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Real Madrid 3-1 Barcelona Benzema ends drought De Jong overs

2022/11/24 02:57

Goals from Karim Benzema and Federico Valverde setReal Madridon their way to victory in the first Clasico of the season, adding toBarcelonas woeful week.

Benzema, the favourite to win the Ballon dOr tomorrow, gave Real the lead in the 12th minute before Uruguay winger Valverde added a second before the break.

Substitute Ferran Torres reduced the deficit with seven minutes to go but Rodrygo converted a stoppage-time penalty to seal the victory.

It takes the European champions top of the table and leaves Barca, who wereall but knocked out of the Champions League in midweek, and head coach Xavi with much to ponder.

The Athletics Dermot Corrigan and Ahmed Walid dissect the main talking points

Corrigan:Benzema came into the game knowing he was all but certain to win the Ballon dOr on Monday night, but his form in 2022-23 has not yet matched his incredible performances as Madrid won theChampions Leagueand league double last season.

TheFranceforward had gone five club games without scoring his worst run for two and a half years amid a couple of niggling injury issues. But 12 minutes into the Clasico, that spell was over as he confidently threaded a rebound past four Barca bodies between him and the net.

Real Madrids superstar striker scores first /Cje5NMEYiq

Premier Sports (@PremierSportsTV)October 16, 2022

He also might have had another early in the second half with a wonderful curler from the edge of the box, but the VAR confirmed he had been marginally offside. There was also his typical link-up work with Vinicius Junior and Luka Modric. Barcas patched-up defence was regularly torn apart.

Walid:For the first 20 minutes, it felt like Barcelona did not have a clue what to do in possession. Sergio Busquets, whose fitness and recent errors are earning him criticism from some Barca fans, is still important for Xavis side in possession. Carlo Ancelottis decision to put Modric on Busquets destroyed Barcas possession game early on.

It did not help that Barca defender Alejandro Balde was not high enough and that allowed Valverde to be in a good position to go inside and mark Pedri, which in return kept Aurelien Tchouameni free in the central zone.

Barcelonas solution was to drop Pedri into a left-back position with Balde pushing high to attract Valverde. This improved Barcelonas possession and helped create their best chances before Tchouameni started advancing towards Pedri even when he received the ball deeper.

Despite managing to create chances the most dangerous of those falling to Robert Lewandowski, albeit with him offside Barcelona looked unable to penetrate Real Madrids defensive block.

Corrigan:Xavi has used Pedri and Gavi as his first-choice interiores this season but after the problems against Inter Milan in this weeks chaotic 3-3 Champions League draw, he had to bring in Frenkie de Jong, leaving Gavi on the bench.

With both teams mirroring each other in midfield, De Jong was generally up against Toni Kroos through the opening 45 minutes. Kroos was well on top not allowing his opposite number to settle on the ball, and finding the space for his usual playmaking in possession.

The difference was most obvious in the opening goal. De Jong was not in the picture as Kroos drove forward deep into the Barca half, held off Busquets and played in Vinicius, whose shot was saved. Benzema knocked in the rebound.

Just after Madrid made it 2-0, De Jong had his chance to do something similar. He got free to hare forward deep into the opposition half, but then had little option but to shoot from an angle but it was straight at goalkeeper Andriy Lunin.

It was not all De Jongs fault the problems in Barcas team go deep but on his return to the team, he was not able to help much.

Fede Valverde with a beauty to double Madrids lead!