Real Madrid 1-1 Barcelona: Raphael Varane Man of the Match in Epic Clasico Debut
Raphael Varane is now officially a star after being Man of the Match in a Clasico.
Behind only Lionel Messi, the young Frenchman is now the second-youngest foreigner to ever score in a Clasico.
Varane looked as poised and strong as Carles Puyol and will surely have some Madridistas forgetting about Pepe for at least a short while.
Real Madrid 1-1 Barcelona (Fabregas 50), (Varane 81')
Real Madrid: Diego López; Essien, Varane, Carvalho, Arbeloa; Xabi Alonso, Khedira, Özil; Callejón, Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema
Bench: Adan, Marcelo, Albiol, Modric, Kaka, Higuain & Morata.
Barcelona: Pinto; Alves, Piqué, Puyol, Alba; Busquets, Xavi, Cesc; Pedro, Messi, Iniesta
Bench: Valdes, Mascherano, Song, Adriano, Thiago, Alexis and David Villa
Raphael Varane stats: 88% pass accuracy - 100% Aerial duels won - Last man tackle, clearance off the line & 1 goal scored.— Gary Linton (@AlbaEspana) January 30, 2013
Man of the Match
No question, Raphael Varane was the Man of the Match tonight.
The 19-year-old looked like a young Carles Puyol and had more composure than his veteran partner, Ricardo Carvalho.
Varane stopped at least two goals with a superb clearance in goal and a glorious last-ditch tackle against Cesc Fabregas.
He has always shown potential, but now Varane can fairly be called a true star. Epic, historic Clasico debut for the Frenchman.
That's it! The first leg is in the books and Barcelona will head back to Camp Nou with a slight advantage after a key away goal.
90'—-Real Madrid win two straight corners late on, but Carles Puyol is at his very best and prevents anything from happening.
Three minutes have been added on and then this Clasico is over. Let's see if either team can take the lead.
89'—Xabi Alonso is rightly shown a yellow card here after a cynical tackle on Lionel Messi.
88'—As predicted, Diego Lopez proves to be the right signing for Madrid.
The former Villarreal stud makes another top save here to deny Jordi Alba and keep the score level.
It is Barca's goal-scorer who comes off as Fabregas gives way to Thiago with less than 10 minutes to play.
Given his current form, Pepe should be worried about his spot in the starting line-up for Real. Varane is a stud.— Matthew Buening (@MatthewBuening) January 30, 2013
More on the goal
Talk about a historic debut!
It is the young 19 year old who opens scoring for his side after a truly fantastic header.
Varane climbs over Pique and heads the ball down and past Pinto in goal after a cross from Ozil.
80'—After seeing the replay, Carvalho actually intentionally handled the ball when he went down for a missed tackle on Messi and the Argentine never got the ball back.
80'—Add Lionel Messi to the list of players Varane has now stopped tonight.
Messi had three man around him and sent Carvalho the wrong way, but Varane kept calm and made a fine tackle.
Oh, but wait! No, he was offside.
Alexis sends a perfect through ball for the Argentine, but he is just offside and the goal does not count.
77'—Ozil gets a bit of time to dribble in the box and lays it off for Modric in space to shoot, but Sergio Busquets makes a brilliant stop to deny the Croatian.
76'—Pedro's miss proves to be his last touch as he is replaced by Alexis Sanchez.
Sanchez' pace could prove vital late on.
Dowhat you feel in your heart to be right - for you'll be criticized anyway.-Eleanor Roosevelt— Women Of History (@WomenOfHistory) January 30, 2013
73'—Now it is Pedro who misses a huge chance to extend the lead.
Xavi sends the winger through on goal, but Pedro takes one touch too many and sends a poor shot wide of Lopez and the net.
Fábregas misses chance to double the lead, ball laid back by Alves but he hits it over the bar— AS English (@English_AS) January 30, 2013
70'—We're roughly 20 minutes from time and it is the defense that is keeping this game close.
With the likes of Messi and Ronaldo on the pitch, that statement is quite telling.
Alexis Sanchez warming up. Get ready for a GOOOOOOL kick.— Michael Cerna (@MichaelCernaATL) January 30, 2013
Wow, let no one say Pique has lost anything.
Ozil sends a perfect pass past Puyol and has both Ronaldo and Higuain waiting to score, but Pique makes an absolutely perfect tackle between both players to clear.
Another huge stop from a defender.
65'—As predicted, Barcelona look to be the stronger side late on with their fitness and control of the game proving valuable advantages after the hour mark.
Madrid players are starting to wear down now.
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