Zinedine Zidane: Real Madrid 'Deserved to Win' Clasico Stalemate at Barcelona

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistDecember 19, 2019

BARCELONA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 18: coach Zinedine Zidane of Real Madrid  during the La Liga Santander  match between FC Barcelona v Real Madrid at the Camp Nou on December 18, 2019 in Barcelona Spain (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Zinedine Zidane has said Real Madrid "deserved to win" the first Clasico of the season after his team settled for a 0-0 draw having dominated Barcelona for much of their visit to the Camp Nou on Wednesday.

Real manager Zidane, 47, tactically outmanoeuvred Barcelona counterpart Ernesto Valverde for the most part, and he told reporters after the game his players deserved more:

“The result feels like very little because we deserved a lot more, but football is often like that. If you create chances, you have to score them, and we weren't able to do that. The team made a tremendous effort, and when you play like that in this stadium, you deserve more.

“We pressed them high up the pitch, we kept taking the ball off them, and we did a really good job. We gave a great image of ourselves, but we wanted more.

“With the performance we put in, we deserved to win, but that's football. Sometimes you do everything right but it doesn't come off. Sometimes you score two or three times, others you can't score at all.”

Three Barcelona players were cautioned during a tense first half for the hosts, though they grew into the second period when five Real players received yellow cards:

LaLiga @LaLigaEN

Fair result? 📽️ Highlights from an INTENSE #ElClasico at the Camp Nou. 🍿 https://t.co/dwkOQjSoyv

Karim Benzema hit the frame of the goal in the second half, while Real ended the match with 17 shots to Barca's nine, per WhoScored.com. Only four of Real's efforts hit the target, though that's still double the amount of times Barca managed to test Thibaut Courtois.  

Los Blancos were also denied a strong penalty appeal on Raphael Varane, whose French compatriot Clement Lenglet was fortunate to not give away a spot-kick, per Marca (h/t The Spanish Football Podcast):

The Spanish Football Podcast @tsf_podcast

Varane's thigh after the Lenglet challenge https://t.co/u5t2Buof7t

A draw and a clean sheet still puts Real in good shape to win La Liga provided they can edge the reverse fixture, with Barcelona scheduled to visit the Santiago Bernabeu on the weekend of February 29.

Real would gain the head-to-head advantage over their bitter rivals should they win that clash and go on to finish level on points, though Barca have won in each of their last five competitive trips to the Bernabeu.

Spanish football author Colin Millar highlighted Zidane's imperious record as a manager at the Camp Nou: 

Colin Millar @Millar_Colin

Zinedine Zidane remains unbeaten at Camp Nou as a manager - two wins and three draws. A remarkable record as Barcelona have lost just once at home in last 68 matches in all comps (v Betis, November 2018). Barcelona had won 14 in a row at Camp Nou in La Liga before tonight.

The two teams remain level on points at the summit of La Liga heading into the winter break, with both teams approaching their final fixtures of the calendar year in Week 18.

Barcelona have an opportunity to temporarily move back in front when they host Alaves on Saturday, while Real are also at home when they welcome Athletic Bilbao to the Bernabeu on Sunday.