Ancelotti’s team scores on the counterattack, manages and closes it in the final. Aguero shortens too late: Blancos’ fourth consecutive victory in the Spanish super-challenge
by our correspondent Filippo Maria Ricci
The Clásico della decadenza portrays the situation perfectly: Madrid are less worse off than Barça, and take home the challenge that continues to symbolize Spanish football with merit and without excessive worries. At Camp Nou it ends 2-1 with goals from Alaba and Lucas Vazquez, two defenders, with two counterattacks, and Aguero’s useless goal in the 97th minute. It is Madrid’s fourth consecutive victory over Barça, something not seen since the 1960s, and Ancelotti’s first at Camp Nou, on his sixth attempt. For Koeman three defeats out of three. Even the duel of the young heirs of Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo confirms the trend: better Vinicius than Ansu Fati. Madrid keep pace with the varied leading group of La Liga, Barcelona remain in the mire of mid-table and reflect on how hard life is without Leo Messi.
Possession and counterattack
Ancelotti confirmed the eleven of the ‘manita’ at Shakhtar, Koeman preferred Mingueza to Sergi Roberto, leaving Dest still in the offensive trident. Gavi with his 17 years becomes the youngest owner in a Clasico in the last 80 years. Double 4-3-3, but different intentions: Barça holds the ball, Madrid willingly leaves it to them and every time he starts on the counterattack it is scary. It is true that Ancelotti’s team takes 12 minutes to pass the half of the pitch, but it is equally true that they risk absolutely nothing until the 25th minute.
It is the moment in which Dest served by Memphis shoots high with the right from 10 meters. The Dutchman is a full-back in life and also has 2 on his shoulders. Koeman makes him play in attack and pays the consequences: the error is capital since Barça has a hard time creating dangers and is very permeable in defense.
Vinicius tortured the inadequate Mingueza, and at 32 ‘the patience of Madrid was rewarded: Alaba recovers the ball outside his own area, unloads it on Vini who jumps without problems Mingueza and opens on Rodrygo who immediately sees Alaba’s run and serves very free on the left: the Austrian’s diagonal is powerful and precise and earns him a goal on his debut in the great Spanish match.
Barça’s reaction goes out an inch from the post when Piqué jumps and heads well on a corner in Memphis. Then it is Alaba who stops Ansu Fati’s shot, which up to now is much less decisive than Vincius. In the interval Koeman took out Mingueza by inserting Coutinho in the coach’s hole, retreating Dest and moving on to 4-2-3-1.
Barça visibly improves, but still fails to worry Courtois and continues to risk behind, twice pardoned by Benzema, strangely ineffective. Ancelotti covers himself with Valverde, Aguero enters the place of the willing but never dangerous Ansu Fati. And the script remains the same, Madrid in defense and lethal on the counterattack: at 93 ‘Lucas Vazquez engages Asensio and after the parade by Ter Stegen is ready to burn Eric Garcia for the tap-in which turns out to be decisive because at 97’ Aguero di Head scores from Dest’s cross. An effervescent final that does not change the terms of the challenge: Madrid are imperfect, but they are much more a team than Barça, irremediably stripped by Leo’s farewell.
October 24, 2021 (change October 24, 2021 | 21:38)
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