REAL MADRID – BARCELONA 0-4
WOW! Just… wow! OK, so the long-awaited return of Lionel Messi, which I was too hopeful for, amounted to a little more than half an hour of playtime in El Clasico. But, returning from injury, the Argentine forward did provide the pass that started Luis Suarez on his way to the last goal in Real Madrid v Barcelona. The last of four. That’s right. Even without their best player, Barcelona thrashed Real Madrid in their own home. Late arrivers were still trying to find their seats at the Bernabeu in the 11th minute, when Suarez put the visitors in front, after a wonderful play by him and Sergi Roberto. 36 minutes into the game, Andres Iniesta fed Neymar for Barcelona‘s second goal. Real were stunned. Whistles and calls for club president Florentino Perez’ resignation echoed from the stands as the Galacticos made their way down the tunnel at half-time. As I’ve said before, there’s not a lot of patience at clubs of this stature.
Messi was still warming the substitutes bench as Neymar returned the favor, providing the assist for Iniesta‘s 53rd minute goal. Suarez made it 4-0 with his 15th goal of the season, with a little over 15 minutes left to play. Enough time for Isco to be sent off for a bad tackle on Neymar, capping off a night to forget for Real Madrid and manager Rafael Benitez. As I anticipated, Atletico Madrid defeated Real Betis, meaning Real Madrid have slipped to 3rd in the Primera Division, six points behind
future champions leaders Barcelona. Reputed Spanish publication Marca writes that players have lost faith in their manager and are mocking him behind his back.
MANCHESTER CITY – LIVERPOOL 1-4
If you’re a fan of the English Premier League – like I am – your attention this weekend would have been divided between Madrid and Manchester. Local rich boys Manchester City hosted Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp‘s side wasn’t very polite with its hosts, putting no less than four past England international Joe Hart. The Reds’ performance against a team that was runner up last season and league leader before this round was one more sign that things are improving under their new manager. Manchester City hadn’t let in four goals at home since 2003. Frenchman Eliaquim Mangala scored an own goal in the 7th minute and it was already looking like a bad day for manager Manuel Pellegrini. Vincent Kompany‘s absence weighed heavily, as Man City‘s defense struggled to cope without their captain. Struggled and failed miserably. It was 3-1 to Liverpool at half time, after Brazilian forwards Phillipe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino each provided assists and goals, in turn.
Sergio Aguero became the highest scoring South American in Premier League history in the 44th minute, when he scored his 85th goal. That’s very impressive, considering he’s only been playing in England since 2011. It did little to help Manchester City though, as Liverpool‘s win was never under any real threat. Martin Skrtel sealed it for the visitors, with eight minutes left on the clock. Following Saturday’s results, City have fallen to 3rd, two points behind surprise leaders Leicester. Liverpool are still a long way from the title fight, in 9th.