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Neymar Eclipses Bale in 'Clasico' Debut
Reuters, October 28th, 2013 3:17PM
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TAGS:  barcelona, real madrid, spain

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The first ‘El Clasico’ of the season ended 2-1 in Barcelona's favor, with Barca’s Neymar easily winning the battle of the new boys vs. Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale. Whereas Los Blancos’ world record signing was dismissed in the Spanish media as being “irrelevant” in La Liga’s biggest game of the year, Neymar’s goal and assist paved the way for Barca’s victory on a night when Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo were pushed to the margins.

Barca controlled the first half, with Neymar’s deflected shot opening the scoring after 19 minutes following a superb through pass from Andres Iniesta. In the second half, Real grew into the game, and Ronaldo had a clear penalty appeal turned down by referee Manuel Undiano. Twelve minutes from time, Neymar fed substitute Alexis Sanchez, whose superb chip floated over Diego Lopez to make it 2-0. Real substitute Jese then pulled one back in stoppage time, but it was not enough.

After the game, coach Carlo Ancelotti was again forced to defend the performance of Bale, who managed a couple of widely off-target shots in 60 minutes on the field. "These are his first games and he needs to find passing combinations with the other players, it's normal," the Real Madrid coach said. "He played a good match. In the overall work of the team he wasn't bad."

Meanwhile, Barca coach Tata Martino remarked that this wasn’t even Neymar’s best game of the season. "He played a good game but I believe he has played better ones," the Argentine said. "He stood out more in this game because he scored."

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