Real Madrid versus Barcelona – First half review: La Liga (Part 1)

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Brendan Taylor

Football (soccer) News
  • Real Madrid versus Barcelona – First half review: La Liga (Part 1)

Real Madrid and Barcelona played the second El Clasico of the 2010-2011 La Liga season on 16th of April, 2011, at Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid. Jose Mourinho put out a defensive Los Blancos side. The Portuguese manager was quite cautious in selecting his starting eleven for the match against Barcelona with Mesut Ozil left on the bench.

Mourinho started with Karim Benzema as his solitary striker with Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo on the wings. In central midfield, Pepe played as Real Madrid’s defensive wall while Xabi Alonso and Sami Khedira were given the creative responsibilities. At the back, Mourinho opted to start with Ricardo Carvalho and Raul Albiol in central defense while Sergio Ramos and Marcelo played as Los Blancos’ flanks.

On the other hand, Barcelona went with their usual offensive trio, Lionel Messi, Pedro Rodriguez and David Villa, in attack. In midfield, Sergio Busquets was accompanied by his compatriots Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta. Carles Puyol made a surprise return to Barcelona’s starting eleven, paired up with Gerard Pique in central defense by Pep Guardiola. Adriano and Daniel Alves started the match as Barcelona’s full backs. Iker Casillas took his customary place in Real Madrid’s goal whereas Victor Valdes did the same for the men in purple.

Barcelona started the match in their typical style as Pep Guardiola’s team looked to cement their place in the center of the park by maintaining a monopoly over ball possession. Alternatively, Real Madrid were comfortable defending with 10 men behind the ball and forcing Barcelona to submit possession whenever Xavi and Iniesta passed the ball towards narrow corridors on either side of the field to the likes of Daniel Alves and Adriano.

Madrid was also quite aggressive in their tackling and this was showcased by Pepe’s foul on Xavi in the 3rd minute of the match. In the 5th minute, Real Madrid fired a long ball towards Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese winger tried to utilize his blistering pace to edge past Adriano on the right wing but Barcelona’s left back defended resolutely and won a free kick after Ronaldo nudged him on the back.

In the 6th minute, Lionel Messi found himself in space outside the Real Madrid penalty area. The Argentinean forward tried to play in his attacking partner, David Villa, but Sergio Ramos intercepted the pass as the score line remained 0-0 at Santiago Bernabéu.


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