As a show, the match was entertaining. Barca had clear cut chances besides the one put away by Cesc Fabregas. Real missed a few clear-cut opportunities but scored a half chance through a young centre back in Raphael Varane in that El Classico at the Bernebeu.
By some measure, it was a typical Barcelona versus Real Madrid fixture but played under cooler vibes and smarter tactics. The usual ping-pong between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo were never a big deal and the blow by blow attacks were enjoyed by Madrid for a change.
Barca enjoyed better quality on the day’s proceedings while Madrid had reasonable quality time with the ball. Their movement in midfield showed an improved construction by the mastermind, Jose Mourinho. The plan was never to stop the opponents from playing, but to push his team’s abilities to the maximum.
Still, they were not close to what that talent can do. In the middle of their worst campaign under the reign of The Only One, it remains to be seen if the approach will be implemented in the return leg at the Camp Nou.
The match was tidier and cleaner than many previous encounters. Both Messi and Ronaldo not scoring was testimony of fresh things happening, that they do not need to be gladiators even if they are protagonists. Many saw it as Barca losing their grip rather than Madrid getting their bearing right on the way to out-playing the Catalans.
It would be nice to hear the opinion of the neutrals.