Real Madrid are 45 minutes away from virtually locking up the La Liga title. Thanks to some poor set piece defending and goalkeeping by Barcelona, Los Blancos lead 1-0 at halftime at Camp Nou. Sami Khedira applied the finish, but Pepe did the real work to win the ball in the air and cause the scramble in the box. Madrid haven't had much in the way of possession, but Barcelona's possession has created virtually nothing in the way of chances.
The goal came 17 minutes in and Pepe's setup was excellent. He beat Adriano badly when he rose up to meet the ball, and it's fair to question why Adriano was the man marking Real Madrid's best aerial threat. Victor Valdes couldn't hold on to the ball and no one could clear before Khedira applied the finish.
Barcelona don't have a shot on target in the box score, but they've come close with a couple of great chances. Iker Casillas has been brilliant so far, arguably the man of the match. He rushed out to grab the ball from Dani Alves on a breakaway run in the 5th minute, then later got in front of a shot by Xavi in the 27th minute and barely touched the ball wide of the far post.
For what seems like the first time ever in a huge game under Pep Guardiola, Barcelona looked panicked and impatient in the first half. They're going to have to settle down and start playing their regular game in the second half. A draw is a good result for Madrid, so Jose Mourinho might consider making a defensive change sooner rather than later.
We have live game coverage in our Barcelona vs. Real Madrid, 2012 El Clasico StoryStream. For more on the two teams, head over to Real Madrid blog Managing Madrid and FC Barcelona blog Barca Blaugranes.