El-Clasico: Barcelona Beat Real Madrid

Real Madrid are back to the top of the La Liga table by ‘dethroning’ Atlético Madrid after beating Barcelona by 2-1.

Goals from Karim Benzema and Toni Kroos in the first thirty minutes were sufficient to get the win, but that was just a part of the story, as Óscar Mingueza’s reassurance goal which was set up a last half hour – was a panic goal for Real Madrid.

Atlético Madrid have been at the top of the league for 6 months until Saturday’s showdown came to an end – deposing their neighbors Atlético. Madrid has played ten games without defeat; with Barcelona additionally playing nineteen games unbeaten until they lost this match.

Two early goals from Madrid fixed their eagerness to be at the top. They actually offered an unflattering picture of Barcelona’s defense.

A splendid opening goal began with Fede Valverde – part-man, part locomotive –setting off from deep. By the time he had picked up speed, stopping him was difficult anyway; stopping him by waving a leg in his rough direction was even harder, but that was what Jordi Alba did. Running past, Valverde discovered Lucas Vázquez whose ball-in met a staggering flicked finish from Benzema.

Kroos took a free-kick and his shot hit Sergiño Dest, changed course and went in, Alba neglecting to head clear on the line.

Barcelona additionally had clear opportunities to convert, with Lionel Messi conveying a cross from which Ousmane Dembélé ought to have scored, but missed it.

Dembélé also swiped uncontrollably at the ball inside the space before Messi twisted a corner against the post and was then impeded by Thibaut Courtois.

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The second half was on. And although Madrid seemed happy that way, aware of the visitors’ vulnerability and ready to rip into them through sheets of rain so thick you could hardly see them, Barcelona pulled one back at the top of the hour. Antoine Griezmann jumped over Alba’s cross and Mingueza guided past Courtois.

Another Messi-Alba combination may have brought a second not long after but on the edge of the six-yard box, Alba’s move was an unacceptable one. He missed it.

Barcelona pushed Madrid back ever deeper but even from there the threat remained, Luka Modric sending Vinícius scampering clear. A mess was made of that break and the same could be said of Kroos diving header soon after. Suddenly, Messi was up the other end, bending a shot over.

Still Barcelona pursued the equalizer but time was getting ceaselessly, and sadly time was practically up. In the final dramatic, desperate play, Ilaix Moriba crashed off the bar, Ter Stegen’s shot was blocked, and Alba sent the ball just over, a wild night getting a wild finish.

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