Saturday, March 22, 2014

Real Madrid vs Barcelona La Liga March 23, 2014

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Real Madrid vs Barcelona - Competition: 2013/2014 Spanish Primera Division, Round 29
Match date: Sunday, 23 March 2014 - Kick Off Time: 20:00 GMT - 15:00 CET
Venue: Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Spain 
Referee: Alberto Undiano

Real Madrid enter their most important league game thus far this season, as a win here will put them in a commanding position to take the title. They sit 3 points above Atletico Madrid and 4 above Barcelona. With 9 league games after this one against lesser competition, the Whites may be perfectly content here with a draw as La Liga's depth leaves much to be desired. Furthermore, FC Barcelona and Atletico still have to face each other once more in this season's final league game. Real Madrid have gone unbeaten in an astounding 32 straight in all competitions, including a streak of 18 unbeaten in league play. However, their last league loss came at the hands of this week's opponent, Barcelona (2-1), and recent years have shown us that the Catalonian club seems to have a mental advantage over the hosts. Still, Real Madrid haven't lost to their archrivals on home turf since 2012, and manager Carlo Ancelotti finally has his players' understanding as to the way he wants to play.
FC Barcelona team must win this game or risk watching their title ambitions disappear. Spanish La Liga isn't what it has been in terms of depth this year, mainly due to many of the top Spanish players opting to pursue Premier League glory. Thus, the games between Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Atletico possess massive implications to the title race. The Catalans haven't won at the Bernabeu since 2012, but they have already defeated their arch nemesis once this year 2-1. Recent form is a bit worrying for Barca supporters after losing 2 in their last 5 and 3 in their last 7 in league play. The most recent loss in that stretch came to Real Valladolid, who are currently mired in the relegation zone. But in typical Barcelona fashion, they rebounded last time out with a 7-0 demolishing of Osasuna, as Lionel Messi seems to have finally shaken off the rust from a lengthy spell on the sidelines. Pique returns from injury in time for the starting XI.

Possible line-ups:
Real Madrid: (Manager: Carlo Ancelotti) Diego Lopez – Carvajal, Pepe, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo – Xabi Alonso, Modric – di Maria, C. Ronaldo, Bale – Benzema (Morata). 
FC Barcelona: (Manager: Gerardo Martino) Victor Valdes – Dani Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Jordi Alba – Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta – Neymar, Messi, Pedro.

Real Madrid 3-4 Barcelona
7' 0-1 Andrés Iniesta // 20' Karim Benzema 1-1 // 24' Karim Benzema 2-1 // 42' 2-2 Lionel Messi // 55' (pen.) Cristiano Ronaldo 3-2 // 65' 3-3 (pen.) Lionel Messi // 84' 3-4 (pen.) Lionel Messi

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