Messi, Ronaldo make limited touches count
Barcelona and Real Madrid drew 2-2 as the Spanish La Liga clubs renewed their rivalry Sunday in the Clįsico. The biggest stars on each club, Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid, each scored two goals.
Messi finished with 68 touches, his fewest in a league match against Real Madrid in the last three years. Messi had his best passing day against Real Madrid in the league over that time span, completing 51 of 56 pass attempts (91.1 percent).
However, his passing had little impact. In seven games against Real Madrid in La Liga and UEFA Champions League the last three seasons this was the only match in which he failed to create a scoring chance.
In the 61st minute Messi scored on a 32-yard free kick. It’s the second-longest league goal by Messi in the last three years and his fifth from a free kick. Messi is one of only three players in La Liga in the last three years to score a goal against Real Madrid from a free kick (Santi Cazorla and Marcos Senna are the others).
Cristiano Ronaldo’s 31 touches were his fewest in a La Liga game since he had 32 against Barcelona on April 21. Ronaldo also completed just five passes into the attacking third.
Ronaldo did score on his only two touches in the Barcelona penalty area and finished without a turnover, the first time he hasn’t turned the ball over against Barcelona in a league game in the last three years.
Short-handed Inter Milan holds on
Inter Milan defeated AC Milan, 1-0 in Italian Serie A derby play.
AC Milan completed a season-high 193 passes into the attacking third of the field, including 119 in the second half.
In contrast, Inter rarely ventured forward after the red card and completed just 11 passes into the attacking third in the second half, the second-fewest in a Serie A game this season.
Huge crowd awaits Cascadia Cup
More than 60,000 fans are expected to witness the Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers renew their Cascadia Cup rivalry tonight on ESPN. Here are some stats to watch:
• The Sounders' Eddie Johnson has used his head when it comes to his goal-scoring efforts in 2012.
He has a league-best nine goals on headers. Midfielder Mauro Rosales has made sure Johnson has had plenty of quality crosses and corners to get his head onto this season. Rosales has assisted on six of Johnson’s headed goals, including four assists from open-play crosses and two from corner kicks.
• The Timbers have struggled this season to play the ball from wide positions as they have the second-lowest completion percentage (17.1 percent) on open-play crosses this season. On the other side, the Sounders lead the league in completion percentage on open-play crosses at 26.3 percent and are tied for the most scoring chances created from them with 65.
Zachary Singer and Jason York contributed to this post