El Clasico: Barcelona thrash Real Madrid 3-0 to extend lead on top

Updated: Dec 24, 2017, 15:38 IST | PA Sport

Goals from Suarez, Messi, Vidal help Barca hand rivals Real Madrid a 3-0 thrashing at the Bernabeu; move nine points clear at top of the table

Barcelona hammered Real Madrid 3-0 at the Bernabeu to move moved nine points clear at the top of the La Liga on Saturday. Zinedine Zidane's men had the better of a tight first period but Barcelona took control in the second and Luis Suarez swept home the opener before a Lionel Messi penalty took the game beyond Real. It was a strange spot-kick award by referee Jose Maria Sanchez Martinez, who could simply have awarded a goal rather than a penalty after Dani Carvajal handled on the line but then knocked the ball in as he lost his footing. The decision also saw Carvajal sent off.

Barca's Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring against Real Madrid during the El Clasico on Saturday. Pic/Getty Images
Barca's Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring against Real Madrid during the El Clasico on Saturday. Pic/Getty Images

Substitute Aleix Vidal added a third in stoppage time, and the title now looks almost certain to return to the Nou Camp. Cristiano Ronaldo headed in off the underside of the bar for Real in the second minute but it was rightly disallowed for offside, as the hosts made a bright start. Real were dominating possession and Messi dropped deeper and deeper in a bid to influence the game as the inclusion of Mateo Kovacic in Real's midfield looked a masterstroke. Barcelona saw more of the ball in the early stages of the second half and took the lead in the 54th minute when Ivan Rakitic broke forward, spread the play right to Sergi Roberto and his low cross was side-footed home by Suarez.

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo is dejected after his team's defeat on Saturday. Pic/AFP
Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo is dejected after his team's defeat on Saturday. Pic/AFP

Real's frustration began to grow as Sergio Ramos was booked for a foul on Suarez, and Barca added a second in the 64th minute. Suarez had a shot blocked by Navas and then hit the post before Carvajal was sent off for a deliberate handball. It was a controversial call to send the full-back off as the ball ended up in the net mere seconds later, but Messi's penalty made sure there were no further recriminations. Meanwhile, Barca held firm at the back, and there was still time for a third after Vidal's shot squirmed under Navas after good work from Messi on the right flank.

526 No. of goals scored by Messi to break Gerd Muller's record to become all-time goalscorer in Europe's top five leagues
17 No. of goals Barcelona's Messi has scored against Real Madrid, more than any other player in La Liga history
200 No. of assists the Argentine has provided for Barcelona in all competitions
3 No. of consecutive El Clasicos Barcelona have won against Real Madrid at Bernabeu for the first time in their history

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