Justice prevailed at the Camp Nou. Just minutes before Cristiano Ronaldo’s decisive goal at the Camp Nou, Gareth Bale thought he had put his side in the lead but the referee blew the whistle for allegedly fouling Jordi Alba, as the header went into the net. It would been a cruel way to lose or even not win a game as the Welshman’s goal was perfectly legitimate. It looked like salt was going to rubbed in the wounds of Real as skipper Sergio Ramos was given his marching order after getting the second yellow card of the game. Ronaldo had the final laugh as Bale delivered a superb right-footed cross, and the Portuguese chested the ball down before bulleting the ball into the back of the net and ending Barca’s 39-match unbeaten run. Also Read: Real Madrid vs Barcelona – As it happened
It was Barcelona who went into the lead through Gerard Pique’s header. The World Cup winning defender superbly got past his marker, Pepe and thumped the ball past the reach of Keylor Navas. It looked like that would go on to win the match then as neither side was able to force their way into the contest. Though there were passages of play that saw the ball move from one end of the pitch to the other, there weren’t clear goal-mouth chances in the first half. Karim Benzema latched onto Toni Kroos’ square ball and executed a peach of a bicycle kick from the ball bobbing up off a rebound to equalise the score.
Barca were always going to dominate possession and they did. There were a couple of free-kicks each from Ronaldo and Lionel Messi but neither of them threatened the goalkeeper. Messi had a very quiet game by his standards and couldn’t force his way in. Brazilian midfielder Casemiro was immense in breaking down Barca’s attacks and the overall defensive shape of Real, which was compact and solid, frustrated the buccaneering trio of Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar from forcing their way in the Real area. There was a shout for a penalty from Messi in the first half and Benzema was unmarked in his box when a cross came in from the right. Overall, Los Blancos deserved the result. This win might not manage to play a part in the title race but it would go a long way in wiping off some of the ignominy and disgrace that the most successful Spanish club suffered at at the wake of their 0-4 thumping they suffered in November.
Before the match kicked off, there was a moving tribute to football and Barcelona’s iconic figures, Johan Cruyff, who had passed away last week. The crowd cheered in unison in the 14th minute of the game to commemorate the Dutch maverick. Sadly, Barca couldn’t come up with a tribute with the result.