La Liga Update: Sergio Ramos puts Real Madrid in lead from penalty spot

La Liga: El Clasico Delight for Los Blancos!

Barcelona 1-3 Real Madrid

Real Madrid hold the bragging rights this weekend after an El Clasico win prevented Zinedine Zidane’s team losing three games on the bounce.

La Liga: Barcelona vs Real Madrid was the most watched fixture in world football today and both teams desperately needed a win after losing in the league last week.

For Los Blancos, defeat at home to Cadiz represented disaster and, following a midweek Champions League setback, ZZ picked an experienced starting 11 for El Clasico while Ronald Koeman opted for youth, giving a start to 17 year olds Ansu Fati and Pedri, as well as 19 year old Sergino Dest.

SBOTOP La Liga 2020 promises to be another great tussle between these two giants of Spanish football but, for now, Real can celebrate another famous victory.

 

Highlights of the game

Los Blancos wanted a fast start to the game and they certainly got it when they stormed ahead with just five minutes on the clock. Gerard Pique has just signed a new contract at Barcelona but the big centre back couldn’t do anything about the opening goal as the Barca defence was stretched out of shape by Karim Benzema, who then slid the ball through to Fede Valverde and he fired it home past Neto to give Real the lead.

But just three minutes later parity was restored. After a superb start to the campaign Fati was sure to star in the Barcelona vs Real Madrid highlights, and when Jordi Alba beat the offside trap and squared the ball, the 17 year old sensation slotted home from the edge of the six yard box. It was Fati’s fourth league goal of the season and while it wasn’t the most spectacular it was probably his favourite so far.

After scoring against Real Madrid, Ansu Fati becomes the youngest player to score and assist in a La Liga game

Ansu Fati celebrates scoring against Real Madrid

Fati’s strike lifted the Blaugrana who went in search of a second, Philippe Coutinho firing at Thibaut Courtois from the edge of the box and Lionel Messi testing the Real keeper with another long range effort. Then Courtois made a brilliant save to deny Messi at his near post, before Los Blancos responded, Toni Kroos feeding Benzema, but the striker couldn’t beat Neto who dived low to his left to save.

Barca began the second half on top and it was Fati causing panic in the Los Blancos’ defence. First he turned smartly to fire a cross shot narrowly wide of Courtois’ post, and then he almost teed up Barca’s second when he stood up a perfect cross for Coutinho, but the former Liverpool man headed into the side netting with the goal at his mercy.

And then Barca paid for their misses when drama unfolded at the other end of the pitch.

Clement Lenglet had a tug at Sergio Ramos’ shirt and the Real skipper fell to the ground, a little dramatically; but VAR took a look and the penalty was awarded. Ramos climbed to his feet and, as expected, slammed home the spot kick past Neto, even though the Barca keeper had dived the right way.

The Blaugrana had to come from behind again and Coutinho took up the challenge, firing in a shot which was deflected wide, and then after another Coutinho effort a clearance from Ramos hit his team-mate Raphael Varane on the arm. The Barca players howled for a penalty but the referee was unmoved.

Barcelona had a series of corners and, with ten minutes remaining, Koeman made a triple substitution, bringing on Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele and Trincao, to replace Pedri, Fati and Sergio Busquets. But it was Real who came close to adding a third when Toni Kroos had a double chance, firing the first at Neto and having his second shot deflected wide. And then Neto made a superb save to deny Ramos who met a Lucas Vazquez cross with a powerful header.

But it was game over when Luka Modric made it 1-3, in the last minute of normal time, with a classy finish past two defenders having sidestepped the Barca keeper.

 

Key statistics

In a superb opening 45 minutes Real Madrid had the edge in terms of possession while both teams had five shots, four on target for Barca and three for Los Blancos.

But the Madrid side turned things around spectacularly in the second half, eventually registering nine shots on target to Barca’s four and running out deserved winners.

The victory nudges Los Blancos’ ahead following the 245th El Clasico; it was their 97th triumph to Barca’s 96th.

 

What’s next?

After a shocking start to their 2020/21 Champions League campaign, losing to Shakhtar Donetsk, Los Blancos have a difficult trip to the North Rhine to face Marc Rose’s Borussia Monchengladbach. Die Fohlen started with a decent result in the competition, drawing 2-2 away to Inter Milan.

Meanwhile the Blaugrana travel to Turin for the tie of the round when they face the mighty Juventus. The Old Lady opened up with a 0-2 win away to Dynamo Kyiv. We’ll be back with our SBOTOP predictions in the run up to Europe’s biggest matches and then,  back in La Liga, Los Blancos are at home to Huesca next week, while Barca are away to Deportivo Alaves.

 

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