Spanish La Liga
Real MadridReal Madrid0BarcelonaBarcelona3

Real Madrid 0-3 Barcelona

By Patrick JenningsBBC Sport
Luis Suarez celebrates
Barcelona now lead Atletico Madrid by nine points at the top of La Liga, while Real Madrid stay fourth

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.

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.

Los Blancos started with Gareth Bale on the bench, and although he forced a save from Marc-Andre ter Stegen having come on following Carvajal's dismissal, the Wales forward was unable to spark a comeback.

Instead, late substitute Aleix Vidal added further insult in injury time with a third for Barca, as his shot from inside the box squeezed over the line after Messi's cut-back, despite the Argentine losing his boot in the build-up to his 200th assist for the club.

It is the first time Barca have won three consecutive league matches at the Bernabeu, and the result leaves Zinedine Zidane's side fourth in the table.

'Keeper' Carvajal sees red in key moment

With the second half just nine minutes old, Madrid were left horribly exposed when Ivan Rakitic was allowed to run through the heart of a midfield that had been set up with the idea of containing Messi paramount - there were roles for Casemiro, Mateo Kovacic, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric.

Rakitic found wing-back Sergi Roberto, and Suarez finished the move off crisply for his 10th of the season to give Barca the lead - before the game's key moment arrived another nine minutes later.

After Messi found Suarez with a through pass, the Uruguayan twice had the chance to beat Keylor Navas in a one-on-one. He was first denied by the keeper, then saw his shot strike the post.

As the rebound came back, Paulinho lunged to head on goal and Carvajal instinctively thrust his hand in the air to block - Navas would have considered it a fine save.

The Spain defender was shown a straight red card, leaving his side hamstrung in their search for a way back in as Messi slammed the spot-kick into the corner, increasing his tally as the top scorer in El Clasico history to 25 goals in all competitions.

Big billing, big difference

One week after Madrid added a second successive Club World Cup title to the two Champions Leagues won in a row under Frenchman Zidane, any hopes of clawing their way back towards a defence of last year's league title must now be extinguished.

They are now only two points closer to Barcelona than they are to the league's bottom three.

Saturday's match, arranged for a 12:00 GMT kick-off to attract as wide a global TV audience as possible - Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo estimated there would be 650 million viewers - was a chance to narrow the gap on Barca to eight points with victory.

Those watching around the world and the 80,264 fans inside the ground saw the home side start the better, but fail to make their superiority count.

Inside two minutes Ronaldo nodded in off the crossbar but saw his effort correctly ruled out for offside, before the 2017 Ballon d'Or winner swiped at thin air in the box with his left foot when set up by Toni Kroos.

With Messi tightly marked, it was Paulinho who threatened for Barca, twice drawing good saves from Keylor Navas before Benzema outmuscled Thomas Vermaelen to stoop and head against the base of the post.

Bale, yet to force his way back in to a regular starting slot following his latest spell out injured, came on in one of three changes made by Zidane after his side went down to 10.

He perhaps should have been more composed when found free in the box late on, but this victory was a deserved one for Barca.

Ernesto Valverde's side remain unbeaten in the league this season - they have won 14 and drawn three since their 5-1 aggregate defeat by Madrid in the two-legged season-opening Spanish Super Cup in August.

Line-ups

Real Madrid

Formation 4-1-3-2

  • 1Navas
  • 2CarvajalBooked at 63mins
  • 5Varane
  • 4RamosBooked at 59mins
  • 12MarceloBooked at 83mins
  • 14CasemiroSubstituted forAsensioat 72'minutes
  • 10Modric
  • 23KovacicSubstituted forBaleat 72'minutes
  • 8Kroos
  • 7Cristiano Ronaldo
  • 9BenzemaSubstituted forNachoat 66'minutes

Substitutes

  • 6Nacho
  • 11Bale
  • 13Casilla
  • 15Hernández
  • 17Vázquez
  • 20Asensio
  • 22Isco

Barcelona

Formation 4-4-2

  • 1ter Stegen
  • 20RobertoSubstituted forVidalat 90+1'minutes
  • 3Piqué
  • 25VermaelenBooked at 18mins
  • 18Alba
  • 15PaulinhoSubstituted forAndré Gomesat 84'minutes
  • 4Rakitic
  • 5BusquetsBooked at 88mins
  • 8IniestaSubstituted forNélson Semedoat 77'minutes
  • 10Messi
  • 9Suárez

Substitutes

  • 2Nélson Semedo
  • 6D Suárez
  • 13Cillessen
  • 14Mascherano
  • 19Digne
  • 21André Gomes
  • 22Vidal
Referee:
José María Sánchez Martínez
Attendance:
80,737

Match Stats

Home TeamReal MadridAway TeamBarcelona
Possession
Home45%
Away55%
Shots
Home14
Away18
Shots on Target
Home5
Away11
Corners
Home7
Away7
Fouls
Home14
Away10

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Real Madrid 0, Barcelona 3.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Real Madrid 0, Barcelona 3.

  3. Goal!

    Goal! Real Madrid 0, Barcelona 3. Aleix Vidal (Barcelona) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Lionel Messi following a corner.

  4. Post update

    Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Raphael Varane.

  5. Substitution

    Substitution, Barcelona. Aleix Vidal replaces Sergi Roberto.

  6. Post update

    Attempt missed. André Gomes (Barcelona) left footed shot from the left side of the box is too high. Assisted by Lionel Messi.

  7. Post update

    Offside, Real Madrid. Raphael Varane tries a through ball, but Sergio Ramos is caught offside.

  8. Post update

    Attempt missed. Raphael Varane (Real Madrid) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Toni Kroos with a cross following a set piece situation.

  9. Booking

    Sergio Busquets (Barcelona) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Sergio Busquets (Barcelona).

  11. Post update

    Marcelo (Real Madrid) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  12. Post update

    Attempt saved. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

  13. Post update

    Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Raphael Varane.

  14. Post update

    Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Raphael Varane.

  15. Post update

    Attempt blocked. André Gomes (Barcelona) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Lionel Messi.

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, Barcelona. André Gomes replaces Paulinho.

  17. Post update

    Offside, Real Madrid. Cristiano Ronaldo tries a through ball, but Sergio Ramos is caught offside.

  18. Booking

    Marcelo (Real Madrid) is shown the yellow card.

  19. Post update

    Corner, Real Madrid. Conceded by Marc-André ter Stegen.

  20. Post update

    Attempt saved. Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid) left footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is saved in the bottom left corner.

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Scores, Results & Fixtures

Saturday 23rd December 2017

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Barcelona1714304573845
2Atl Madrid1710612581736
3Valencia17104336171934
4Real Madrid1694330141631
5Sevilla179262022-229
6Villarreal178362420427
7Eibar177372229-724
8Getafe176562216623
9Real Sociedad176563129223
10Girona176562126-523
11Celta Vigo176383025521
12Ath Bilbao175661819-121
13Leganés166371214-221
14Real Betis176382531-621
15Espanyol175571421-720
16Levante173951522-718
17Alavés1750121325-1215
18Dep La Coruña1743101934-1515
19Malaga1732121331-1811
20Las Palmas1732121338-2511
View full Spanish La Liga table

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