Barcelona closed the game at the Santiago Bernabéu with 35.6% possession. You have to go back to before Pep Guardiola sat down to take over the Camp Nou in 2008 to find a party with worse data on leather possession. “We cannot boast of how. It wasn’t the game we wanted, but sometimes the opponent takes you to a stage where we also have to be able to control. We are before Madrid. We have not betrayed any style”, analyzed Xavi. And he asked: “How do you take the ball away from Kroos and Modric?” He himself answered: “It’s time to defend and we have been extraordinary.”
Courtois, Dani Carvajal, Rüdiger, Eder Militao, Nacho (Rodrygo, min. 66), Federico Valverde, Modric (Álvaro Rodríguez, min. 84), Vinicius Junior, Kroos (Aurelien Tchouameni, min. 73), Camavinga and Benzema
Ter Stegen, Koundé, Ronald Araújo, Alex Balde, Marcos Alonso, Kessié Franck (Sergi Roberto, min. 85), Frenkie De Jong, Busquets, Raphinha (Ansu Fati, min. 69), Ferrán Torres and Gavi
goals 0-1 min. 25: Eder Militao (pp).
Referee Jose Luis Munuera Montero
yellow cards Vinicius Junior (min. 24), Raphinha (min. 44), Gavi (min. 50), Nacho (min. 55), Kessié Franck (min. 66), Federico Valverde (min. 72) and Hernández (min. 91 )
“Defensively we have been spectacular. We could not be protagonists, but today was not playing. They didn’t have chances, we did a great defensive job”, assessed Araujo, in charge of stopping Vinicius. “We know of his quality. It is spectacular, today he left for our side, there are more duels with him, ”said the Uruguayan about his rivalry with the Madrid winger. Sergio Busquets, captain of Barcelona, who on Thursday became the player with the most clásicos played (46), confirmed: “Very happy to be the player with the most clásicos, I have been lucky to be here for many years and to continue. We have competed well. We were supportive. We have done a good defensive job, the result gives us a small advantage for the second leg with our fans”. And Xavi finished off: “We have minimized a Madrid in their field that usually has many chances. In defense we have been extraordinary, defending is part of the game, obviously it is not our first objective, but today that we have not been good with the ball we have been without it. That is also important to us.”
Sergi Roberto, a son of La Masia, from the outset sat on the bench at the Santiago Bernabéu. After in the duel against United in the Europa League he bet on the youth squad, usually a winger, in his midfielder, a winger at Old Trafford, Xavi Hernández backed down at the Bernabéu. Less play and more muscle. And there are few more physical players in the Barca squad than Franck Kessié. “The coach believes it is convenient that Franck enter today,” said Sergio Alegre, Xavi’s collaborator, in the preview of the classic. The move did not fail the Barcelona coach. In a duel in which Barcelona distanced itself from its essence, the interior of the Ivory Coast put on the leading suit in Chamartín.
Pedri, Lewandowski and Dembélé absent — “They are important players, but we trust the players who will take their place today. You have to follow the game model, ”said Alegre in the preview—, Xavi did not find solutions on the bench to support his game idea. Raphinha does not finish starting, Marcos Alonso is an option as a left center but not as a winger and since Ansu Fati returned from Qatar he has been lost. “The rival brings us a defender. We have not been good with the ball, normally we are less weights. Today we have not chosen well, the rival has pressured us throughout the game and is leading us to this game”, said the Barça coach.
Barcelona, then, did not have a name to cling to to take the Bernabéu. “We have to bet on team play”, announced from the Barcelona coaching staff. And the Barça team had no complex in handing over the leather to Madrid. The plan, in any case, did not go wrong for the Catalan coach, nor did the commitment to Kessié.
The former Milan midfielder slipped into the area to sign the only shot between Barcelona’s three posts in the entire game. His shot was stopped by Courtois, but Militao ate the rebound and the ball slipped into the white goal. Kessié’s goalscoring adventure could have been greater if Ansu Fati had not stopped him from a shot that was destined for the white goal net. Kessié was added, then, two shots on goal. The only two from Barcelona. “The midfielders have been very tired Busi, Frenkie Kessié… We often suffered in games like this. Today we practically did not do it ”, finished off the Barcelona coach, who replaced Kessié in the 84th minute. In any case, he had already complied. So, it was time for Sergi Roberto.
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