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Michelle Ackermann

Michelle Ackermann

Born in South Africa, soccer has always been a part of my life, and was pretty much ingrained in my genes. Journalism is my second love in life, and what better way to combine my two favorite things in life than to write about the one thing I am most passionate about. I follow the New York Red Bulls religiously, but have a deep passion for La Liga. This passion is part of the reason why I have moved to Barcelona to pursue my dream of becoming a sports broadcaster.


TANGENTS

Crucial Win At Bernabeu Puts FC Barcelona Back A-Top La Liga

Written by on December 11, 2011 | 7 Comments »
Posted in Barcelona, General, La Liga, Real Madrid

It was a match anticipated by millions; the clash of Spanish Superpowers FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. A derby that has come to be known as “El Clasico”- a rivalry that sees the best of Spanish futbol face off; Lionel Messi v. Christiano Ronaldo and Guardiola v. Mourinho. But while many may be so swept up in the big name showdown, they are unaware that this rivalry is one of political, social and regional relevance that dates back to 1902. Today, the rivalry has become one viewed by millions worldwide.

As expected, the game did not disappoint. Both Pep and Mou made some decisions that were questionable by some, and for one, it seemed to pay off; Mourinho had chosen to put Higuain on the bench and place younger striker, Benzema up front aside Ozil. At first glance, literally, 21 seconds in, this seemed to have been a brilliant move on Mou’s behalf. Regardless of the fact that the only reason for the goal being allowed by the Barcelona defense was a miscommunication in the backline. That did not matter; Benzema had gone to score the fastest goal in Clasico History, and only the 5th goal between the two teams in the first minute.

At the other end, fans were left wondering why Guardiola had chosen to bench star-striker David Villa as he opted for an offense consisting of Alexis, Messi and Fabregas. Doubters were silenced and quickly reminded that Guardiola always makes the best decisions when it comes to his squad. The formation and selection of players that he chose for this, the first “El Clasico” of the season was one that certainly paid off.

Real Madrid may have scored the first goal before the first minute had passed, but slow and steady wins the race. Alexis would be the one to equalize for FCB in the 30th minute, with a strategic play set up by none other than Lionel Messi.

Halftime at the Bernabeu, it certainly seemed anyone’s game, but Barcelona emerged from the locker rooms with a clear mission at hand. Before the 65th minute, two goals had been added to the Barcelona score sheet, Xavi and Fabregas joined Alexis to make it a solid three. The game would seem to highlight that the talent acquired by Barcelona had what it takes to make a difference in this Spanish Superpower.

The game did not disappoint, but knowing that it could have been a 6-6 game if both sides had truly capitalized on their plays, made this “El Clasico” a mediocre one. It was a decent game, make no mistake, but was it the best clash historically?

Even worse was the fact that Christiano Ronaldo and Messi seemed almost invisible in the match; Messi may have been responsible for assisting in two of Barcelona’s goals, but watching the game, it seemed that he had not gone to the Bernabeu to play. Perhaps this is the element that sets him apart from Ronaldo; his ability to step back and let others shine? Still baffled by the Ronaldo obsession; what exactly is it that he does; take penalty kicks and corners, but what about the rest of the ninety minutes? It would have been a more enticing game if both Ronaldo and Messi had played in the manner that people have become accustomed to seeing from these superstars.

So, what went wrong? For Real Madrid, the lack of passing amongst the offense seemed most troublesome, and it seemed as though the Real Madrid players were out for personal glory. On the other end of the field, it seemed as though Casillas, often referred to as the greatest keeper in the world seemed to put an end to all of Barcelona’s strategic plays. One must be honest, if it was not for Casillas, this game could have ended a 6-1 game at the Bernabeu.

This game was more than just a rivalry match for Barcelona; it was a chance to equalize the playing field in La Liga, but Barcelona did more than just that. They equalized and overtook Real Madrid on goal differential, while putting an end to Real Madrid’s 15-game winning streak.

La Liga is alive again as the two superpowers are tied. What will it take for Mourinho to break through Guardiola’s Empire?


7 responses to “Crucial Win At Bernabeu Puts FC Barcelona Back A-Top La Liga”

  1. Gus Keri says:

    Michelle:

    “Even worse was the fact that Christiano Ronaldo and Messi seemed almost invincible in the match”

    Did you mean to say “invisible”?

    Any way, I thought what decided the match is the superb Braca defense.

    It’s funny how pundits always claim that the weak point of this Braca team is their defense.
    It’s probably because of the offensive style they play, they leave themselves vulnerable at the back. And the fact that they have some of the best offensive stars of the game didn’t make it easy for the defense to be noticed. People think that their defense is no good.

    But yesterday, they showed the rest of the world that they don’t only possess a very powerful striking force, but also they have an excellent defense to go along with it.

  2. Thanks for catching that Gus! I guess that is what happens when one tries to write an article at 7am….haha.
    I have to agree with you; in my previous article I had noted that the only threat Barca faced in this match would be a lack of solid defense, but when it matters, Pep and his boys always step up. Just content that La Liga is equalized again, regardless of the fact that it is a two-horse race.

  3. Gus Keri says:

    I just wanted you to be careful using certain words that Arsenal fans claim the copyright to.
    “Invincible” is engraved in their minds to the point that, it offend them if it was mis-used.

  4. Colossal Cole (Producer) says:

    Just as Jamie Cullum sang: “these are the days that I’ve been missing…”
    A great article is just as great as a fantastic summer wine. I know I was drinking to the Barca win…

    Once again Miss Ackermann, you’ve delivered the truth with a touch of class & pursuit.
    But I guess we all sniffed out the glue of what would probably stick,
    When Guardiola & his Spartans of Barcelona took to pitch right…

    “La Liga is alive again as the two superpowers are tied. What will it take for Mourinho to break through Guardiola’s Empire?”

    I’m thinking the very same thing!

    Thank you for the great article Miss Ackermann much obliged…

  5. Soccerlogical says:

    “La Liga is alive again as the two superpowers are tied..”

    Tell that to the other 18 teams whose TV revenue and budget is a pittance compared to the BIG TWO.

  6. Ashraf says:

    It is funny, Michelle, you said:
    “Mourinho had chosen to put Higuain on the bench and place younger striker, Benzema up front aside Ozil.”
    Benzema is only 9 days younger than Higuain.

  7. fuk barca says:

    hmmm … messi was invisible? two assists and occupying two defenders with his runs all day .. great performance

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