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Why Barcelona Defeated Real Mardrid! - Sports - NaijaGrows

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Why Barcelona Defeated Real Mardrid! by sherifastro(m): 01:48 pm On 12 Dec 2017
Barcelona further tightened their vice-like grip on the LaLiga title by sweeping aside eternal rivals Real Madrid 3-0 on Saturday to leave the European champions 14 points adrift down in fourth place.

Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi and Aleix Vidal were on
target for the visitors in the second half as
Madrid paid for not taking their chances when
on top before the break.

Here are five conclusions to draw from El
Clasico:

TITLE DECIDED

The day before Santa Claus comes to Spain,
Barca already have what they most wanted for
Christmas.
Not only did they leave Madrid trailing, but
defeats for Atletico Madrid and Valencia this
weekend mean they now lead La Liga by nine
points.
Ernesto Valverde's men are unbeaten in 25
games, stretching back to their previous visit to
the Santiago Bernabeu when they were
outclassed as Real wrapped up a 5-1 aggregate
win in the Spanish Super Cup.
Back then, Real seemed all-conquering after a
first La Liga and Champions League double for
59 years, while Barca were reeeling from the
loss of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain.
However, thanks to Valverde's shrewd
management, the Catalans have bounced back
in incredible style, dropping only six points in
their opening 17 league games while their rivals
have floundered.

MADRID NEED FRESH LEGS

Real have paid a heavy price for not building
from a position of strength as they cashed in
rather than splashing out in the transfer market
in the summer.
Alvaro Morata, James Rodriguez and Pepe all
left, while Real failed to get their premier target
as Kylian Mbappe chose to join Neymar at PSG.
Missing out on Mbappe could prove even more
costly when Madrid face PSG in the last 16 of
the Champions League.
However, Real don't just need a refreshment up
front to offer back up to the ageing duo of
Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema, now both
in their ninth season in Madrid.
The hosts faded physically in the second half as
the toil of playing in six competitions this season
has become increasingly apparent in recent
months.

BARCA DEFENCE FOR REAL

The key to Valverde's rejuvenation of Barca has
been an unusual one for the Catalans.
Unlike the sparkling football shown by Pep
Guardiola or Luis Enrique's treble winning sides
in the past decade, Barca have built from the
back.
Goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen has been in
outstanding form, but Neymar's departure has
also allowed Valverde to play an extra midfielder
to offer more protection to the back four.
Barca have conceded just eight goals in their 25-
game unbeaten run, registering 18 clean sheets.

SPOTLIGHT FINALLY FALLS ON ZIDANE

"Tomorrow they are going to hammer me,"
recognised Zidane after his decision to
surprisingly start Mateo Kovacic instead of a host
of other attacking options such as Gareth Bale,
Isco or Marco Asensio backfired.
Zidane has enjoyed an almost flawless record
during his first two years in charge, winning
eight trophies including back-to-back Champions
Leagues.
However, his heaviest defeat as a senior coach
means his judgement is finally beginning to be
questioned.
And that pressure will only intensify unless he
can mastermind a way past free-spending PSG
come the new year.

A VERY MESSI CHRISTMAS

Ronaldo has hogged the headlines in the past
month after picking up his fifth Ballon d'Or to
move level with Messi in their personal battle to
be declared the best player of their generation.
The Portuguese was rewarded for his
remarkable goalscoring streak towards the end
of last season's Champions League with 10 goals
from the quarterfinals on as Madrid were
crowned champions of Spain and Europe.
However, in terms of consistent performances in
2017, Messi has been in a world of his own and
rounded off the year with another goal and
assist.

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