Denis Doyle

Real Madrid vs. Barcelona, 2013 El Clasico: An impressive, but controversial Merengues win

While Real Madrid were probably the better team on Saturday night, Barcelona were denied a legitimate penalty shout in the dying minutes of Los Merengues' 2-1 Clasico victory.

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Jordi Alba shoots the bird at Madrid fans...or not

Barcelona's Jordi Alba celebrated his team's goal against Real Madrid today by apparently shooting the bird towards Real Madrid supporters. Upon closer inspection though, it seems pretty clear that he has his index finger raised.

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Madrid win controversial Clasico

A controversial match ended in victory for Real Madrid, who certainly put in a good enough performance to defeat Barcelona despite some questionable refereeing decisions.

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Sergio Ramos' header puts Madrid up 2-1

Update: Real Madrid 2-1 Barcelona, final. Match report.

Just when it looked like Barcelona might get out of this game with a draw, Sergio Ramos has deservedly put Real Madrid back ahead 2-1.

Luka Modric provided the service on a corner kick in the 81st minute sending a curling cross towards the near post. Ramos simply out jumped Gerard Piqué, alright he towered over him, and sent a header towards the far post that beat Victor Valdés.

The facial expressions and body language from Barcelona players after the goal was telling as nearly all off them looked stunned, frustrated and/or defeated. If they can't find an equalizer in the final minutes of the match all the talk surrounding them at the moment is going to intensify, especially with Madrid leaving several key players out of this match.

Minutes later, Cristiano Ronaldo bounced a free kick off the post.

For Madrid it's a deserved lead after they've been generating the best chances over the past 30 minutes and in all honestly, they should be up more.

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Ronaldo and Morata have both had chances

Update: Real Madrid 2-1 Barcelona, final. Match report.

Cristiano Ronaldo just missed putting Madrid ahead in the 64th minute on a free kick from 30-yards out. Ronaldo got the chance after Pepe got past Thiago, forcing the Barca midfielder to pull him down to avoid a break on goal. Thiago was shown a yellow card but in the end it was worth it as Madrid failed to score.

In the 66th minute Pedro earned a free kick in the midfield after being taken down by Álvaro Morata. It's worth mentioning because in the post-foul fracas, one of Pedro's teammates appeared to accidentally kick the ball into his head as he laid on the ground.

The match rolled on with some frantic back-and-forth play that mainly stayed in the midfield. Entertaining to watch on one level and a bit dull on another, mainly because we know what these teams are capable of.

Ronaldo came close again in the 69th minute tearing through the Barcelona defense on a break, showing up his incredible ball control skills before putting his shot just off target into the side netting. Credit Gerard Piqué who made a fantastic tackle that cut off Ronaldo's angle enough to force the shot wide.

In the 75th minute it was Morata's turn to come close when he got behind the Barcelona defense into a one-on-one situation with Victor Valdés. The experienced goalkeeper did a wonderful job of racing off his line and cutting down Morata's options. Morata tried to get the ball up but it was blocked away by Valdés.

15 minutes left and we're still tied 1-1.

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Match still tied 1-1 with 30 minutes left to play

Update: Real Madrid 2-1 Barcelona, final. Match report.

Real Madrid put Barcelona under pressure right out of the locker room earning a dangerous free kick outside the Barca area. Luka Modric sent the ball into the center of the box but Pepe was beaten in the air and Barcelona cleared the danger.

There was a bit of a controversial moment in the 50th minute after Lionel Messi found Pedro with a splendid long ball as he ran one-on-one with Raphaël Varane. The defender blocked Pedro off the ball with a fine tackle but the linesman waved his flag and the referee awarded Barca the free kick. As if realizing it wasn't the best decision the referee called a foul on Barca on the ensuing set piece and nothing came of the situation.

The match's first yellow card appeared in the 51st minute after Sergio Ramos committed an intentional handball. For El Clasico, that's a pretty long wait for someone to go in the book.

Varane was on his game again in the 56th minute after Messi found David Villa racing into the Madrid area. For a second it look like Villa would be free on goal but Varane closed the gap and made another great tackle to prevent the chance.

For the third straight Clasico match, Varane is putting on a defensive show. Now we just have to see if he can score in his third straight derby as well.

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It's halftime at the Bernabéu

Real Madrid took an early lead thanks to Karim Benzema but Lionel Messi struck back for Barcelona and we're tied 1-1 at halftime.

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Things have calmed down a bit as halftime nears

Update: Real Madrid 2-1 Barcelona, final. Match report.

Madrid scored first, Barcelona responded, at least it appears we'ere in for an entertaining match today.

The goal from Messi appeared to calm down Barcelona and force Real Madrid to drop back just a bit and back off on their aggressive pressure in midfield.

Pepe was up to his usual antics in the 26th minute after taking a slight shot on his shin from Thiago. While there's doubt it hurt, Pepe made the most of the contact staying on the ground for a bit, rubbing his leg, waving his arm in the air and forcing the match to come to grinding halt.

Sergio Ramos caused some hearts to skip a beat in the 30th minute after stopping a ball right on the end line to prevent a corner. Pedro was right on top of Ramos and jumped on the lose ball but before he could do anything with it, Ramos made a fantastic recovery and took the ball right off his foot with an excellent tackle.

Things seems to have calmed about with 15 minutes left until halftime.

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Game on as Messi scores the equalizer

Update: Real Madrid 2-1 Barcelona, final. Match report.

Lionel Messi has pulled Barcelona even and tied Alfredo Di Stefano for the Clasico all-time scoring record with his 18th goal in this fixture.

Barcelona hadn't done much to respond to Real Madrid's early goal. Madrid is very active in the midfield putting heavy pressure on the ball and not allowing Barca to have extended possession.

Barca's first chance of any kind finally came in the 17th minute when Dani Alves found Lionel Messi racing into the Madrid box. The ball was good but Raphaēl Varane was all over Messi and never let him gain control and Diego Lopez picked up the ball.

A minute later there was nothing anyone could do to stop Messi.

The Argentine time his break perfectly and got behind the Madrid defense, receiving a beautiful long ball from Alves and racing into the Madrid box. Sergio Ramos recovered and established position in front of Messi but there was little he could do as Messi danced inside and hammered a low shot past Lopez.

Game on!

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Karim Benzema puts Madrid up early

Update: Real Madrid 2-1 Barcelona, final. Match report.

Karim Benzema has put Real Madrid in the lead early finishing off a great cross from Álvaro Morata.

Barcelona began the match with a horrible pass and turnover and it quickly got worse.

Madrid looked the more dangerous side early and in the 4th minute Kaka and Karim Benzema nearly combined for a chance in the Barcelona box. Kaka's back heel was picked up by Benzema but Javier Mascherano was up to the task and broke up the play.

Two minutes later Madrid were back after an interception in the midfield allowed Álvaro Morata to run down the left wing and send a splendid cross into the Barcelona area. Benzema blew past Mascherano and tapped the ball past Valdes to put Madrid up 1-0 early.

Not the start that Barcelona wanted at all. They needed to make some kind of statement in this game if for no other reason that to convince themselves they can still play with Madrid. Instead their defense was again leaky and they're trailing their rivals early.

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Real Madrid vs. Barcelona: Lineups

Update: Real Madrid 2-1 Barcelona, final. Match report.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Mesut Özil and several other regular starters are out of the lineup today as Jose Mourinho is clearly focused ahead on the Champions League. Raphaël Varane gets a second straight start and why not, he was superb on Tuesday. José Callejón and Álvaro Morata will get a chance to shine along with Kaka who's been playing very well of late.

Lionel Messi starts for Barcelona despite running a fever after the game of Tuesday. He's joined by David Villa who finally gets a start as Andres Iniesta drops back into the midfield as Cesc Fàbregas's expense. Thiago Alcântara is also in the lineup in place of the injured Xavi.

Real Madrid starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Diego Lopez; Sergio Ramos; Raphaël Varane, Pepe, Fábio Coentrão; Michael Essien, Luka Modric; Kaka; José Callejón, Álvaro Morata; Karim Benzema.

Barcelona starting lineup (4-3-3): Victor Valdés; Dani Alves, Gerard Piqué, Javier Mascherano, Jordi Alba; Sergio Busquets, Thiago Alcântara, Andres Iniesta; David Villa, Lionel Messi, Pedro Rodriguez.

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Team news and TV info for another Clasico

Real Madrid hosts Barcelona in the final league meeting of the season between the two rivals. It's not an important game for either side so it's a bit hard to predict what kind of match we'll see, but it's a derby so that's still fun.

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Video: A Clasico with little at stake

Barcelona have some things to sort out after losing to AC Milan in the Champions League and Real Madrid in the Copa Del Rey. Can they sort it out in a relatively insignificant Clasico?

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The hits just keep on coming for Barcelona

Less than two weeks after recovering from a similar injury, Xavi is back on the sidelines after suffering a minor tear in his right hamstring.

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Mourinho faces the ultimate test of his abilities

Real Madrid have no alternative but to rest players against Barcelona with their showdown against Manchester United looming, but it's where having José Mourinho as manager begins to pay off.

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It appears Jose Mourinho had a plan all along

If Real Madrid end the season with the Copa del Rey and Champions League titles in hand, it should be a vindication of Jose Mourinho and proof that he really had a plan all along.

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El Clasico: Didn't we just do this?

Just four days after Real Madrid took Barcelona apart at the Camp Nou to reach the Copa del Rey Final, the two sides will meet again for their final league match of the season.

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