Barcelona produced a superb away performance to secure a victory over Real Madrid that all but eliminates their arch rivals from the Spanish title race.
Barcelona 3 Real Madrid 0. It is the first time Barca have won three consecutive away league matches at the Bernabeu, and the result leaves Zinedine Zidane’s side fourth in the table.
A second-half Luis Suarez strike and Lionel Messi’s penalty, after Dani Carvajal was sent off for handball, helped move Barca nine points clear of Atletico Madrid at the top of La Liga, and increased their advantage over defending champions Real to 14 points.
Karim Benzema hit the post and Cristiano Ronaldo missed two good chances in the first half, but the home side were blown away after the restart in the first El Clasico meeting of the Spanish league season.
Barcelona 3 Real Madrid 0, Los Blancos started with Gareth Bale on the bench, and although he forced a save form Marc-Andre ter Stegen having been brought on following Carvajal’s dismissal, the Wales forward was unable to spark a comeback.
Barcelona scored three times in a brilliant second half to extend their lead over Real Madrid at the top of La Liga to a scary 14 points.
What a second half performance from Barcelona. Just fabulous to watch. The crucial first goal was however down to Real Madrid bizarrely opening up their midfield for Rakitic to stroll through. Kovacic is being blamed for this, though Casemiro was also absent. Casemiro then lost the ball to allow Barcelona to break and eventually, after two Suarez misses and a Carvajal red card, score a second. Real played a significant part in their own downfall, but it took a brilliant side playing brilliantly to fully punish them.
Real Madrid 0 Barcelona 3: Pressure builds on Zinedine Zidane as Barca extend La Liga lead to 14 points.
Messi has delivered many outstanding displays on enemy territory, although this was not one of them. Instead, his highly functional Barcelona side sat and waited for Madrid to implode and then strode in to take advantage, putting the famous stadium into a stunned silence in the piercing early afternoon winter sunshine.
Madrid had begun the game so well and came closest to scoring first but were unzipped in the second half and reduced to a dishevelled mess.
Barcelona 3 Real Madrid 0. Ivan Rakitić could hardly believe his luck as he strolled through an empty midfield towards the box and played in Sergi Roberto who in turn allowed Luis Suárez to fire past the helpless Keylor Navas 10 minutes after the interval.
Chaos reigned again for Barça’s second goal, which Messi scored from the penalty spot after Dani Carvajal was sent off for desperately trying to block Paulinho’s header as his fellow defenders had been run ragged by another sweeping Barca break.