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What went wrong for Barcelona in El Clasico?

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Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Real Madrid came back twice from compromised positions and eventually found a late winner in stoppage time to take three points from Barcelona and establish a massive lead in La Liga.

With six games to go, the men in white now have an 11-point advantage over their eternal rivals, who were ironically the better side on the night.

More importantly, the result draws curtains on Barcelona’s hopes of coming back into the title race and all but seals the championship in Real Madrid’s name.

A lot has been said about the pattern of Real Madrid’s win and the controversies that headlined the game. In the end, however, the three points blown bring massive repercussions for Barcelona in the form of a second defeat on the trot.

Barça Universal brings you three reasons why Xavi’s side fell short last night against their arch-rivals.

Mental blockade

It has not been an easy week for Barcelona and the club faithful. After all, it has been less than six days since they painfully crashed out of the UEFA Champions League at the hands of PSG.

The loss to Luis Enrique’s side, in many ways, was Barcelona’s most heartbreaking defeat of the season, simply because they outplayed their opponents and still crashed out.

Forced to play El Clasico later in the same week, Xavi’s side always ran the risk of being far from their best mental state. The same was seen yesterday at Santiago Bernabeu at multiple points in the game.

Credit where it is due, the Blaugranas did not dish out a display half as bad as what was expected from the glum dressing room. The problem, however, was the nothing short of 100% holds against an in-form Real Madrid.

While the visitors did indeed lead twice on the night, they simply did not have the character to hold on and mount a comeback when required.

To an extent, they cannot be blamed for their sub-par mental game considering the emotions they have been through in recent weeks.

Insufficient impetus

Barcelona failed to capitalise on Real Madrid’s fatigue. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Barcelona’s inability to hold onto leads and find breakthroughs on demand has a lot to do with their aforementioned mental block.

A parallel, yet separate factor that dictated their defeat last night was simply their inability to utilise the golden chance placed in front of them.

For all their great hauls this season, the Real Madrid side that faced Barcelona last night was far from its best shape.

Weary and exhausted from the gruelling 120-minute shift they put in against Manchester City midweek, their display was slower than usual and a tad bit leggy.

In an ideal scenario, Barcelona should have capitalised on their opponents’ fatigued legs and looked to outdo them in the physical battle. Quick circulation of the ball, switching the flanks and pressing high in numbers would have gone a long way in destabilising their core.

Xavi’s men, unfortunately, lacked the required impetus to pounce on the weakened prey last night. Their buildup was slow and predictable, dominated by horizontal passes and very direct.

In the end, even the fatigued Real Madrid had enough to conjure resources and counter against Barcelona for the winner. Who do the players have to blame but themselves if they could not outplay a weary and fatigued opposition?

Poor officiating

Two of the reasons why Barcelona failed to secure three points in El Clasico boil down to the dressing room’s intrinsic deficiencies. The third, however, is a factor out of Xavi’s control.

To see Barcelona and Xavi call out foul play by referees this season is nothing out of the blue, but there is a reason behind the club’s repeated claims of an agenda being held against the Catalans’ interest.

Last night, once more, Barcelona were not aided by the poor officiating in the match on multiple occasions.

For starters, the penalty that was called for Pau Cubarsi’s foul on Lucas Vazquez is highly debatable. After all, the referee called out the penalty instantaneously but refused to even consider the claims when Barcelona players were fouled in the opposition areas.

The most blatant robbery on the night, however, was Lamine Yamal’s disallowed goal. Stemming off a set piece, the Barcelona protege conjured a lovely flick to put the ball through on goal.

As seen in a certain camera angle, the ball quite clearly crossed the line and the goal should have stood. Yet, such is the officiating and technology in La Liga that a concept as trivial as goalline technology does not exist.

The perfectly legitimate goal was ruled out controversially, handing Barcelona a big blow at a crucial juncture.

No one knows how the game would have progressed should it have counted, but there is no denying that the continued poor officiating is taking a direct toll on Barcelona’s points tally.

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