BARCELONA (Jordi Blanco, correspondent) – The Classic of Silence became the Classic of VAR. A slight grip from Clement Lenglet to Sergio Ramos to the right ended with the Andalusian central defender throwing himself to the left. He got up amidst fuss, forced the referee to consult the VAR and to the surprise of Barça, the referee pointed to the penalty spot. Goal, 1-2 and Real Madrid triumph at the Camp Nou by 1-3 with the final goal of Luka Modric.
If in the first half the referee did not want to know anything about a fall of Lionel Messi in the area against Casemiro, in the second he went to the monitor to check another play in the white area. Perhaps the difference was that. Definitive in the final result and that, for sure, will be talked about.
If Ronald Koeman warned of the importance of Ramos in Zidane’s schemes, it was for something. Perhaps he should have warned his players more emphatically about the need not to make such an intense marking, with his arms and grips, on the white captain, who took oil from a play that probably would have gone unnoticed in any other game.
With justice or without it, Madrid took three points that without being, at all, decisive in the fight for the title did mean a cushion of peace for Zizou, put in doubt after two consecutive defeats and that remains undefeated in the Camp Nou.
Barcelona was penalized for his lack of success in the last meters after a very outstanding performance in all areas of the field. He responded gracefully to Federico Valverde’s 0-1 with Ansu’s almost immediate draw and gave way to an initial half hour of constant give and take, almost no game in midfield, with continued comings and goings in which Thibaut Courtois first and Neto later avoided breaking a tie that Koeman’s team deserved per game.
More white possession and greater Barça intensity, Zidane’s men knew how to finish the first half with solvency, sleeping the game and leaving for the continuation a sentence that, seen as seen, could fall from either side.
Little did anyone know what would come next.
INTENSITY … AND STRIKE
Barça came out after the most intense break, unbalancing due to speed, strong in pressure and cornering a rival who was defending themselves with order but, it seemed, with more nerves with each passing minute.
Philippe Coutinho touched the goal, in a header that went wide at 53 minutes and the local team continued with its plan … Until the first Madrid appearance in the area came the key play … A ball into the area , the fall of Ramos, the penalty warned by the central and reviewed by the VAR. The goal. And the depression in Barcelona.
The 1-2 did not fit well Barça, who had a hard time recovering against a calm rival, who slept the game and was adding minutes calmly until an outcome open to anything. He revolutionized his Koeman team with the entry of Antoine Griezmann, Trincao and Ousmane Dembele first and with Martin Braithwaite in a desperate plan, but it was Madrid who had the best chances already with the broken game.
Neto, on three occasions, two to Toni Kroos and another to Ramos, miraculously avoided the 1-3 while Barça tried in every way but without any kind of success. And with Messi very far from what was expected, with 1-2 blessing Madrid’s victory … Modric’s 1-3 came to close the Classic. A goal probably already without real impact on the result but that sentenced a match marked by the VAR.