The La Liga title is Barcelona’s to lose after they secured a third-straight league win away at Real Madrid for the first time in their history.
On Saturday the Catalan club strode into the Santiago Bernabeu and beat bitter rivals Real Madrid 3-0 to move 14 points clear of the reigning Spanish champs in the La Liga table.
Second half goals from Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi and Aleix Vidal did the business for Barca but they struggled in the first half as Cristiano Ronaldo had a goal chalked off and Karim Benzema hit the post for Real who finished the game with 10-men after Dani Carvajal was sent off for a deliberate handball.
With the win Barca move nine points ahead of Atletico Madrid who occupy second place, while Real remain in fourth with Zinedine Zidane’s side under plenty of pressure from their own fans.
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Barcelona sat back and somewhat surprisingly allowed Real Madrid to launch wave after wave of attack and Zidane’s men looked the more dangerous on the first half.
Ronaldo had a goal disallowed for being offside after just two minutes following Casemiro’s flick on, while Benzema sent a header against the outside of the post from Marcelo’s cross and Luka Modric forced Marc-Andre Ter Stegen into a good save.
The closest Barcelona came in the first half was Paulinho‘s header which was stopped by Keylor Navas.
Barcelona delivered a hammer blow early in the second half as Real’s defense left Ivan Rakitic wide open and he played in Sergi Roberto who crossed for Suarez to finish off a flowing move. 1-0 to Barca.
Real Madrid then shot themselves in the foot and it was game over.
Gerard Pique strode forward and Real’s defense opened up once again as Messi found Suarez. His first shot was saved by Navas, then the Uruguayan striker pinged an effort against the post but the follow-up was stopped on the line by Carvajal with his hand and he was sent off and Barcelona warded a penalty kick.
Messi smashed home the spot kick to make it 2-0.
Zidane sent on Isco and Gareth Bale, the latter of whom went close to pulling a goal back but slipped as he shot, but Real couldn’t find a way back into the game with Sergio Ramos forcing Ter-Stegen into a fine save at his near post.
In the end Barcelona held on easily for the win and Vidal jumped off the bench to add a third as Messi played him in and his shot squirmed under Navas.