This latest edition of El Clasico got off to a fast start as Gerard Piqué earned a yellow card in the first minute for bringing down Cristiano Ronaldo just outside the box. Ronaldo took the free kick and forced an oustanding save from José Manuel Pinto, who pushed the curling shot wide of the goal.
Xabi Alonso and Sami Khedira had an excellent first half controlling the Barcelona attack for the most part. In the 7th minute, Alonso made a superb tackle on Lionel Messi to break up a move that probably would have led to a chance for the visitors.
Barcelona finally started to get things going in the 13th minute but still weren't clicking. Andres Iniesta's pass popped up in front of Jordi Alba who'd made a great run. It was an completely uncharacteristically horrible pass from Iniesta and it mgiht have been a shot attempt rather than a cross.
Ricardo Carvalho was shown a yellow card in the 16th minute for a high boot on Cesc Fàbregas and nearly earned a second five minutes later for a foul on the edge of his team's box. Xavi took the ensuing free kick, putting the ball over the wall and off the crossbar.
In the 24th minute Raphaël Varane saved Madrid's bacon after a horrendous turnover by Carvalho in the Madrid box. Xavi's shot beat Diego Lopez but Varane was in the right spot and the right time and cleared the ball off the line.
Madrid struck back in the 27th minute as Karim Benzema got in behind the Barcelona defense. A poor first touch cost the French striker as he popped the initial ball up and volleyed his shot in the side netting.
All in all a great first half with a ton of chances and end-to-end action. This match is definitely living up to the hype, hopefully the second half will be just as fun.