Four days after beating Liverpool in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals, defending league champions Madrid defeats Barcelona 2-1 to move to the top of the league, in one of the biggest El Clásico matches in recent memory.
Barcelona looked to dominate possession in the first half but were powerless to control Real’s counterattacks.
In the 13th minutes, Karim Benzema opened the score with a cheeky backheel! Lucas Vazquez finds space down the right flank and sends the Frenchman a low cross, where he managed to backheel it perfectly.
15 minute later, Toni Kroos doubled the score with a free-kick. The German took a freekick that deflects off Sergino Dest before going straight through Jordi Alba on the line. 2-0 for the hosts.
Ousmane Dembele had the chance to pull one back for Barcelona in the 33rd minute, but he missed. Frenkie De Jong cross from the right flank finds the French international but he failed to find the back of the net.
In the 34th minute, Madrid had the chance to go 3 up, but luckily for Barcelona, Valverde hit the post. Vinicius initiated the counter attack, when he bursted forward, and played the ball to Fede Valverde at the perfect moment. The Uruguayan’s shot hits the post, and Ter Stegen was able to block Lucas Vazquez’s rebounded effort.
Just before halftime, Lionel Messi attempted to score straight from the Corner, but he hit the post.
Griezmann replaced Dest in the second half, as plan A clearly was not working for Koeman. The Blaugrana stepped up their game and put a much better display in the second half.
In the 59th minute, Mingueza managed to pull one back for the Blaugrana following Jordi Alba cross into the box. Barcelona were back in the game.
Few minute later Barcelona had the chance to equalize, but Courtois saved Alba’s low cross at the near post, where three Barcelona players were waiting behind him in the six-yard box.
Barcelona were pushing and pushing, when Real Madrid created a dangerous counter attack. Vinicius was through, but instead of shooting he decided to pass it to Benzema, but the ball hit Araujo and deflected onto the outside of the near post.
In the 84th minute, Barcelona were asking for a penalty after the substitute Martin Braithwaite was fouled in the box by Ferland Mendy. Barcelona were furious and adamant that it should have been a penalty, but the refree says no and even booked Jordi Alba for protesting.
In the 90th minute, Casimero was sent off! the midfielder received the second yellow card in the space of a couple of minutes, However, there was not enough time for Barça to take advantage of being a man up.
Right before the final whistle, Barcelona were close to grabbing a point but a shot from young substitute Ilaix Moriba struck the crossbar in the final play of the match.
“We have to enjoy what we have been doing. We got two very good results and it was not easy,” Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said.
Zinedine Zidane’s side joined Atletico Madrid on 66 points and moved top of the table, although Atletico can reclaim first place when they visit Real Betis today. The Blaugrana have now dropped to third in the table after their first La Liga loss in 20 matches.