The second half was a different game entirely. Barcelona were rejuvenated by whatever spanking Pep Guardiola gave them in the dressing room, and they came out with the sort of belly fire you expect from the best team of their generation. Suddenly the game was stretched (in part because Madrid were pushing more into attack, but also because Xavi and Pedro were drawing out Pepe and Khedira more successfully) leaving Iniesta room to move through the middle.
Watch along as we detail the 2nd half highlights below:
Comments on 2nd half highlights:
The 2nd half highlights start off (at 7:06 of the video) with a great chance for Pedro from the left flank, created by Xavi and Iniesta (51′). The tape jumps from that clip ahead to the 69′ (7:44), and a classic instance of Messi’s ability: he drops back to the halfline to receive the ball from Xai; three Madrid defenders converge on him (Pepe, Marcelo, Xabi), but he turns away and scampers across the field, turns away another Madrid tackler, and slots a ball through for Pedro–who does in fact put the ball in the back of the net and starts celebrating. But the linesman had called offsides, and the explosion of Barça joy is cut short (“Explosión de alegría abortada”). The replay shows that Pedro was leaning just beyond the last defender.
Another beautiful Barça thru-ball creates another great chance (8:43, 75′): Busquets with a great pass from the center line to Dani Alves, who’s further forward than any other Barcelona player. He cuts back and finds Messi, who’s run into space at the top of the Madrid box. He gets off a good shot, but Casillas saves well–and here’s an example of where ” the counter attack of Madrid started to look more like desperate clearing rather than pointed reply.” Watch the sequence after Madrid boots the ball up off Casillas’ rebound–Barcelona plays keep away for about 20 seconds in the crowded middle of the pitch, evenutally leading to another great chance for Pedro. The ball goes tiki-taka from Dani Alves to Busquets to Xavi, who dances around a challenge from Marcelo, gives it back to Busquets. He finds Iniesta, who one-touches to Messi. Messi once again skips through a few Madrid defenders, shifting the play from one side to the other, and finds Xavi in a bit of space. He puts Pedro in, and he nearly scores by chipping Casillas–but the Madrid captain just manages to swat it away with his fingertips. Casillas keeps Madrid in the game a few minutes later, when another sequence of Barça possession leads to another great chance, this time for Iniesta off a quick give-and-go with Messi (9:45, 81′).
Madrid does create two chances in the last five minutes of regulation. A good tackle and quick pass forward (by Xabi? 10:22, 87′) to CR7 leads to a strong run at Barça’s defense by Adebayor. Ronaldo runs behind him and up the left flank; Dani Alves is tracking him, but gets turned around when it seems like Adebayor might get through to goal himself. Adebayor lays off for Ronaldo, who’s seemingly in on goal once again, but again Alves is able to recover just in time to block Ronaldo’s shot. The last chance is created by Ronaldo, who despite his missed opportunities keeps working hard. He picks up a loose ball in the middle, finds diMaria on the left; the Argentine cuts in, creates a bit of space between him and Dani Alves just outside the box, and sends in a curling shot that Pinto palms over.