Rafael Varane had an immense game. He was Real Madrid's hero. His towering header equalizing for Real Madrid late and the rest of the time spent frustrating Barca with his defensive agility. In a nice bit of precociousness, the teenager anticipated Xavi's shot towards goal and with Antonio Adan pulled out of position, positioned himself perfectly to effect a goal line save. Then he went one better running down Fabregas as the ex Arsenal midfielder was poised to strike and got all ball with his come from behind tackle. He's only 19 years old.
There was plenty of good defending with Alves and Pique warding off danger through their tackles.
Barca were the better team and looked more likely to pull out a win at the Santiago Bernabeu. Cesc Fabregas should have added to his 50th minute strike as minutes later his drive flashed over. Pedro running full tilt coming closer to goal with each stride and then just pulling wide. How did he miss that?
Real looked dangerous in its counterattacks and Cristiano Ronaldo came close with his free kick after being brought down by Gerard Pique. In a Portugese staredown, Jose Pinto won managing to claw out the ball. For those in Stamford Bridge missing Michael Essien for his midfield steel, he's found himself at right back under Mourinho and was intimidating there as well. For those remembering Ricardo Carvalho and the Blues iron clad defense, it was painful to watch his devolution. He put the lumber in lumbering.
The match ended a goal apiece. Just like more recent Clasico's minus the grandstanding, it was fluid, open ended stuff, and full of intrigue. There were plenty of body checks by Xabi Alonso, Alves, Callejon. There was sideline drama as Arbeloa pushed Messi on the side of his face and then added insult to injury by pushing again. While Messi protested, Alonso checked in too.