FC Barcelona’s goalkeeper flubbed a clearance resulting in a Real Madrid goal in the first minute of the game but with a little luck and resiliency, Barcelona won 3-1 to tie their rivals as league leaders in Spain.
It took 247 games in the 109-year rivalry, but Karim Benzema scored the fastest goal in Clasico history. The Frenchman partially can thank Barca’s keeper Victor Valdes for the record of 22 seconds. Conceding so quickly brought flashbacks of this year’s the Champions League when AC Milan’s Alexandre Pato scored in the first minute against Barcelona. It appeared that Madrid would get their payback after their head-hanging 5-0 defeat last year to their bitter enemies.
Soccer’s Yankees Vs. Red Sox started off on a shocking note and Madrid had another opportunity to go up by two goals when Cristiano Ronaldo deferred an open pass to eventually miss at his own attempt at goal. That decision would haunt him minutes later as Leo Messi would three escape defenders to push forward a through ball to Alexis Sanchez to equalize.
Missed opportunities and unfortunate calls for Madrid lead to their downfall. Before the half Messi could have been sent off after a tackle on Xabi Alonso but the referee, who looked like he was planning on booking him reneged. Already booked for a yellow card moments before, the possible red card ejection would have changed the scope of the entire match. With that luck begot more luck in the second half with a deflection own goal by Madrid back Marcelo to give Barcelona the lead 2-1 in the 53rd minute. Sealing the victory in the 66th, Cesc Fabregas heads a goal on counter-attack after Cristiano Ronaldo’s own botched clear header opportunity.
Ronaldo is the LeBron James of the soccer world. As easily one of the best in the game both in skill, talent and recognition, they also both share the lack of finishing when needed the most. Ronaldo leads La Liga in goals this season, yet he failed to score and even more strike on target. Even with a bevy of talent surrounding him, Real Madrid again proves not how deficient they are but instead how excellent Barcelona is to come back from adversity.
Madrid, on the other hand, can be best compared to the NY Jets in last years AFC title game – playing their best for only one half. Blame it on destiny for the Barcelona win last night, but take away last year’s Copa del Rey final and Barcelona has whooped Madrid in every other critical matchup in the past two years. And that’s far from luck.