Updates from Wednesday, March 26
BeIN Sports had the latest on the appeal of Sergio Ramos' red card vs. Barcelona:
In the midst of one of the better Clasico matches in a while, Sergio Ramos created a big momentum shift with a red card in the 63rd minute.
Real Madrid had a 3-2 lead over Barcelona and were trying desperately to hold on to the win at home. However, the centre-back made a crucial mistake in the second half. Fox Soccer provided the details of the event:
Red Card, Real! Sergio Ramos is sent off for a last-man challenge on Neymar. Penalty to Barca.— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) March 23, 2014
Tancredi Palmeri of beIN Sports agreed that it was a good call:
It wasn't Neymar offside and it was indeed penalty and red card for Sergio Ramos. Fantastic cal from ref and linesman— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) March 23, 2014
Meanwhile, WhoScored.com notes that this is not a fluke from Ramos as red cards have been an issue throughout his career:
Sergio Ramos: Only 1 player has picked up more red cards in La Liga since 2009/10 than Sergio Ramos (5) #ElClasico— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) March 23, 2014
Danny Kelly of BT Sport also provides this fact about the defender's career:
Barcelona were able to tie the match when Lionel Messi scored on the penalty. The visitors then took over the lead with another Messi goal in the 84th minute, which ended up being the game-winner in a 4-3 match.
Who will win La Liga?
Not only did Ramos hurt his club against Barcelona, but the suspension resulting from this red card will also cause more problems going forward.
With the loss, Real Madrid have now fallen into a tie with Atletico Madrid for first place in La Liga. Additionally, Barcelona have picked up ground to come one point behind both clubs.
It is clear that Real Madrid cannot afford any more losses or likely even a draw going forward if they want to win the league. Losing the team's best defender only makes this tougher to accomplish.
Ramos has been one of the most important players for Real Madrid, and his steady play is a reason that the club was able to wake up from a slow start. Manager Carlo Ancelotti explained to Canal Plus, via Stefan Coerts of Goal.com:
The squad is very able in carrying out defensive work. And we’re seeing the real Sergio Ramos now, not the player from November or December. You can quickly fix any mistakes and we’ve done that, not just by changing our system but also because the players now understand how important it is to recover possession.
Most of the time, Ramos has been a rock in the middle of the defense while limiting opponents from getting too many good opportunities.
Without him, Real Madrid will be lacking experienced players who can be trusted to avoid mistakes at centre-back. Pepe will remain the best option in one position, but the other spot will have to go to 20-year-old Raphael Varane.
While Varane has shown plenty of potential this season, he is still prone to mistakes and could cause problems in the back line.
Real Madrid will face Sevilla on the road in their next league match. Unless the rest of the squad regains its focus and picks up the slack, the club will have a hard time coming away with three points.
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