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Oct 26, 2013

FC Barcelona Player's celebrating Neymar's goal against Real Madrid

Neymar got first first taste of "El Clasico" tonight and is still licking his lips with treat served by him. Everyone expected him to be overawed by the atmosphere that only a clash between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, but someone forgot to tell him all that. Neymar's first clasico was the best match he has played in a Barca shirt so far. He scored on and created the other to round off a brilliant individual night. Martino went with the best eleven available to him. The first eleven had Valdes, Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Adriano, Busquets, Iniesta, Xavi, Cesc, Messi and Neymar. The bench featured Pinto, Montoya, Puyol, Song, Pedro, Alexis and Sergi Roberto. Real Madrid went with more or less expected line-up - Lopez, Carvajal, Varane, Pepe, Marcelo, Ramos, Modric, Khedira, Bale, Ronaldo, and Di Maria. Ramos was deployed as a midfield enforcer.

Martino started Messi on the right with Cesc occupying the false -9 or better put false 10 role. That was giving us one more man in the midfield and also freeing Messi in attack. The initial ten minutes saw both teams vying for control with us virtually controlling the game. The first shot of the game came in the 12th minute with Messi's attempt being blocked by a sea of defenders. In the 18th minute Neymar saw a glimpse of his talent turning over two defenders but struck straight at Lopez. In the 19th minute Neymar who was playing his first Clasico gave Barca a deserved lead, a bit fortunate may be as a deflection side footed Lopez completely. Iniesta was the creative head behind that goal showing his trademark run in middle before slipping the ball to Neymar on the left. In the 21st minute Iniesta played a delightful ball from the middle of the pitch putting Messi onside, surprisingly Messi put his finish wide.

Iniesta's influence was growing in the game and so was Barca's. Towards the half hour mark, Real Madrid was trying to come back into the game and definitely was seeing more possession than earlier. In the 38th minute the first controversial moment of the game happened when Neymar was brought down by Carajval when he was playing in goal by Messi, but for some reason the referee deemed the foul fair and waved play on. In the 41st minute Messi won a free kick on the right side of the box after being fouled by Marcelo and Pepe. In the 43rd minute Valdes made a point blank save to deny Khedira what would have been a certain goal. Not surprisingly Pique was fully responsible for that chance, allowing a good cross reach Khedira.

To all our domination we only had two shots on target. We definitely needed to improve that in the second half in order to seal the game. Iniesta was the Chaos creator in chief. After the break Messi moved into a bit more center position. In the 54th minute Neymar forced a good save from Lopez after a floated long ball from Cesc put him on. In the 58th minute Valdes produced another great save this time off Ronaldo after once again we carelessly gave the ball away. We were becoming a bit rusty and mistakes were creeping into our game. In the 66th minute Valdes has to come off his line to hold the ball from reaching an on rushing Di Maria. In the 70th minute Martino made the first change for Barca - Sanchez for Cesc Fabregas. In the 72nd minute Benzema struck the woodwork with Valdes totally beaten. We were allowed Real Madrid to come back into the game. In the 76th minute Iniesta's shot from the edge of the box was deflected wide. In the 77th minute Iniesta was taken off for Song. In the 78th minute Alexis Sanchez sealed the match for Barca with a delightful finish after Neymar put him on with a delightful pass. It definitely sealed all points for Barca and in some style. In the 83rd minute Alves showed he is no less when it comes to tricks, completely fooling Ronaldo on the edge of the Real Madrid box and forcing a brilliant save from Lopez. In the 84th minute the hero of the night Neymar was taken off for Pedro. In the 86th minute Valdes made yet another save, yet again off Ronaldo. In the 91st minute Real Madrid pulled one back from a trademark counter-attack, with Jese Rodriguez being the beneficiary off a superb lay-off by Cristiano Ronaldo.

Tata Martino hoped the perfect the start for his debut Clasico. Neymar gave the early lead and Tata was instrumental in the second one realizing that Sanchez pace would trouble Real Madrid more than Cesc. That switch worked wonders, even though the goal was all about a sublime finish by Alexis Sanchez. Neymar definitely was the man of the match and was the best player on the pitch along with Valdes. Valdes, again played brilliantly making some unbelievable saves especially making some out of the world saves. The defensive fragility we are showing at the time by some careless plays would be a matter of concern for Tata. This season Iniesta's performance has been off the target for almost all the matches. Barca fans could not have hoped for a better time for him to be the Iniesta we know, he was sensational in orchestrating everything especially in the first half.

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