Barcelona vs. Real Madrid: Halftime score 1-0, Neymar's goal has the Blaugrana ahead

David Ramos

A goal from Neymar in his Clásico debut combined with excellent possession play has Barcelona in total control as the match reaches halftime

Barcelona are deservedly in front at the halftime break thanks to Neymar's 19th minute goal. There's not doubt that Barca were the strong side in the opening 45 minutes but Real Madrid did show some signs of life late in the half.

More from out team blogsBarca Blaugranes Managing Madrid

Things nearly boiled over early as both teams were physical in the opening minutes. Sergio Busquets picked up the match's first yellow card in the 8th minute after he brought down Ángel Di Maria from behind roughly 30-yards from goal, towards the right side. Sergio Ramos got free on the ensuing free kick but was whistled for a foul inside the area, negating any potential threat.

In the 14th minute Ramos picked up a yellow card for a forearm shiver on Neymar. It wasn't the most violent of collisions but it wasn't his first foul either. A slight lifting of his arm into the Brazilian's chin was enough for the referee to book the Madrid man.

After controlling the ball for most of the opening 19 minutes, Barcelona broke through and took the lead thanks to their Brazilian summer signing.

Andrés Iniesta started the danger making a slicing run through the middle of the defense. In reaction, Madrid's defenders every so slightly compacted centrally, leaving some space on the left side for Neymar to play in to. Neymar did an excellent job staying even with Pepe as Iniesta found him with a perfectly placed pass on the left side of the Madrid box. Neymar's shot stayed low, got past Diego Lopéz and stayed inside the far post to put Barca up 1-0.

Lionel Messi nearly double the lead a minute later sending a shot just wide of the far post.

In the 26th minute Messi was causing trouble yet again making a run into the Madrid area on the right. Messi's cut back pass attempt for Neymar, who was again in space, was cut off well by Dani Carvajal who was likely the only thing that stopped Barca from going up 2-0.

Victor Valdés made a superb save in the 44th minute after Real Madrid finally showed a sign of life on the attack. Ronaldo unleashed a laser beam cross into the area that a sliding Sami Khedira was able to drag his leg back onto. Valdés was right on top of the play and blocked the attempt.

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Madrid players were convinced that Barca committed a handball on the play but the referee waved away their protest. Replays showed the ball did roll onto Mascherano's hand but it was completely unintentional.

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