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Real Madrid - Barcelona | El Clásico 2015

The La Liga title race has shifted dramatically in favor of Barcelona after Saturday's edition of El Clásico. The Blaugrana were superior to Real Madrid from start to finish, absolutely wrecking them, 4-0. This result keeps them top of the league, and now gives them a six-point gap on Los Merengues.


It only took 11 minutes for Barca to capture the lead. Luis Suarez scored, which wasn't particularly surprising, but the setup certainly was. Sergi Roberto ran through Luka Modric before playing a perfect pass into the path of Suarez, who placed a shot inside the far post with the outside of his boot.

The next 30 minutes were fairly even, with Madrid getting the ball into the box on a regular basis, but Neymar effectively ended the match just before the halftime whistle. Andres Iniesta found him with a through ball after patiently waiting for the Brazilian to make the right run, and Neymar finished, though Keylor Navas probably should have been able to tip the ball out for a corner.
Madrid started the first half hot, with Claudio Bravo needing to make a couple of excellent saves, but their surge didn't last long. Barca secured the result with a 53rd minute blast into the top corner by Iniesta, assisted by Neymar with a gorgeous first-touch backheel flick.
At that point, simply to prove their superiority, Barca brought on Lionel Messi as a substitute. He helped to set up Suarez's fourth goal, completing the rout. Out of pure frustration, Isco would go on to pick up a red card between the goal and the end of the match.
Real Madrid: Navas, Marcelo (Carvajal 59'), Ramos, Varane, Danilo, Kroos, Modric, James (Isco 55', red 84'), Ronaldo, Benzema, Bale
Goals: None.
Barcelona: Bravo, Alba, Mascherano (Mathieu 27'), Pique, Alves, Busquets, Rakitic (Messi 57'), Roberto, Iniesta (Munir 77'), Suarez, Neymar
Goals: Suarez (11', 74'), Neymar (39'), Iniesta (53')

3 things

1. Iniesta isn't cooked yet -- At age 31, with over 700 games on his legs and some occasional poor performances over the last couple of years, you can be forgiven for thinking that Andres Iniesta is in decline. But he showed up everyone on Saturday, turning in one of his best performances of the post-Pep era. This was vintage, 2011 Iniesta.
2. Sergi Roberto is the hard-nosed utility man Barca didn't know they needed -- Barcelona's transfer ban has turned out to be a blessing. Without it, they might not know that La Masia had produced a guy who can play right back, defensive midfield and attacking midfield, and offer Barca the same ball-retention and ball-winning qualities at all of those positions. Roberto is having a great season, and he outplayed Luka Modric and Toni Kroos in this game.

3. Cristiano Ronaldo was butt -- It's hard for a forward to do much when their midfield is getting blown up, but this was a total non-performance from Cristiano. His team needed him to get them back into the match after Suarez's goal, when it could still go either way, and he didn't deliver.



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