The Spanish multimedia communications group Mediapro – which owns the television rights to La Liga – has announced the date and time for this season’s second installment of El Clasico. The company reserves the right to move high-profile matches and adjust kick-off times in order to ensure a greater global audience.
Mediapro announced that Barcelona will host league-leading Real Madrid on Sunday April 23rd at 2:45pm ET) in what will be the final regular season match-up between the two La Liga giants.
In late October, Real defeated Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu by a score of 3-1.
That match was notable for the introduction of Luis Suarez to the heated Spanish rivalry. But it was Barcelona forward Neymar who stole the early headlines when the Brazilian converted a pass from Suarez in the fourth minute to open the scoring and stun the Bernabeu faithful.
That goal only served to spark Real into action during a frenetic opening.
Prior to the contest, Barcelona had not conceded a goal during their first eight matches. But that streak was soon ended when Gerard Pique handled a cross from Marcelo and Madrid were awarded a penalty. Cristiano Ronaldo stepped up to the spot and calmly leveled the contest at 1-1.
The teams went into halftime tied. But Real Madrid came out of the locker room for the second half on fire and were rewarded immediately when a powerful header from Pepe gave Los Blancos the lead in the 50th minute.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side sealed the three points just eleven minutes later when Karim Benzema finished a brilliant counter-attack with a precisely angled shot.
Although Barcelona were handed their first loss of the season, to that point, La Blaugrana remained one point ahead of their rivals following the defeat at the Bernabeu.
Real Madrid entered that match on an 8-game winning streak. They would go on to win another thirteen matches in a row, before finally tasting defeat at the hands of a resurgent Valencia in the first match of the New Year.
But during that stretch, Madrid leapfrogged Barcelona in the La Liga standings and were crowned Club World Cup Champions.
Should both team maintain their current pace, the March 22nd match-up at the Camp Nou will be pivotal in determining who will be this season’s champions of Spain.
Real Madrid currently hold a four point lead over second place Barcelona in the La Liga standings.
The showdown between Madrid’s attacking trio of Benzema, Bale and Ronaldo; against Barcelona’s golden trident of Messi, Neymar and Suarez will make for worldwide ‘must-see’ television.
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