Barcelona managed to grab a narrow 3-2 victory against Real Madrid at the Camp Nou in the away leg of the Spanish Supercopa. Pedro Rodriguez, Xavi Hernandez and Lionel Messi scored the goals for the Blaugranas.
The match started as most of us expected, with Barcelona building patiently with long periods of possession and Real Madrid sitting deep in their own half. Pedro and Alexis kept opening the pitch from the wings, making themselves available, often cutting into the striking positions. A couple of missed chances by Lionel Messi contributed to the 0-0 result at halftime.
Barcelona were sloppy at the start of the second half, unable to adapt to the fact that Jose Mourinho asked his forwards to press more aggressively upfront. From that point on, the match was electric.
Cristiano Ronaldo headed a corner after beating Sergio Busquets in the air. Seconds later, Pedro equalised after an excellent long-distance assist by Javier Mascherano. Lionel Messi converted a clear penalty on Iniesta minutes later, stepping up to take responsibility once again.
Barcelona were dominating the game at that stage, looking sharper, fresher than their rivals. As a result, it was only natural that the legendary Xavi-Iniesta partnership linked once again to give the Blaugranas a comfortable 3-1 lead. The game was exactly were Tito Vilanova wanted it.
And then there was "that" moment. Iker Casillas blocked yet another clear Messi shot, allowing Real Madrid to counterattack in full flow. The ball eventually came to Victor Valdes, who embarrassed himself while failing to dribble Di Maria. A costly, unacceptable blunder by our usually reliable goalkeeper.
The final score was 3-2 after Barcelona had 70% possession and shot 16 times on goal - 6 of them on target.
While I would have obviously preferred Barcelona to travel to the Bernabeu with a 2-goal lead, the truth is this result isn't too bad at all - the Supercopa will be ours if we don't lose the return leg. Easier said than done, I know, but perfectly achievable despite the undeniable quality of the current Real Madrid squad.
Man of the Match
Andres Iniesta - El Blanquito Blaugrana was electric in midfield despite the aggressive, tight marking from Jose Mourinho's men throughout the whole match. Iniesta was clearly fouled by Ramos inside the area, enabling Messi to score from the penalty spot. Minutes later, he gave Xavi a golden assist after attracting up to 4 defenders with a classic magical run through the middle.
It looks as if Don Andres is determined to continue his impressive Euro 2012 form (where he was the tourmament's Most Valuable Player) into the new Barcelona season.
Way to go!
Victor Valdes – 4
Dani Alves – 7
Javier Mascherano – 8
Gerard Piqué - 7
Adriano - 7
Sergio Busquets – 7
Xavi Hernandez – 8
Andres Iniesta - 8
Alexis Sanchez - 7
Lionel Messi – 7
Pedro Rodriguez – 8
Cesc Fabregas - n/a
Cristian Tello - 7
Jordi Alba - n/a
Tito Vilanova – 7
Have your say
What did you think of Barcelona's performance vs. Real Madrid?
Who was your Man of the Match? What are your player ratings?
Did I miss out on any important points you would like to share with us?
I welcome and appreciate all respectful feedback.