Real Madrid vs Barcelona Match Preview
Real Madrid and Barcelona will clash at the Bernabeu on Wednesday in the UEFA Champions League Semi-Final first leg.
Lionel Messi will lead the Barcelona attack at Real Madrid.
This will be the third ‘El Clasico’ matchup inside of two weeks after a 1-1 La Liga draw in Madrid, and the Copa Del Rey Final that Madrid won 1-0 in extra time courtesy of a Cristiano Ronaldo goal.
The mind games between opposing managers with Barca manager Josep Guardiola telling the official UEFA website that Madrid will take “the tag of favorites” into the game.
Madrid boss Jose Mourinho responded in typically cool fashion when he told BBC Sport that “there exists no favorite.”
The excitement ahead of this game was summarized by Portugal legend Luis Figo. The winger has previously played for both clubs and told the official UEFA website he expects this tie to “go down in the history books.”
“These are matches that will always be remembered. They take place every year but they’re remembered due to the history behind the fixture. There’s a great rivalry between these clubs for football and also social reasons. That’s why they’re so big,” Figo told UEFA.com.
Defender Ricardo Carvalho is ruled out for Madrid while midfielder Sami Khedira is ruled out. Lassana Diarra is expected to replace the German international in the Real midfield.
Captain Carles Puyol and fellow defender Gabriel Milito are fit to play for Barca, while defender Maxwell is sidelined with a groin strain.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) and Lionel Messi (Barcelona) – With 15 goals and five assists between them in Champions League play this season, these two have more than lived up to their reputation as two of the world’s greatest players. The battle between these two attacking dynamo’s will have a huge say on the destiny of this Semi-Final.
Real Madrid vs Barcelona Match Report
Two late goals from Lionel Messi gave Barcelona a 2-0 win over Real Madrid in a bad tempered UEFA Champions League first leg.
Lionel Messi scored twice to give Barcelona a 2-0 win at Real Madrid.
Madrid adopted a defensive approach in the early stages and Barcelona found it difficult to penetrate the Real backline.
In the early stages Barcelona striker David Villa fired wide of the goalpost, and Iker Casillas saved well from Xavi and Villa.
Real defended will in the opening half hour but their attacking threat was limited to a long range Ronaldo shot that was saved by Victor Valdes.
The atmosphere in the stands and on the field and in the stands was hostile, and the first half was littered with late tackles, theatrics and heated off the ball incidents.
The atmosphere boiled over at half-time and as the teams left the field a melee ensued with players from either side getting involved in a physical altercation. The brawl resulted in Barcelona substitute goalkeeper Jose Pinto receiving a red card.
It remained 11 v 11 on the field, and the atmosphere did not lighten any when Real defender Pepe was dismissed for a reckless tackle on Dani Alves. The furious reaction of Real manager Jose Mourinho earned him a red card, and Madrid found themselves under huge pressure defending a man down.
Villa forced a good save from Casillas, before Messi opened the scoring with a valuable away goal. Ibrahim Afellay broke free down the right in the 76th minute and squared for Messi to finish at the near post.
With three minutes remaining, Messi gave Barca a 2-0 advantage in magnificent fashion. The Argentine playmaker picked up the ball 35 yards from goal, and accelerated past three defenders before firing home his 52nd goal of the season. The goal means Barcelona will take a convincing 2-0 lead into the second leg at the Nou Camp on May 3rd.
BAR – Lionel Messi (Ibrahim Affelay) 76’
BAR – Lionel Messi (Sergio Busquets) 87’
REAL – Casillas, Albiol, Ramos, Marcelo, Arbeloa, Alonso, Pepe, Diarra, Di Maria, Ronaldo, Ozil (Adebayor).
BAR – Valdes, Pique, Mascherano, Puyol, Alves, Busquets, Keita, Xavi, Pedro (Afellay), Messi, Villa (Roberto).
LiveSoccerTV Man of the Match: Lionel Messi (Barcelona).