June 20, 2013
Motivated Madrid beat Barça, Messi breaks 'Clásico' record
With many of their first team players on the bench as José Mourinho decided to reserve them for the week’s Champions League - including Cristiano Ronaldo – Real Madrid gave another excellent performance to beat Barcelona 2-1.
Stunning Barcelona with an early goal after Alvaro Morata provided a brilliant assist on the 6th minute goal setting up Karim Benzema. From the left flank, Morata whipped in a perfect cross and Benzema directed the ball past Víctor Valdés.
But it only took Barcelona 12 minutes to find an equalizer, through Lionel Messi. The goal was his 18th in all Clásicos, tying him with Argentine Alfredo Di Stefano for the most career goals in Clásicos.
The goal also made this Messi's 16th consecutive La Liga match in which he has scored, which extends his own record.
With almost no chance that Real Madrid will get themselves back into the La Liga race this season -they come third in the table trailing Barcelona by 13 points- Mourinho respected the Blancos pride and turned to his bench, and the match picked up in quality once he introduced Cristiano Ronaldo and Sami Khedira.
Out of absolutely nowhere, Madrid took the lead, capitalizing on a corner kick after Croatian Luka Modric provided a perfect delivery to Sergio Ramos who beat Valdés with a perfect header.
Following that goal, one might have expected Madrid to bunker, but they did nothing of the sort. The Blaugrana continued to look absolutely shellshocked and took a battering from Madrid for the rest of the match.
Controversy arose in the dying minutes, when Sergio Ramos appeared to take down Adriano in the penalty area, but the referee waved play on. The Barcelona players were furious and surrounded the referee, but predictably, their claims came to nothing.
Following the final whistle, Victor Valdes berated the official and was shown a red card in a fitting ending to the match.