Jordi Blanco (Correspondent in Barcelona) – Real Madrid is the new leader, at least until Sunday night, of LaLiga. El Clásico was great, a lot, for Barça in a first half in which it barely existed in attack and time was insufficient in the second, when it improved with the change of Griezmann for Dest, cutting the local advantage but without reaching equalize. The 2-1 was not enough and he left Valdebebas empty, Madrid enjoying a victory suffered and with a point of controversy, with a fall of Braithwaite in the local area that the referee did not attend, so that he did not miss no problem.
The drawing did not change but the Barça coach did change the pieces, returning De Jong to the center of the field with the intention of imposing the game there, sacrificing Griezmann and giving Araújo entrance in defense … And Zidane’s response, as if I would have guessed Koeman’s intentions, it was superb with the presence of Federico Valverde instead of Marco Asensio, reinforcing the muscle and speed in the central zone to deactivate the idea of Barça. It worked for him, in the first half, perfectly.
Courtois began saving a poisoned center from Alba that was looking for Dembélé but that Barça arrival with danger was just a mirage before what was coming. Just four minutes later, without yet reaching the quarter of an hour, a quick against Real took the left-handed Barça side out of position, the ball arrived on the band to Lucas Vázquez and his closed center finished it off, magnificent in the unmarking and more in the definition , Benzema with his heel to achieve the first.
That goal hurt Barça, since taking control of the game did not scare in attack and gave Madrid calm, well in defense, superior in the center of the field and vertical in attack. And so came the second blow, which almost definitely brought the Catalans to their knees. A forced foul by Vinicius was launched by Kroos, the ball bounced off Dest’s back, threw Ter Stegen off the track and slipped past the local euphoria and visitor despair, as helpless as he was desperate …
In fact, until halftime he hardly existed in attack. Dembélé did not give a right and it was not until the last breath that he enjoyed two occasions, the only ones since that save by Courtois at nine minutes, with a direct corner from Messi that crashed into the post and a subsequent shot that was rejected .
Koeman reacted at half-time retouching the drawing, with the entry of Griezmann by Dest, the relocation of Mingueza on the side, the rise of De Jong to the center of the field and Messi positioning himself as a false nine. And Barça thanked him in his game, much more
incisive, offensive and uncomfortable for Madrid, increasingly shy about the rebellion of the visitors.
The award came at game time with Mingueza’s goal, the first he scored in the season, and redoubled the hopes of a Barça that increasingly against the clock went to seek the equalizer with determination, with conviction and with so much desire. like those that Madrid put in defending its meager income.
He continued to play Koeman pieces with the entries of Sergi Roberto and Ilaix first and Trincao and Braithwaite later reaffirming his intentions but he resisted with everything and against the entire Zidane team, which also refreshed his team and must have trembled with the fall of Braithwaite before him Suspicious imbalance of Mendy that despite all the protests Barça did not consider a penalty the referee five minutes after 90.
The last effort was not enough for Barça, attacking with fury and in every way, even with a shot from Ilaix to the crossbar in the last breath. Madrid won, without the Classic escaping controversy, and is the new leader of LaLiga.