Barcelona put five past Real Madrid to go top of La Liga
Barcelona waltzed to a divine 5-0 victory over Real Madrid in the 209th El ClÃƒÂ¡sico on Monday courtesy of a brace from David Villa and goals from Xavi, Pedro and Jeffren.
The home side raced into the lead within ten minutes and Jose Mourinho could only watch on helplessly as his side were sunk by a simply resplendent display by Pep Guardiola’s men.
Xavi, a contender for this year’s Ballon d’Or, opened the scoring for the Catalan side. Andres Iniesta’s incisive pass found Xavi in the penalty area and the 30-year-old instinctively finished with a deft chip over Iker Casillas.
As Barcelona stroked the ball around with ease, each pass was greeted by Ole’s from 98,000 Blaugranes. It was the prelude to Barcelona’s second of the night.
Xavi’s wonderfully floated cross-field pass was neatly controlled by David Villa on the left. The former Valencia forward jinked past Sergio Ramos and drilled an awkward diagonal ball accross Casillas’ six-yard box for Pedro, who had streaked clear of Marcelo, to double Barcelona’s advantage.
The home side played with such grace that their opponents simply wilted in the wake of sustained Barcelona possession. Xabi Alonso and Sami Khedira were anonymous at the heart of Madrid’s core, powerless to prevent the midfield maestros, Xavi and Andres Iniesta, dictating the momentum of the match.
Mourinho opted to withdraw Mesut Ãƒ”“zil, one of Real’s four ClÃƒÂ¡sico debutantes, and introduced Lassana Diarra in an attempt to add bite to a wearisome midfield which allowed Barcelona to enjoy 72 per cent of possession in the first half.
However, if Mourinho delivered a rousing half-time team talk it had no effect on his ailing side.
There were soon further warning signs for Mourinho’s side. Messi cut in from the right flank and found Xavi who had darted clear of the static Madrid defence. Xavi’s initial effort was saved by Casillas and the midfielder could only direct his second attempt into the side netting.
Real failed to take heed and minutes later, in an identical move, Messi meandered from the sideline infield and artistically slid in Villa. The prolific striker unleashed a powerful shot into the far corner and past the helpless Casillas to all but end the match as a contest.
No team had ever put more than three goals past a Mourinho side before Monday, but within minutes of seizing their 3-0 lead, Barcelona added a fourth.
Messi angled a delicious pass to Villa before the 28-year-old stroked the ball under Casillas.
Substitute Jeffren completed the rout in added time when he met Bojan’s cross to seal a magnificent victory for Barcelona over their bitterest of rivals.
The match ended on a sour note when Ramos was dismissed for a second bookable offence after he felled Messi and clashed with Spain team-mates Puyol and Xavi as he departed the pitch.
The result sees Barcelona surge ahead of Madrid at the summit of the La Liga table having ended Real’s unbeaten record this season in style.