Lionel Messi displayed a clinical show of attacking football to help Barcelona overcome a 1-0 deficit to beat fierce rivals Real Madrid 3-1 at the Bernabeu last night.
With Christmas fast approaching, Real were presented with a sackful of chances to gift them a huge three points in the race for the title.
However they were left to suffer from poorly executed opportunities, and it was left to the magical touch of Messi to capitalise on Madrid’s demise.
Before the game, pundits were predicting Madrid to finally overhaul Barca’s dominance in the El Classico.
Although Madrid surprising took the lead through Karim Benzema with 23 seconds played, the league leaders were no match for what was an unstoppable performance from the Catalan’s midfield maestros.
The match build-up was mainly structured around the football superstars that are Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, and yet again one player prevailed on the big stage.
It took 5 minutes for the world footballer of the year to turn El Classico on its head. Within 4 minutes of Benzema’s opener; Messi took advantage of a Sergio Ramos slip before gliding the ball past two tackles and forcing a great save from Casillas.
Messi’s inspired presence on the game got its first reward, when yet again he unveiled a combination of divine ball control and remarkable decision making to slot a marvellous through ball to Sanchez who complimented the assist with a great finish.
The Argentine narrowly avoided a red card come the half time whistle. A yellow card for dissent was shortly followed by a trip on Alonso. The referee looked certain to pull out an inevitable second yellow, but quickly pulling away from the pocket when realising that the man who conceded the foul was the greatest player on the planet.
If Messi was sent off, then we would have been looking at completely different story.
With Fabregas taking a centre forward role in the second half, Sanchez and Messi provided the former Arsenal skipper with exceptional pace and precision crossing down the flanks.
Busquets, Xavi and Iniesta formed the three in midfield, and they supplied the wings with great passing whilst also balancing the threat of taking long range shots against Iker Casillas.
Xavi then struck the jackpot when his shot from 25 yards took a freak deflection off of Marchelo, wrong footing Casillas who scrambled to crawl the ball away but to no prevail.
Real Madrid had a number of chances to bring the game back to honours even, the pick of the bunch coming from an unmarked Ronaldo header which unbelievably failed to hit the target.
The game was then sealed by exhibition counter attacking football from the Spanish champions, as an exceptional run by full back Daniel Alves was followed with a great in-swinging ball to Fabregas who was there at the back stick to head home the sucker punch goal.
Madrid remain favourites to take the La Liga crown as they still acquire a game in hand, however Barca still have the attacking power to spoil Real’s title surge.