The Clasico at Valdebebas was enormous in intensity and tension. The game was too big for the little Alfredo di Stefano stadium, with the substitutes of both teams and staff huddling in a small area to avoid the driving rain. Controversy increased as the minutes ticked by.
Sergio Ramos was heard at first, as if he was the sheriff, giving advice to his own team-mates and even trying to rule over what Barca did too. “Kick it out, Jordi,” he yelled to Alba when a Madrid player was hurt. And Alba did it, sportingly.
Ramos, and Carvajal, who was by his side, did not overstep the limit in the first half even if he was heard constantly. The one excess was when Sergio Busquets and Lucas Vazquez clashed. That’s where Madrid’s pressure on the referee started.
Barcelona played better in the second half and Barca subs got involved off the pitch, not allowing Ramos to dominate.
Gerard Pique and a committed Riqui Puig were loud in the second half. “Good, Oscar, good,” yelled Riqui in Catalan to Mingueza. Now Ramos could barely be heard.
“What shame!” “Penalty, penalty!” yelled Barca players when Mendy fouled Braithwaite at the end. Indignation rang out.
“It was time,” was heard when Casemiro got his marching orders at last.
Pique, who had been relatively calm, kicked of when only four minutes were added on. “It was five minutes!” he yelled. At the end he went onto the pitch to show his anger to referee Gil Manzano. Carles Naval tried to stop the defender, who was booked.
Manzano was feared by the Barça dressing room and it was proven that they had reasons for it. Not only because of his peculiar refereeing style, but because of his haughty attitude at all times.
In the presidential box Joan Laporta and his vice-president Rafael Yuste watched on. They saw they have a lot of work ahead of them in institutional terms…
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