Saturday, December 14, 2019

Real Madrid 0-1 Barcelona: Rakitic’s Chipped Finish Makes The Difference At Santiago Bernabeu

Juan Pablo Aravena in Editorial, La Liga 2 Mar 2019

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FC Barcelona seem to be making a habit of defeating Real Madrid this season. After eliminating their rivals from the Copa del Rey earlier this week, now Los Blaugranas have once again secured a win at Santiago Bernabeu. Ivan Rakitic scored the lone goal of the match midway into the first half.

The match started with a decent degree of intensity, something common in these types of matches. Real Madrid had the first chance in the 13th minute when Raphael Varane sent a header over the bar in a good position, but Barcelona responded six minutes later through Lionel Messi. The Argentinian superstar unleashed a shot that went slightly wide when Thibaut Courtois was absolutely beaten.

Los Blaugranas kept moving the ball around and eventually opened the score in the 26th minute. A great one-two between Sergi Roberto and Rakitic found the Croatian all alone in front of Courtois, and the former Sevilla star beautifully chipped the ball over the keeper. It was a thing of beauty, and it allowed Barca to go on top by one goal at the break. Barca could have added another goal before half time, though. Messi had two clear-cut chances, but he wasn’t accurate.

Los Merengues changed their approach ahead of the second half and, at least in the first few minutes, they looked far more threatening. Vinicius Junior was quite active and created two chances in the first 15 minutes after the break, but Marc-Andre Ter Stegen denied him time and time again. One would have thought that Real Madrid would go all out trying to find an equalizer, but they lacked ideas once Toni Kroos and Gareth Bale left the pitch.

In fact, there weren’t many clear chances during the reminder of the contest. Ousmane Dembele and Messi were the most threatening players, but both of their attempts went narrowly wide off the post. Madrid just didn’t have enough in them to create many chances and as a result, Alberto Undiano Mallenco blew his whistle signaling the end of the match.

With the win, Barca now have a 10-point edge over Atletico Madrid at the top of the standings, but Diego Simeone’s men have one fewer game. Meanwhile, Real Madrid are now 12 points behind Los Blaugranas and, with 12 matches left in the schedule, it seems they’re officially out of the title race. Quite a disappointment for Solari’s men.

Match Report

Real Madrid: Courtois (5); Dani Carvajal (5), Varane (6), Sergio Ramos (4), Reguilon (5); Modric (6), Casemiro (5) (Isco (-), 76′), Kroos (6) (Valverde (6), 55′); Bale (5) (Asensio (4), 61′), Benzema (5), Vinicius Jr. (6)

Subs not used: Navas (GK), Marcelo, Lucas, Dani Ceballos

FC Barcelona: Ter Stegen (6); Sergio Roberto (7), Pique (6), Lenglet (7), Jordi Alba (5); Rakitic (8), Sergio Busquets (7) (Nelson Semedo (-), 92′), Arthur (6) (Vidal (5), 71′); Messi (7), Suarez (5), Dembele (5) (Coutinho (-), 78′)

Subs not used: Cillessen (GK), Umtiti, Alena, Malcom

Goals: Rakitic (0-1, 26′)

Referee: Alberto Undiano Mallenco

Yellow cards: Sergio Ramos, Asensio, Dani Carvajal (RM); Busquets, Lenglet (BAR)

Attendance: 78,921


Juan Pablo Aravena

A freelance writer and sports analyst with almost five years of experience in the industry before joining SoccerNews, Juan Pablo Aravena is based in Chile and currently contributes to several publications and websites including SoccerNews, 12up, and Sports From The Basement, while also working as a fantasy beat writer for RotoWire, as a database editor for EA Sports, and as a football analyst for SmartOdds and InsideFutbol. His areas of focus are Serie A, Bundesliga, Premier League, LaLiga, and Ligue 1, but he has also written about MLS and South American football in the past.



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