Thursday, June 13, 2024

Barcelona 2-1 Real Madrid: What Did We Learn As Xavi’s Side Claim El Clasico Bragging Rights On A Crucial Night At The Nou Camp?

Tom Dunstan in Editorial, La Liga 20 Mar 2023

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With all eyes from across Europe falling on the Nou Camp on Sunday night, Barcelona claimed El Clasico bragging rights thanks to a stunning last-gasp 2-1 victory against Real Madrid.

While Xavi’s side might have fallen to a shock early deficit as the returning Ronald Araujo steered into his own net after just nine minutes, Barca certainly came roaring back in some style.

With the versatile Sergi Roberto equalling the scoreline just seconds before heading into the half-time break, it was second-half substitute Kranck Kessie who wrote himself into the El Clasico history books.

Making what was a stunning cameo appearance off the bench, the ex-AC Milan midfielder handed Barca a commanding 12-point buffer at the top of the La Liga table after snatching a remarkable injury-time winner.

While Xavi’s side might have claimed three points on what looks set to be a season-defining showdown, Los Blancos once again showed the same domestic issues that have haunted them over recent times.

Left hugely frustrated at the Nou Camp and watching their La Liga crown slip away, Real Madrid have now recorded just a single victory from their last five domestic outings.

On a night that could prove to be a season-defining victory for Barcelona, what did we learn from Sunday’s El Clasico in Catalonia?

It would take a miracle to stop Barca now

Although Barcelona might have suffered yet another public European nightmare last month as they came crashing out of the Europa League at the hands of Manchester United, Xavi’s side are enjoying what has been a history-making La Liga flurry this season.

While many might have tipped Real Madrid as a standout pick to defend their domestic crown in 2023, Xavi’s youngsters have only continued on an astonishing romp this time around.

Mounting a famous last-gasp comeback here and now holding a stellar 12-point buffer over the chasing pack, Barca are breezing their way towards a first La Liga title since back in 2019.

Although Xavi might have had to deal with a real injury puzzle over recent months, fans around the Nou Camp are undoubtedly enjoying what has been their brightest run over recent times.

Although Sunday’s hosts might still be dealing with a host of issues behind the scenes at the Nou Camp, they have now lost just a pair of their 26 top-flight appearances this season.

Gaining a fearsome reputation from across Spain for their new-found defensive resolve on either side of the World Cup’s winter break, Barcelona now have their sights set on completing a real domestic silverware sweep.

Los Blancos’ domestic issues haunt them again

While Real Madrid might have punched their Champions League quarter-final ticket last week after storming their way to a 6-2 aggregate romp against Premier League giants Liverpool, Ancelotti’s men are enduring a worrying recent domestic wobble.

Although Los Blancos might have once again gained a string of praise from across Europe since opening 2023, the one-time AC Milan boss has accepted that the chance to defend their La Liga crown has gone up in smoke.

Suffering a real collapse in Catalonia on Sunday night and knowing that they will once again come under a huge amount of scrutiny back in the capital, Real Madrid have remarkably claimed just a single victory from their last five domestic showdowns.

Now sat 12 points adrift of their arch-rivals and knowing that they are now seeking a La Liga miracle, Ancelotti will be more than aware that his long-term future at the Bernabeu will have plenty of speculation.

With it suggested earlier in the year that the 63-year-old could be in line to take over at South American icons Brazil, Los Blancos are facing what appears to be a crucial summer behind the scenes.

Watching attacking talisman and reigning Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema now drawing a blank in each of his last four straight domestic appearances, it looks like Madrid will now be placing all of their eggs in this season’s Champions League adventure.

Xavi has Madrid’s number

Mounting a stellar comeback at the Nou Camp on Sunday night and now with one hand firmly wrapped around this year’s La Liga crown, Barcelona also extended on what has been a remarkable recent flurry against Los Blancos.

Sending the home support into overdrive as Kessie snatched what will be remembered as an El Clasico classic on Sunday night, Xavi’s side will almost be wishing that they could meet their arch-rivals more often.

Grabbing a rugged 1-0 victory when they traveled to the Spanish capital on March 2nd for the first-leg of this season’s Copa del Rey semi-finals, Barca have now won four of their last five domestic battles against Madrid.

Likewise, laying down what was a famous marker back in October as they lifted this season’s Spanish Super Cup thanks to a 3-1 romp in the Middle East, Xavi’s young squad has certainly got Madrid’s number.

Winning all three of their El Clasico battles since opening 2023, Barca will enter the international break with the mood in Catalonia at a red-hot high.

Match Report

Barcelona: Ter Stegen, Araujo, Kounde, Christensen, Balde, Roberto, Busquets, De Jong, Raphinha, Lewandowski, Gavi

Subs: Fati, Torres, Kessie,

Real Madrid: Courtois, Carvajal, Militao, Rudiger, Nacho, Kroos, Camavinga, Valverde, Modric, Vinicius Jr, Benzema

Subs: Mendu, Ceballos, Tchouameni, Asensio, Rodrygo

Goals: Barcelona: Roberto (45′), Kessie (90+2′) – Real Madrid: Araujo OG (9′)

Yellow Cards: Barcelona: Balde, Roberto, Raphinha, Fati – Real Madrid: Ceballos, Modric, Nacho

Red Cards: N/A

Referee: Ricardo De Burgos Bengoetxea

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom has spent the past six years as one of our senior writers and betting experts. Alongside working with numerous publications from across the globe, Tom also graduated from the University of Falmouth in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Digital Media.
Spending almost the past decade working in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, he has also spent time featuring in sports radio. Tom can be followed on Instagram - @iamtomdunstan

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