5 El Clasico moments missed: Carlo Ancelotti's fury at Gerard Pique and Xavi's new tactics

By Colin Millar

Real Madrid are through to the Spanish Supercopa final after defeating El Clasico rivals Barcelona in Wednesday night's pulsating encounter.

It was a five-goal thriller in which Carlo Ancelotti’s side required extra time to see off their Catalan rivals as they took the lead three times during the clash.

In what was the first ever competitive El Clasico held outside of Spain, the game was packed full of talking points and entertainment despite controversially being held in Saudi Arabia.

Aside from Vinicius Junior, Karim Benzema, Fede Valverde, Luuk de Jong and Ansu Fati all getting on the scoresheet, there is no shortage of fallout from the game.

We take a look at five moments that may have been overlooked during the match.

Ancelotti row with Pique

Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti has spoken about his row with Barca defender Gerard Pique during the match after the Catalan side failed to kick the ball out of play for an injury to Vinicius Junior.

The Brazilian had gone down hurt but Barca decided against kicking the ball out of play, which Madrid thought would have shown good sportsmanship.

Ancelotti explained after the match: “I was angry with him.

Have Your Say! Can Xavi lead Barcelona back to Europe's elite? Tell us what you think here.

“I told him he should have kicked it out like we did during the first half.

“He told me that they never kick the ball out in such situations and I said ‘sorry’ and that I didn’t know that.

“That is respectable if they want to keep playing and not put the ball out.

“I just was not aware of that.”

Xavi tactical adjustments

Xavi has only been in charge at Barca for two months but has overseen key changes (REUTERS)

While Barcelona continue to play the same 4-3-3 shape under Xavi as they did in the latter days of Ronald Koeman, there was a distinct difference in their style.

Barca are now pressing much more from their five attacking players, with full-backs Dani Alves and Jordi Alba also instructed to close down space.

The Catalan side’s high defensive line left them vulnerable to Real Madrid’s swift counter-attacking style of play but it cut off deeper passing avenues and gave their opponents less time on the ball.

The signing of Alves and selection of former teammates Gerard Pique, Alba and Busquets demonstrates how Xavi needs players who know precisely what he wants to implement his style quickly.

Real Madrid close-in on record

Benzema and Vinicius fired Real Madrid to their fifth successive win over their El Clasico rivals (AFP via Getty Images)

Wednesday night’s victory was Real Madrid’s fifth successive victory over their El Clasico rivals – a run stretching back to the 2019/20 campaign.

That is one short of the all-time record in the fixture of six wins in a row for Madrid between 1962 and 1965.

Barcelona’s record streak in the fixture came under Pep Guardiola following his appointment at the Camp Nou in 2008, winning five El Clasicos in succession.

Xavi remains upbeat

Barca boss Xavi struck a positive tone after the game, claiming that the result could have been decided by the flip of a coin so close was the encounter.

He said after the match: "If we talk about today, we are close. In the league we are 17 points away but today we have competed.

"If we toss a coin and Barca qualifies for the final, that would be normal.

"Barca also deserved to go to the final. We are on the right path.

"Madrid also have the feeling that we had a place in the final.

"Right now, we have the feeling of anger and of helplessness but tomorrow we will see it better. If we have to lose, so be it."

Madrid feel Alaba loss

David Alaba opened the scoring for Real Madrid at Camp Nou in October, but missed Wednesday's clash (REUTERS)

While Barcelona have struggled with injuries all season, Real Madrid have enjoyed close to a fully fit squad this campaign.

David Alaba has played 26 matches for the club since joining from Bayern Munich as a free agent this summer but he was absent for Wednesday night’s clash.

The Austrian international scored a stunning goal in his first El Clasico earlier this season after joining in with a counter-attack and his absence was felt by Los Blancos here.

Nacho Fernandez replaced Alaba in the heart of Madrid’s defence alongside Eder Militao, who had an unusually shaky and indecisive game – involved in both of the Barcelona goals.


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