Barcelona and Real Madrid lived up to the hype as they played in another version of El Clasico, Spain’s biggest derby and also considered one of the biggest matches in the whole world.
Barcelona started the game better and got off to a quick lead after a goal from Neymar, and extended their lead when Alexis Sanchez netted a spectacular lobbed shot from outside the box. Jese pulled one back in the dying minutes of the match, but the game ended 2-1 as Los Blaugranas walked away with the three points.
Most of that can be accredited to Alexis, who entered the game with only 20 minutes left and was able to leave his mark immediately.
The Chilean forward replaced Cesc Fàbregas, who was never able to set into the rhythm of the game properly and gave Los Blaugranas a new dimension on the attack as he became a nice option going forward through the right flank. He moved very well into the open spaces, but showed his brilliance with 12 minutes left in the game.
Following a nice through ball from Neymar, Alexis Sanchez received the pass and dribbled towards Raphael Varane, danced past him and lobbed the ball over Diego Lopez, who stretched but was never able to get to the ball. His goal was the second of the game and ultimately proved to be the difference-maker in a very close encounter.
Sanchez looks more like his old self from Udinese when he was elected the Best Player in Serie A after the 2010-11 season. He looks more matured with a lot of confidence, and it’s noticeable that he’s getting a bigger role in the team. He wasn’t in the starting lineup due to the squad rotation implemented by manager Gerardo Martino, but he showed his progress in limited time.
There’s little doubt that if he can keep up this level of play, it’s going to be very hard to leave him out of the starting 11.