Barcelona v Real Madrid – as it happened
Preamble So will El Clasico prove to be a classic between two of the best teams in Europe – or a damp squib? We’re about to find out. Real Madrid spent €254m (£230m) this summer, but best place to buy a canada goose jacket in toronto despite topping the league their performances have been generally unimpressive and they’ve benefited from an easy schedule. This, though, is the real test, against the side that won the treble last season. So here we go: Barça v Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo v Leo Messi. Kaká v Zlatan Ibrahimovic. And authentic canada goose outlet – in the hearts and minds of millions across the world – perhaps it’s La Liga v the Premier League too?
Team news: According to the Spanish website AS, both Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo start.
Barcelona: Víctor Valdés, Alves, Piqué, Puyol, Abidal, Busquets, Keita, Xavi, Henry, Messi, Iniesta
Real Madrid: Casillas, Ramos, Pepe, Albiol, Arbeloa, Lass, Xabi Alonso, Marcelo, Cristiano, Kaká, Higuaín.
1 min: Is it a prank? Coincidence? A fiendish conspiracy to get me sacked? I don’t know. Just like I don’t know what’s happening on the pitch: that’s right – the TV’s bust again. So, um, anyone want a game of I Spy?
3 mins: My repeated punches to the TV having failed to bear fruit, I’ve called the boffins. They’re on their way. So you don’t go anywhere jsut yet, you hear?
4 mins: Success! The TV is back in action, if a little fuzzy, but I can tell you that Barca have the ball in the Real have. At least they did until Pepe boomed it clear.
7 mins: The camera treats us to a close-up of Ronaldo. Not sure why, he has hardly touched the ball so far.
8 mins: Valdes comes out to snaffle a ball at the feet of Higuain. It’s interesting jumping straight from Arsenal-Chelsea to this game, which appears so much slower, yet more intricate. “This is biggest league match ever – certainly most hyped over here,” hollers Alex Simpson. Just been a massive downpour so, 0-0 written all over it.”
10 mins: Absurd crack from 40 yards by Iniesta. over the bar it goes. “Real Madrid are a machine, expensively assembled, finely honed, separate parts each with their function, expertly put together,” lectures Pat Cullen. “But Barcelona are an organism, an entity, a seamless whole, intuitive actions and shared DNA. Go organism!”
11 mins: Ronaldo gets up a gallop, but is scythed down by Sergio. That’s be a freekick in prime Ronaldo territory … but he batters it into the wall.
14 mins: Xavi scampers after a cheeky dink by Iniesta, but Iker Casillas charges off his line to get to it first. “Its a real shame that India is the only country where the Clasico wont be telecasted,” frets Aniket Chowdhury. “It would have been a welcome change from the usual Big 4 encounters. Ss for the debate on whether La Liga is better than EPl…Its like comparing Audrey Hepburn ( la liga) to Brigitte Bardot (Epl). The former has the divine beauty but its can you wash a canada goose jacket in the washer the latter who sets the pulses racing…moreover Brigitte had the better overall package in the same way that the quality and competitiveness is much more spread out through EPL…but in sheer superstar quotient…Audrey wins anyday.”
16 mins: Messi is free! Messi is about to collect another Iniesta chip and will have only Casillas to beat! Messi is offside!
18 mins: Barca are in control, forming esoteric geometric shapes as they fizzing the ball around. At least they were until Sergio Ramos slid in to nick the ball off Abidal.
20 mins: Fine save! Kaka cut through the heart of the Barca defence and then slid the ball to Ronaldo, who, coming in from the right, had time to slot it anywhere he wanted. He opted for power, and his blaster was turned away by Valdes.
22 mins: Valdes to the fore again, this time charging out of his bos to prevent Ronaldo from latching on to another Kaka buying a canada goose jacket online through-ball. “The Premier League likes to think it’s Brigitte Bardot, in reality it’s good old Barbara Windsor wearing expensive French clothes and perfume,” sniffs Pat Cullen.
24 mins: Playing alongside Higuain in a 4-4-2, Ronaldo is a constant menace. Every time he receives the ball, you can feel fear seize the Nou Camp. Right now click cg, however, the ball is at the other end, where Messi has just served up a fine cross, but there was no one in the middle to get on the end of it.
26 mins: Pique shows canada goose coat 1000 calorie bariatric diet that he has played in England – his Herculean hoof forward runs all the way to Casillas.
27 mins: Real cut Barca open again, but Puyol hurls himself best canada goose jacket for women in front of Marcelo’s shot to save the day. “Paul, please end this ridiculous debate, this childish, schoolyard ‘my black cat is blacker than your black cat’ comparison of two completely different beasts, namely Spanish and English football,” squirts Taylor Hanton. “I was wondering how long amazon canada goose jacket it would take before some cretin wrote in espousing one league over the other. Can’t we all just get along? Oh, and La Liga is way better – Go Barca!”
28 mins: “Lass” penalised for one of those sneaky fouls in midfield that he excels at.
30 mins: Keita is down hurt after fouling Sergio Ramos. His canny ruse works because by the time he gets back to his feet the referee has forgotten about booking him.
32 mins: Arbeloa booked for tripping Messi after the little Argentinian burst past him down the right. Some relief for Barca, can you machine wash canada goose jacket who’ve been chasing the ball for most of the last five mintues.
34 mins: A laughable dive from Iniesta yields neither a freekick nor a booking. “Isn’t the Premier League less Brigitte Bardot and more Roger Vadim?” interjects Gary Naylor. “Graced by lots of glamorous, exotic foreigners but produces stuff that is superficially entertaining and exciting, but unsatisfactory for discerning viewers and critics.” I’ll tell you this: this game is being disrupted by a lot more niggly fouls than you get in most “EPL” games.
37 mins: Thierry Henry, who has done little so far (and may, as we speak, be plotting a major PR campaign to exonerate him), fires off a long-range shot than Sergio Ramos deflected behind for a corner. The same player then clears the corner. Sergio Ramos, I mean, not Henry.
39 mins: Messi slips the ball through to Henry, who plays on despite the fact that he knew he was offside. The ref doesn’t let him get away with that piece of knavery, however.
41 mins: “How has Lass not been booked yet?” howls Adam. “He’s been pretty filthy so far.” True. Having said that, Arsenal could have done with him today. Meanwhile, Albiol is booked for a deliberate handball. There are really are too many fouls in this game.
44 mins: A piffling long-range effort from Marcelo trickles into Valdes’s arms. Meanwhile, Aniket Chowdhury is back. “I believe that the EPL will be ahead of La Liga for the time being and that isn’t really biased preaching. I am a neutral here and I just love my football. It isnt the opinion of fans in UK or Spain which matters to the networks.. The supposedly dumb-ass Asian population decides which is more popular … the fact that the La Liga is not being telecasted in the second most populated country speaks volumes about the popularity contest.”
45 mins: Offside. Foul. Offside. Foul. Dive. Foul. Offside. “If you dive within five yards of Henry (regardless if he has made best ideas about canada goose parka on pinterest contact with you or not), you should win a free-kick as he has to pay his debt to footballing society,” preaches Peter Corway. “Pepe’s dive two minutes ago and Henry’s reaction was priceless! How does it feel Titi?”
Half-time: We have seen some neat moments of high-brow football, to be sure, but mostly this has been a bore. Too many chancers, not enough chances. “How long before someone other than me tells you that Barca means ‘boat’?” rages Kouta Lakis, who, I believe, is a Finnish football team. “Cut and paste Barça (with the tail under the ‘c’). It’ll please pedants like me.” OK, I’ll put the boat in ship shape.
A man called Fraser Ross wants to say this: “It’s half time at the Nou Camp and I cant recall EVER seeing so many fouls in one half of football. But I did enjoy Ronaldo doing the highland fling over a static ball a few times before making the sideways pass. I could do that.”
“Please tell Kouta Lakis that the ‘little tail’ under the c is called a cedilla,” jabbers the magnificently named Montana Wildhack. “It would please pedants like me if he (they?) would call it by its proper name.”
46 mins: Foul! Oh no, sorry, that whistle was just to indicate the start of the second half.
47 mins: Fine crossfield ball from Messi to Iniesta, whose control is immaculate. His cross is handy too, but Abiol got to it first and cleared.
48 mins: Beautiful turn by Messi, who is tugged back by Lass. Incredibly, the referee books him! And there was me thinking refs were blind to him continously doing that. “So filthy Lass has gone in the little black book?” wibbles Robin Hazlehurst. “Sounds like the ingredients for a good night out in a Northern English city after an EPL match, not the sophisticated continental style of La Liga.”
49 mins: Sergio brings down Ronaldo as the Portuguese flyer threatend to break free. Yellow card.
51 mins: Barceloan change: To huge acclaim Zlatan enters the fray, Henry trudges off after a worthless display. No wonder he so publicly hinted he wants to switch sports.
53 mins: Barcelona have been been veru much in their groove over the last couple of minutes but then Real nearly scored with a lightning counter-attack, only for Higuain to be foiled by a well-timed tackle by Puyol.
55 mins: Barcelona are producing some sumptuous interplay now, but Real are defending dligently and the threat of another cutting counter is constantly latent.
GOAL! Barcelona 1-0 Real (Zlatan 56′) No dainty nip and tucking there, instead Dani Alves chuged down the right and then floated a cross towards the centre, where Zlatan eluded his supposed markers and thundered it into the net.
59 mins: Barcelona are well on top now and Real are toiling to even get the ball back, without much success at the minute.
61 mins: After 567 consecutive Barcelona passes, Ramos finally nicks the ball off Iniesta. But Barcelona win it straight back …
63 mins: I say, here’s hope for Real: Barcelona are reduced to 10 men as Busquets gets a second yellow card for an asinie handball. Feel free to make your own jokes about the influence of Henry.
64 mins: Ronaldo goes down in the box under a light challenge from Pique and bays for a penalty but the referee waves play on.
66 mins: Real are profiting from their numerical advantage now, and have seized a grip on midfield. They almost translated that into a goal, but Ronaldo headed over. That will be his last contribution, as he’s withdrawn to be replaced by Benzema.
67 mins: Barcelona change: Yaya Toure on for Keita.
69 mins: A quite brilliant run by Messi is brought to an unjust end by Pepe, who deservedly sees yellow.
70 mins: That should have been 2-0. Iniesta curled the freekick in and Pique, totally unmarked, nodded wide from eight yards.
71 mins: Determined run down the left by Higuain, who then pulls it back to Benzema. Puyol puts in another trademark block on the Frenchman’s shot.
72 mins: Benzema creates space for himself well by dodging past Dani Alves, but then blazes over from 20 yards.
73 mins: Woeful shot by Marecelo after a Real corner was cleared as far as him at the edge of the area.
74 mins: Real substitution: off comes full-back Arbeloa, on comes Raul. Any other switch would have been silly considering that Barcelona are down to 10 men.
76 mins: Ohhhh! Splendid interplay by Barcelona culminates with Abidal bombing in from the left and blasting a low shot just wide.
78 mins: Fabulous run by Kaka, who best ideas about canada goose parka on pinterest tricked and slalomed his way past three. His cross was cleared for a corner, and from the delivery Sergio Ramos headed wide.
79 mins: Marcelo escapes with a yellow after a dreadful studs-up lunge on Puyol.
80 mins: Kaka’s shot rebounds off Dani Alves and behind for a corner. The delivery comes in, Raul gets a flick to it, then it appears to striker Puyol’s hand but Benzema doesn’t let himself get distracted and stabs the ball … over the bar from five yards.
82 mins: Another Xabi Alonso corner provokes panic in the Barcelona box, until Pique boots it clear.
85 mins: Raul, of all people, dispossesses Messi way back in the Barcelona box, and Real try to work the ball forward, but after Benzema wriggles past Puyol, Pique hares across to nick the ball out for a corner. “Well done Paul, you’re keeping just ahead of the MBM of El Mundo, though they have to write GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL and you can’t be bothered to even cut and paste Ibrahimovic,” blurts Jonathan Denness. I believe he is more commonly known as Zlatan, no? He is also known, of course, as a big-game bottler. But not after tonight, perhaps.
86 mins: Xabi Alonso bangs the corner straight into the sidenetting. See what you’re missing Liverpool fans?
88 mins: Notorious hatchetman Leo Messi bulldozes Xabi Alonso to the ground! Freekick to Real in their own half.
89 mins: A brilliantly disguised pass by Xavi finds Messi, and his shot from 14 yards brings an equally brilliant save from Casillas.
The inevitable has happened: “Lass” has been sent off for careering into an opponent. I say inevitable, but, of course, he normally gets away with that sort of thing. “Never mind Ibrahimovic, nor even Zlatan,” bellows Simon Gill. “I saw him play in the Spanish Super Cup in August and the fans just called him Ibra!” Even better.
Full-time: Barcelona are back on top of the league and deservedly so. It was a patchy game but they were sublime in possession on occasion, and defended well throughout.