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Barça and Real Madrid produced an encounter that lived up to its billing as the biggest game in world football. Even without goals, thjis game was an absolute cracker.
The 90-minute rollercoaster ride of pure intense, drama was a feast for the eyes. Either side could have won it, and although rival fans will have their own opinions, and a Clásico would not be a Clásico without plenty of those, ultimately a draw was probably the fair result.
Barça started brightly, but the first half hour saw Madrid producing an alarming amount of danger. Balls were flying into the Barça area from all angles, Clement Lenglet and Gerard Piqué both made last ditch clearances and Ter Stegen wasn’t given a moment’s respite.
With half an hour gone, and after Madrid had had seven shots, three on target, Barça finally found it themselves… through Casemiro!
Sergio Ramos blocked the thundering stray ball on the line. As has happened so many times before, Barça had soaked up a heap of early pressure and were now revving the engines to create some pressure of their own. In fact, despite being severely outdone in the chance-creating department, the blaugrana so very nearly had it on the edge of half-time. A beautiful chipped pass from Leo Messi and Jordi Alba had to score… but didn’t.
This wasn’t edge-of-your-seat drama. This was kneeling down in front of your seat with your hands on your heart drama. Not a minute had passed in the first half without something jaw-dropping happening. They don’t call these games El Clásico for nothing.
Thrills and spills
Nothing eased after the break. In fact, it was more intense than ever.
The standout moments included the extraordinarily sight of Messi (yes, Messi!) fumbling an absolute sitter, and Gareth Bale looking to have given the all-whites the lead but a matter of millimetres saving Barça thanks to a VAR offside review.
And yet despite all the action, and with the youngest ever player to appear in the fixture, Ansu Fati, coming on to try to make sure that it wasn’t going to be the case, with ten minutes to go we were headed for just the ninth goal-less Clásico in Liga history.
And both teams were still giving it 100% per cent. Searching for the final drops in the tank, there were late surges in both directions, but still the defences held out.
Deadlocked on the pitch, deadlocked at the top of the table, if tonight’s events are anything to go by, these season’s Liga title race could be one of the most gripping in a long time.
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