Clásico analysis: Messi misery as Real Madrid toast brilliant Benzema
Real Madrid downed Barcelona 2-1 with Karim Benzema producing a moment of El Clásico magic as Lionel Messi drew another frustrating blank in the fixture.
Real Madrid beat Barcelona 2-1 in a rain-soaked and chaotic Clásico in the Spanish capital on Saturday night.
The LaLiga showdown proved a contrasting story for the two star forwards on display as Zinedine Zidane's men replaced city rivals Atlético Madrid at the top of LaLiga.
There were also a couple of moments of history before a red card for Casemiro in a frantic finale.
Here, we look at some of the standout statistics to emerge from the latest chapter in the eternal rivalry.
Seven not heaven for Messi
Lionel Messi had seven attempts on goal, including when he hit the post with an audacious effort directly from a corner towards the end of the first half.
No Barcelona player had more shots, but Messi could not find a way through in what could potentially be his final tangle with Madrid in this famous fixture.
The six-time Ballon d'Or winner has now gone seven Clasicos in all competitions without scoring – the longest drought of his career against Los Blancos.
Simply the Benz
0 - Lionel Messi 🇦🇷 has made seven shots, more than any other league #ElClasico without scoring (alongside November 2005 at Bernabéu). The Argentinian are suffering his worst run without involving vs @realmadriden (seven games in a row in all comps). Soaked#RealMadridBarcelona pic.twitter.com/ZrmBG7JxkM— OptaJose (@OptaJose) April 10, 2021
At the head of Madrid's attack, Karim Benzema simply cannot stop scoring, irrespective of the opponents.
His sensational backheel flick to convert Lucas Vazquez's 13th-minute cross was a finish that is sure to be cherished for years to come.
Benzema has now scored in his past seven LaLiga games, netting nine times overall during this period.
The Frenchman is the fourth Madrid player in the 21st century to have scored in seven consecutive top-flight outings after Ruud van Nistelrooy, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.
Kroos ends dead ball torpor
7 - @Benzema 🇫🇷 has scored his last seven league games (nine goals) becoming the fourth @realmadriden's player to score at least seven games in a row in this competition this century after @RvN1776 (2007), Cristiano Ronaldo (four times) & Gareth Bale (2018). Feeling#ElClásico pic.twitter.com/nt7x4jPARB— OptaJose (@OptaJose) April 10, 2021
From Ronaldo to David Beckham, Madrid have rarely been shy of free-kick specialists.
It comes as a surprise, therefore, that Toni Kroos' strike on Saturday made him the first player in white to score a direct free-kick in El Clasico this century.
Sure, it deflected off Sergino Dest and bounced off Jordi Alba's head on the goal line, but they all count. Right, Toni?
Mignueza opens his account
Oscar Mingueza endured a torrid first half as Vinicius Junior ran him ragged, but the Barcelona defender bounced back after the break.
Mingueza appeared in the Madrid penalty area to convert when substitute Antoine Griezmann dummied Alba's cross.
The previous Barça defender to score on his first appearance in El Clasico was Marc Bartra in the 2014 Copa de Rey final.
Ref on Casemiro's case
1 - Óscar Mingueza has scored his first #ElClasico in all competitions. He is the first @FCBarcelona's defender to score vs Real Madrid was Marc Bartra in April 2014 in the Copa del Rey's final at Mestalla. Courage#FCB #ClasicoEspanol pic.twitter.com/cSNq9XNwed— OptaJose (@OptaJose) April 10, 2021
Mingueza was also involved in another key moment, when Casemiro fouled him outside the Madrid box in the final minute of normal time.
That earned the combative Brazilian his second booking and only the second sending off of his Madrid career.
During this time, Casemiro has committed 478 fouls in all competitions. All in all, not a bad ratio.
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