Real Madrid vs. Barcelona, 2013 El Clasico: Xavi hits crossbar, has shot cleared off the line

Update: Real Madrid 1-1 Barcelona, Final Score

After a frantic first ten minutes that saw Real Madrid come close a couple times, the match settled down just a bit in to a fast paced, entertaining, back and forth affair. Neither team has been very good with possession in the midfield, but that has as much to do with the other team being aggressive as it does anything else.

Barca finally started to sit on the ball around the 17th minute, passing it around in the style we've all become accustomed to. Madrid are playing very compact formation early with a high defensive line and so far it's worked alright. Daring Barca to test a high line though seems like asking for trouble though in the long run.

In the 19th minute, Karim Benzima got behind the Barca defense on the right side of the box and nearly found a charging Cristiano Ronaldo with a cross. Just a second's hesitation from Benzima might have given Ronaldo the time he needed to get his head on the ball.

Barca roared back earning a free kick just outside the Barca box as Ricardo Carvalho was shown a yellow card for bringing down Andres Iniesta. Xavi took the free kick, lifting it over the wall but it hammered off the crossbar.

Barca should have scored in the 24th minute when Carvalho turned the ball over in his own box. Xavi's shot beat Lopez but Raphaël Varane was the man of the moment, clearing the ball off the line.

For more on El Clasico, head over to Real Madrid blog Managing Madrid and FC Barcelona blog Barca Blaugranes.

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