrid seemed indifferent.

It had been that way from the start, and it would continue to be that way until the very end. Ancelotti’s team waited for the right opportunity to strike, seemingly confident they wouldn’t get caught. Barcelona attempted 34 crosses, but there was no save and less nervousness than a game with this score should have seen. It was then that Pique took the initiative, and Madrid, once again, won. Ter Stegen observed, “This game didn’t deserve a winner,” yet it does.


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