By Lorenzo Lara [Marca].
In a much-anticipated El Clasico encounter at the Camp Nou, Barcelona and Real Madrid were forced to settle for a point apiece. Barcelona were closer to victory through Luis Suarez’s header but the visitors managed a late equaliser through Sergio Ramos. We look at the keys to an intriguing encounter.
The success that both teams had in this department again proved to be key, with the goals coming from crosses into the penalty area. Barcelona have scored 58 times from set-pieces with Luis Enrique as coach, while the number stands at 19 for Zinedine Zidane, albeit with much fewer games.
Suarez and Ramos at it again
The Uruguayan has now scored four goals in El Clasico games with his latest bringing his Barcelona total to 96 goals. Sergio Ramos is an equally accomplished specialist at bagging important goals for his side and against the Catalans, he did so once more. That was his second goal in this particular fixture at the Camp Nou, both with his head and both to secure a point.
Iniesta and Modric
After the Spain international entered the field of play on 60 minutes, his side were much more assured with the ball. In just 30 minutes, he had a pass completion rate of 96 percent and only misplaced one of his 27 attempted passes. On the opposite side, it was a similar tale for Luka Modric, who was colossal. He played 62 passes and found a white jersey on 59 occasions, proving to be his team’s compass.
Pique and Varane
Both central defenders were very impressive and assured performers. Gerard Pique recovered possession for the Blaugrana on eight occasions, with the Frenchman doing so for Zidane’s men 10 times. In addition, the Barcelona man committed no fouls, while Raphael Varane gave away just one.
The last 10 minutes
This portion of the contest was key to the comeback. Real Madrid were losing and went on the attack, looking to level. Between the 80th and 90th minute, they had almost 70 percent possession and were rewarded for their pressure with Ramos’ equaliser. In the total count for the entire game though, the reigning LaLiga champions had the ball longer than their rivals.
Messi and Neymar disappoint
Both South American attackers were virtually anonymous, with the Argentine having just one effort throughout, a free kick that Keylor Navas saved easily. The Brazilian had a much clearer sight of goal but inexplicably sent his shot high and wide. He was also the player to lose the ball more than any other, on 25 occasions.
A similar scenario for Ronaldo and Benzema
Both Real Madrid forwards had little luck in the final third and largely failed to have an impact on proceedings. The Portuguese international always seemed to be on the periphery of things and finished with three shots on goal, but with no success. Karim Benzema went missing entirely and ended the encounter without a single shot to show for his efforts.
Lucas Vazquez and Sergi Roberto
These were the men who put in the hard yards and covered more distance than any other players on the park. The Real Madrid man clocked in with a total of 11.89 kilometres, compared with 11.57km for the Barcelona defender; the lungs of their respective sides.
Real quicker to the punch
As has often been the case throughout the season, Barcelona did more running than their rivals but Los Blancos were faster. Ten Real players recorded a top speed of over 30 km/h, compared with just four for Barcelona. Lucas Vazquez beat Jordi Alba in their own specific duel.
The Turk entered the action on 78 minutes, replacing Andre Gomes, with Luis Enrique attempting to secure more possession of the ball. However, it backfired as Turan didn’t help in that regard and committed the foul that led to Real Madrid’s equaliser.