A 4-goal first half. A 3-penalty second half. The world’s 2 greatest players scoring 4 of the goals, their nerves rock-solid as they slotted home penalty after penalty. 85,000+ fans. A red card and 7 yellow cards. The game had everything.
As the blaugrana entered the Bernabeu in front of an over-capacity crowd, the league season was pretty much on the line. Real Madrid, 4 points ahead on Barcelona in the table coming into the game, but tied with Atletico Madrid after their earlier win over lowly Betis, had a chance to sink their Catalan rivals.
However, the game kicked off in lively fashion and didn’t stop the whole first half. It took only 7 minutes before the visitors took the lead from a rifle-shot Andres Iniesta strike. A quick brace from Karim Benzema followed in a fast 4-minute spell, before Lionel Messi slotted home his first to level things at the half.
The second half started a little slower than the electrifying first half, but then quickly picked up speed. A series of penalties tested Cristiano Ronaldo and then Lionel Messi, with both superstars proving why they’re the best in the world at what they do. Losing Sergio Ramos to a red card for the first of Messi’s penalties, the second of his goals, proved too much for Madrid to come back from, and Barcelona held on to win and claim the tie-breaker if it comes down to it at the end of the season.
Where does this leave La Liga? This Barcelona win leaves Atletico in the drivers seat. Quite simply, if they win out then they win the league. Seems easy enough , right? Well, not when the final game of the year is away to Barcelona at the Camp Nou! Real Madrid will have to do something they’re unfamiliar with….cheer for Barcelona. A Barca win, coupled with Real Madrid winning their remaining games will give Real the league title. Real’s biggest challenges are going to be 2 upcoming away games at Sevilla and Real Sociedad. Can they quickly bounce-back from today’s loss? Not too long to wait and find out.