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Monday, October 8, 2012

El-Clasico Tide Turning Madrid Side

Barcelona and Real Madrid traded blows in the latest El-Clasico encounter but neither the Catalans nor their bitter rivals from the capital landed the knock-out punch as the teams shared a 2-2 draw in a pulsating encounter at the Camp Nou.

In arguably the world’s biggest football (plus political) rivalry, the two teams covered every inch at Camp Nou in a bid to nick the all vital win that means a lot more than bragging rights for either sides. But at the end of 90minutes, neither Cristiano Ronaldo’s nor Lionel Messi’s brace could separate the two teams.

Barcelona fell behind to a Cristiano Ronaldo goal midway into the first half but Lionel Messi, the only player alive who comes closest to being compared to the Portuguese whiz (and vice versa) leveled 8 minutes later. Two of the world’s best players then traded blows again in the second half with Messi scoring first for the Catalans in the 61st minute before Ronaldo ensured the spoils were evenly shared with his 66th minute equalizer.

It ended 2-2.

It goes without saying, however, that it’s Jose Mourinho’s men, and not Tito Vilanova’s who left Nou Camp the happier side when the final whistle was blown to end the 6th El-Clasico encounter this year.

Real Madrid may be 8 points behind the Blaugrana alright but the draw did the former more damage than it did to the latter. First, Barca were having the advantage of playing in their own turf and in front of the home crowd. Second, Tito’s side have had the better start to the season, winning all their matches in La Liga while Madrid have only started picking form right now in a season that has seen them lose two matches in 7 matches.

Although it could be argued that Barca were lacking in defence with Carles Puyol, Gerard Pique, Eric Abidal and Dani Alves all absent (the latter being substituted after picking up an injury), statistics show that the Barcelona are losing their dominance over their archrivals.

The draw means that Real Madrid have now lost only once in the last five meetings against the Catalans. But even that loss, (a 3-2 win for Barca in the Supercopa in August) wasn’t impactful since Madrid won the title having beaten Barca 2-1 in the first leg.

One player who has stepped up for Jose Mourinho’s side in those fixtures is Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese captain’s brace on Sunday night means that he has become the first player to score in six successive Clasico matches. He has also scored in his last five appearances at Camp Nou, plastering a ‘shut up’ tape across the mouth of those who branded him a big-game flop during his early career days with Madrid.

The record also shows that Barcelona are losing, or rather, have lost, their dominance over Madrid which was at it pinnacle during the reign of Pep Guardiola. Gone are the days of 5-0 drubbings that Madrid was handed on November 29 2010, or even the three straight loses that Barca recorded over the Mourinho’s men between August 17 last year and January 18th this year.

The tide seems to be turning to Madrid’s side, and against Barcelona. Quite unfortunate that we will have to hold our breath till the weekend of 2nd and 3rd March 2013 when the two teams clash at Estadio Santiago BernabĂ©u for yet another El Clasico. Cometh that day, we will be able to see how true or false this statement is.

And That's thesteifmastertake!!