San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Keylor Navas

Keylor Navas allows four goals as Barcelona crushes Real Madrid

The historic, record-setting season for Keylor Navas took a brutal tailspin on Saturday in Navas’ first ever appearance in a Clásico, as Barcelona dominated rival Real Madrid 4-0 at Santiago Bernabéu Stadium.

Navas’ four goals allowed in the match were one more than he had allowed all season (13 games) and are the first goals he has given up at home. Coming into the match, Navas led La Liga in save percentage and big chance prevention.

Real Madrid’s defense, which had been more lucky than good, had conceded the fewest goals in La Liga coming into the contest against league-leader Barcelona. But even with Lionel Messi on the bench for most of the match, Barça’s stars like Neymar and Luis Suárez feasted on a lackadaisical defense that needs major retooling.

Madrid constantly put itself out of position and looked completely outmatched in the midfield, where it couldn’t hold possession against a suffocating Barcelona attack.

Navas did make one excellent save, as has become customary for the 28-year-old Costa Rican keeper: he jumped up to deny a Neymar free kick in the 51st minute.

Despite the effort, Barcelona had little trouble in coming back with a third goal when Neymar left the ball for Andrés Iniesta of a great heel pass that continued Real Madrid’s bleeding. To make things even worse, Suárez came back with a second goal when he lofted the ball over Navas to make it 4-0 Barcelona and put an exclamation point on the drubbing.

Any time Madrid tried to counter, it was stuffed by Barcelona and keeper Claudio Bravo, who denied superstar forward Cristiano Ronaldo on a breakaway where the Portuguese striker was left all alone.

Madrid, which now suffers its second straight loss and its first loss with Navas in net, takes the field again on Wednesday against Ukraine’s Shakhtar Donetsk in Champion’s League play.

Contact Michael Krumholtz at mkrumholtz@ticotimes.net

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