Barcelona extended their lead in the La Liga table to 12 points with just 12 games remaining thanks to a famous El Clasico win.
Ronald Araujo’s own goal would open the scoring for Real Madrid, but goals from Sergi Roberto and substitute Franck Casey would earn the win for Barca at the Camp Nou.
The game’s momentum was set early on with two long-range efforts from number nine star Robert Lewandowski and Karim Benzema – both of whom forced the opposition goalkeepers into smart saves.
In the fifth minute, Barca created their first good chance of the game. A wonderful ball past Frankie de Jong’s back post found Rafinha, who saw his subsequent over-the-top effort brilliantly saved by Thibaut Courtois.
A few minutes later, Barcelona regretted the missed opportunity when Real Madrid took the lead. And the goal would come in the most unlikely of circumstances, with a cross from Vinicius Junior slipping over Ronald Araujo’s head and sliding into the back of his own net.
Barca would then move with real intent and come close to leveling the draw in the 23rd minute. The chance would fall to ex-Chelsea man Andreas Christensen, who leapt high at the near post to latch onto a Rafinha cross, but was unable to keep his resulting header on target.
The Brazilian forced Courtois to make another fine save on the half-hour mark, sprinting down the field and unleashing a powerful strike on goal – one that was well-tipped by the Real Madrid number one.
In the last minute of the first half, the home team would get an own goal through Sergi Roberto. The midfielder reacted well to control a deflected Rafinha shot inside the box before curling the ball into the top right corner of the net.
The start of the second half was fiercely contested, with both sides searching for the lead. Robert Lewandowski came close to making it 2-1 for Barca around the hour mark when he turned and unleashed a stunning strike from 25-yards – a strike that flew perfectly through a deflection.
A few minutes later some terrible play by Sergio Busquets on the edge of his own box would give Rodrygo a great shooting opportunity on the edge of the box. The substitute looked a bit nervous when the ball came to him, however, sharpened his technique and, as a result, flung his strike over the crossbar.
The best chance of the second half will be the one player Barca will want to fall for: Lewandowski. The Polish striker was found completely unmarked at the back post by Busquets, but his acrobatic effort on goal was, surprisingly, not very well executed, and instead of nestling in the net, settled down row Z. Was.
Barca would force Courtois into another spectacular save in the final 15 minutes. The Belgian international dropped well to his left to stop Rafinha’s (again) half-volleyed effort to keep it at 1-1.
Real Madrid pushed hard for a vital winning goal in the final 10 minutes, and they thought they had it when Marco Asensio tapped home from six yards. However, after a lengthy VAR review, the goal was disallowed for offside.
In the last minute of the game, Barcelona scored the winning goal. This would come courtesy of substitute Franck Casey, who scored on a great low cross from Alejandro Balde to steal in at the back post to win El Calcio for his team.
GK – Marc-Andre ter Stegen – 6/10 – Made some good saves.
RB – Ronald Araujo – 5/10 – Scored a very early goal and had a fierce battle with Vinicius on the flanks.
CB – Jules Counde – 6/10 – Well done to Benzema.
CB – Andreas Christensen – 6/10 – There was a constant threat from set pieces.
LB – Alejandro Balde – 7/10 – His superb cross scored the winning goal.
Chief Minister – Sergi Roberto – 7/10 – Superb goal to draw Barca level before half time.
Chief Minister – Sergio Busquets – 4/10 – Sometimes more sluggish than usual on the ball.
CM – Frankie de Jong – 7/10 – Pulled off his socks and used the ball well.
RW – Rafinha – 8/10 – Best player of Barca. Los Blancos faced a variety of problems.
ST – Robert Lewandowski – 7/10 – Missed some good chances on the night but his hold-up game was exceptional.
LW – Gavi – 6/10 – He himself ran into the field.
Sub – Frank Casey – 7/10 – Brilliant finish to win the game for Barca.
Sub – Anu Fati – N/A.
Sub – Ferran Torres – Not Applicable.
GK – Thibaut Courtois – 8/10 – Made some great saves.
RB – Dani Carvajal – 4/10 – Struggled to move on. You can see why he has been criticized recently.
CB – Eder Militao – 5/10 – Not a bad outing.
CB – Antonio Rudiger – 6/10 – He had his hands full with Lewandowski. He did very well.
LB – Nacho Fernandez – 3/10 – Poor. First man down.
CM – Luka Modric – 4/10 – Not at his best and struggled to deal with De Jong’s energy.
CM – Eduardo Camavinga – 4/10 – He is much better as a left-back. Carlo, play that on the left.
CM – Toni Kroos – 4/10 – A quiet walk for the German giant.
RW – Federico Valverde – 2/10 – Nothing display.
ST – Karim Benzema – 5/10 – Held the ball well at times but didn’t get the serve on Sunday evening.
LW – Vinicius Jr. – 6/10 – His cross scored the opening goal. At the heart of everything Real Madrid did well.
Sub – Ferland Mendy – Not Applicable.
Sub – Rodrigo – 5/10 – A good opportunity missed when presented.
Sub – Aurelien Tchoumeni – N/A.
Sub – Marco Asensio – 5/10 – Offside goal scored.
Deputy – Dani Ceballos – N/A.