Madrid suffer Barça fever
Jose Mourinho had a nightmare first Clásico as Spanish champions Barcelona crushed Real Madrid 5-0 at Camp Nou on Monday to go two points clear of their bitter rivals at the top of the Spanish first division.
2010 FIFA World Cup™ winners Xavi and Pedro Rodriguez put Barcelona into a two-goal lead after just 17 minutes and David Villa marked his first Clásico with a brace inside two minutes (54th and 56th minutes) before Jeffren added a late fifth as Mourinho stomached an unforgettable first defeat in charge of Los Merengues.
For Barcelona it was a fifth successive derby win over their arch rivals as coach Pep Guardiola maintained his 100 percent record in the fixture and exacted revenge over Mourinho, whose Inter Milan side defeated Barcelona in last season's UEFA Champions League semi-finals. Real went into the game unbeaten and hoping for a first win at Camp Nou since December 2007. However, Barcelona gave old boy Mourinho, who used to work for the Catalan club as a translator under Bobby Robson, a night to forget with an emphatic win that evoked memories of the 6-2 drubbing of Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu in May 2009.
"It was an important win by a big margin and it puts us top two points above Real in the table which is what we wanted," said Barcelona's David Villa. "However, it is only November and there are lots of games left and we have to keep on winning."
It was a huge psychological win for Barça in the title race - the winner of the first Clásico of the season has gone on to be crowned champion in the last six seasons. Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuain was a last-minute withdrawal for Real due to injury so French international Karim Benzema was handed a chance to shine on the biggest stage. Guardiola said Real were the best counter-attacking team in the world but said Barcelona would attack and they were good to their word.
"One team played to their potential and one didn't," said Mourinho. "It was a defeat that we fully deserved but I don't think you can say it reflected the difference between the two sides.
"The championship isn't over today. We are two points behind the leaders but there are lots of games left to play. We have to show character, train hard and get back to winning. I wish we were playing tomorrow," he said.
In the fifth minute Messi surprised everyone by curling a beautiful left-footed chip onto the post with Iker Casillas well beaten. It was a warning that Real didn't heed and on nine minutes the hosts took the lead through Xavi. Andres Iniesta fed a pass into the penalty area with Marcelo failing to intercept the pass and Xavi took advantage of a fortunate piece of control to prod calmly past Casillas to the delight of the home fans.
Real had the best defence in the league beforehand and this was only the seventh goal they had conceded under Mourinho. The visitors responded with Angel di Maria forcing Victor Valdes to tip over a fierce shot but Barcelona were looking dangerous and struck again on 17 minutes through Pedro. Villa went past Sergio Ramos by the touchline and Casillas could only fingertip his cross into the path of the inrushing Pedro who fired home.
Cristiano Ronaldo, top-scorer in the league with 14 goals, then took centre stage with his pass almost reaching Benzema only for an Eric Abidal toe to avert the danger. On the half hour mark Ronaldo started a melee when he pushed Barça coach Guardiola for holding the ball, earning him a yellow card, and then whistled a fine free-kick past the post of Victor Valdes.
Real brought off the ineffective Mesut Ozil at half-time with Lass Diarra replacing him but it was more of the same as Barcelona dominated. Villa went close with his goal-bound shot blocked but on 54 minutes Messi fed the Spanish 2010 FIFA World Cup™ winner, who took the pass brilliantly in his stride before firing past Casillas. Two minutes later the €40 million signing from Valencia struck again with his eighth league goal of the season. A defence-splitting pass from Messi released Villa, who beat Casillas again and left Real 4-0 down before the hour mark.
Substitute Jeffren Suarez netted a fifth late on and Sergio Ramos was sent off in the final minute for a reckless foul on Messi followed by the shoving of Spanish team-mate Carles Puyol as tempers boiled over.