In Battle Of The Fallen Giants, Real Madrid Takes El Clásico
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For 70 minutes it looked like we’d ultimately have to praise the goalkeepers following today’s LaLiga match between Real Madrid and Barcelona. With all due respect to the position — I love you, I admire you, I know your inner strength — thank god that’s not the case.
No one wants the “Greatest Show on Earth” to be dictated by positional killjoys, and this season’s second El Clásico finally got the goal(s) it deserved.
Thanks in large part to Gerard Piqué’s knee, Vinícius Júnior saved us from 180 minutes of scoreless 2019-20 Clásico action as the Real Madrid winger’s 71st minute attempt was deflected beyond Marc-André ter Stegen.
With four shots on target and Lionel Messi menacing throughout, Real had Thibaut Courtois to thank for the clean sheet, but the home side also could’ve found the opener well before the Vinícius effort. However, the first half was all Barça with Antoine Griezmann, Arthur and Messi all failing to convert glorious chances.
21’: Griezmann fires over.
The first big chance of the match falls to @AntoGriezmann!
— LaLigaTV (@LaLigaTV) March 1, 2020
34’: Arthur is stonewalled by Courtois.
38’: Messi meets the same fate.
But Real grew in the second half with Isco forcing Ter-Stegen into a wonder save in the 56th minute…
Isco sends a curler towards "where the spiders live" but Ter Stegen comes up big for @FCBarcelona.
— beIN SPORTS USA (@beINSPORTSUSA) March 1, 2020
And then Piqué cleared one off the line. However, Real would not be denied and the 19-year-old Vinícius forced the opener in the 71st.
Barcelona’s equalizer briefly appeared imminent when Messi was bearing down on goal, but how about this tackle from Marcelo?
If the first goal was somewhat fortuitous, so was Real’s second. From a tight angle, Mariano looked to get any contact on the ball in the second minute of second half stoppage time. Thankfully for the Dominican Republic international, his slap bounced off the turf and over Ter Stegen's arms for Real’s late insurance goal.
Real returns to the top of the table with a one-point advantage and 12 matches remaining. Neither side is still alive in the Copa del Rey and both figure to be bounced from the Champions League sooner rather than later.