LaLiga: Lionel Messi Defeated Real Madrid In El Clásico | Match Report

Lionel Messi scored a last-minute winning goal for FC Barcelona, who defeated Real Madrid in their own backyard at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in El Clásico and matchweek 33 of the 2016/2017 LaLiga.


PRE-MATCH
Real Madrid’s head coach Zinedine Zidane believed Wales international Gareth Bale was fit enough and included him in the starting eleven after returning from injury. The rest of the starting eleven was basically unchanged from previous matches. Nevertheless, Alvaro Morata, Isco and Marco Asensio were all on the bench.

Real Madrid | S-XI: Navas (GK), Carvajal, Sergio Ramos (C), Nacho, Ronaldo, Kroos, Benzema, Bale, Marcelo, Casemiro, Modric. Substitutes: Francisco Casilla (GK), James, Kovacic, Asensio, Morata, Isco, Danilo.

Luis Enrique made a few changes to his starting eleven. He had to start with Francisco Alcacer who replaced Neymar Jr, who was suffering a three-match ban. Andre Gomes and Javier Mascherano were on the bench.

FC Barcelona | S-XI: Ter Stegen (GK), Pique, Rakitic, Sergio Busquets, Iniesta (C), Suarez, Messi, Alcacer, Alba, Sergi Roberto, Umtiti. Substitutes: Cillessen (GK), Denis, Arda, Mascherano, Digne, Andre Gomes, Aleña.

FIRST HALF
The Spanish league leaders Real Madrid started the match very strong and probably outplayed FC Barcelona in the first 30 minutes. They put immense pressure on the FC Barcelona-goal, forcing Marc-Andre Ter Stegen to make several important saves. As the first half progressed FC Barcelona grew into the match. However, Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro scored the opening goal of the match in the 28th minute by tapping the ball into the back of the net. This was a “wake-up call” for FC Barcelona who pulled themselves together and began to outplay Real Madrid. Croatia international Ivan Rakitic found Lionel Messi with a brilliant pass. Lionel Messi scored the equalising goal after a brilliant individual performance in the 33rd minute. The first half ended Real Madrid 1, FC Barcelona 1.

SECOND HALF
FC Barcelona opened the second half much better than the first half. They had more fluency in their passing. Nevertheless, Real Madrid looked physically much stronger with great amount of pace. Real Madrid created several goalscoring opportunities primarily through Cristiano Ronaldo, who wasted several of the many chances created. Croatia international Ivan Rakitic had a phenomenal night as his stunned the Real Madrid players and fans with a long-range shot that went into the back of the net in the 73rd minute. Real Madrid’s captain Sergio Ramos made a reckless challenge on FC Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, which resulted the referee to show him the red card in the 77th minute. Despite playing with ten men, Real Madrid started to play much better that eventually leading James Rodriguez scoring the equalising goal in the 86th minute. However, if one has Lionel Messi one has no worries. The Argentine star Lionel Messi scored the last-minute winning goal for the defending Spanish champions FC Barcelona. The second half and the match ended Real Madrid 2, FC Barcelona 3.

CONCLUSION
It was a highly entertaining and intensive match between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona as the latter won after brilliance by Lionel Messi. It was perhaps the best El Clásico in many years.

Real Madrid played well both in the first and second half, being defensively solid and effective in their attacks and counterattacks but they lacked precision in front of the goal. Nevertheless, the red card shown to Sergio Ramos made it difficult for Real Madrid.

FC Barcelona were clinical in front of the Real Madrid-goal, which is the main reason for their triumph at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. Despite the win, Real Madrid played overall much better.

The Spanish champions FC Barcelona went top of the league table with 75 points, same as Real Madrid but with better goal difference. Real Madrid are now on a second place with 75 points in the league table, leapfrogged by FC Barcelona due to worse goal difference.

Nevertheless, Real Madrid still have one game in hand and still could re-take the first place in the league table of 2016/17 LaLiga.

NEXT MATCH
Real Madrid will face Deportivo La Coruña away from home and FC Barcelona will host Osasuna at Camp Nou on April 26.

PLAYER RATINGS
Real Madrid: Navas – 3.5/5, Carvajal – 3/5, Sergio Ramos – 3/5, Nacho – 3/5, Ronaldo – 3/5, Kroos – 3/5, Benzema – 2.5/5, Bale – N/R, Marcelo – 4/5, Casemiro – 3.5/5, Modric – 4/5. | Substitutes: Asensio – 3/5, Kovacic – 3/5, James – 3.5/5.

FC Barcelona: Ter Stegen – 4/5, Pique – 3.5/5, Rakitic – 4/5, Sergio Busquets – 3.5/5, Iniesta – 4/5, Suarez – 3/5, Messi – 5/5, Alcacer – 3/5, Alba – 3.5/5, Sergi Roberto – 3.5/5, Umtiti – 4/5. | Substitutes: Andre Gomes – 3/5.

MAN OF THE MATCH
Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)

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