After the loss in the El Clasico, Barcelona boss Quique Setien has asked fans not to rule out his team just yet as he expects the fight to go till the final day. The Blaugrana slipped one point behind Real Madrid after two second-half goals handed the hosts their 96th series win, levelling the tie.
It was a delightful evening as the drama unfolded in Madrid with both sides testing each other's patience. Chances came and went begging by, as Thibaut Courtois stood firm to deny Lionel Messi and Arthur Melo in a one on one situations. In response Real fired a few shots themselves with Isco testing Marc-Andre ter Stegen with a cheekily placed curler, that the German stopped at full stretch, followed by a close goal-line clearance by Pique.
La Liga top scorer Messi struggled to influence the game at the Bernabeu and his side clearly missed their talisman who was well neutralised by the likes of Casemiro and Federico Valverde in the midfield. Nonetheless, teenager Vinicius Junior and Mariano Diaz took matters in their hand giving the Barcelona defense a run for their money and eventually found the net twice in the second half.
Despite his side struggling to score, Setien still went on to admit in his post-match interview that these games are mentally tough to handle and will not end well if a team is not strong enough. The former Real Betis manager also added that it was a tough defeat and Barcelona need to move forward rather than look backwards with the title race still within their reach.
"It's a tough defeat because these games affect you when you lose them, obviously, but we have the ability to recover. Last week, we were two points up. Now, they are one up. There is much left and this [title race] can take many turns. There are positive things to rescue and we will analyse what we have not done well," Setien said reported Goal.
It was an evenly matched first half, with both the teams creating plenty of chances, none of them impactful enough to dent the other sides defenses. Griezman and Benzema both came close to scoring for their sides, but running out of both luck and form, the two failed to impact. The game sprung to life in the second half and chances fell both ways but, eventually, it was Real Madrid that forced errors out of Barcelona, which the Blaugrana boss didn’t shy away from admitting.
"I think we did a good first half and they did it in the second. Even at the beginning of the second half we started quite well and we had it under control, but we started to have inaccuracies and they squeezed us very hard. In such a game, one more enjoys suffering, the result is uncertain and when there is a chance for the opposition we live with tension just as when we created them,” he added.
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