Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Barcelona Destroys Real Madrid, 5-0

There was only one team on the field as the world's two best club sides faced off Monday evening in Barcelona.

The hosts, playing the peerless attacking soccer that led them to an unprecedented six titles in 2009 and inspired Spain to this summer's World Cup championship, destroyed arch rival Real Madrid, 5-0, in what amounted to a 90-minute infomercial for coach Pep Guardiola's skillful, stylish approach to the game.

Barça unleashed its prodigious arsenal of talent on a helpless and hapless Madrid, which had yielded just six goals in its first 12 La Liga games.

As GolTV color commentator Ray Hudson said, Jose Mourinho's team was left "tattooed with blaugrana ink."

Xavi Hernández opened the scoring after just 10 minutes, turning on a deflected pass from midfield maestro and World Cup hero Andrés Iniesta and chipping goalkeeper Iker Casillas.

It was 2-0 eight minutes later, thanks to a strike from Pedro Rodríguez.

El Clásico was keep-away after that, and the most fight the visitors could muster before halftime came from Cristiano Ronaldo, who gave Guardiola a shove after the coach refused to part with the ball when it rolled out of bounds. Ronaldo was shown a yellow card and hardly was heard from again.

The 98,000-plus at the Camp Nou were treated to additional offensive fireworks in the second half courtesy of Lionel Messi and David Villa. The pair combined for two exquisite goals. The first came in the 55th, as Messi beat three Madrid defenders with a pass that Villa controlled brilliantly, before powering a shot past Casillas.

Three minutes later, Messi hit a stunning, low ball from the midfield circle that carved open Los Blancos. Villa reached it at the edge of the penalty area and beat Casillas with a poke of his right foot.
Barça's reserves added the final insult in stoppage time, as Bojan Krcic fed Jeffrén Suárez with a well-timed cross. Madrid handled the defeat with predictable class -- Sergio Ramos scythed down Messi and was shown a red card, then shoved Spain teammate Xavi in the face as he left the field.

Barcelona now holds the lead in La Liga at 11-1-1. Madrid, humiliated, is in what now seems like a distant second at 10-1-2. They meet again in the capital the weekend of April 16-17.

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