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Barça and Madrid set off for a stroll in the park and ....


I watched the Barça game with an ardent fan of the Catalan side Xabier Fortes and his initial annoyance of the evening came when Valverde's men took to the pitch in Butarque wearing their fluorescent yellow away kit stating: “Parents should never buy their kids second and third kits and that may stop their escalation". The team that were playing Leganes may have looked unlike Barça but did at least initially evoke a "Barcelona" style of play. A wonderful early strike from Coutinho was cancelled out by two second half goals from the home side with a poor defensive error from Piqué key to the second Leganes goal. The striking thing following the goals was the lack of reaction from the current league champions, plenty of possession but surprisingly little grit or determination. A well deserved win for Lega.

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As the action at Butarque concluded, Real Madrid took to the pitch at the Sánchez Pizjuán. One would have imagined that the earlier game would have served as an impetus for Lopetegui's side but it was the home team who came flying out of the blocks. Machin's 3-5-2 formation outfoxed Lopetegui as it did a year ago at Montilivi against Zidane's Real Madrid side. The visitors struggled to gel and even looked complacent at times with a gaping hole on Marcelo's flank being admirably exploited by a rejuvenated Jesus Navas. Sevilla flew into a 3-0 lead at the interval and only Kroos and Gareth Bale redeemed themselves in a negative 45 minutes for the Bernabeu outfit.

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Lopetegui did what Zidane did at Montilivi a year ago and made changes to the side bringing on Mariano and Lucas Vázquez. For a brief period and as Sevilla sat deeper, Madrid's performance was briefly acceptable as Modric had a goal overruled by VAR and Bale was thwarted by Vaclik in the Sevilla goal. That was as good as it got for Lopetegui's side as Sevilla were comfortable in riding any pressure and looking dangerous on the counter with a 4-0 score line closer to materialising than a 3-1. Both Leganés and Sevilla exposed a vulnerability in both Barça and Real Madrid is an intriguing night of LaLiga football where the happiest side were Atlético.