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Barcelona dominate 10-man Real Madrid in Clásico to open up 9-point lead

Barcelona gave their fans an early Christmas present on Saturday as they beat rivals Real Madrid 3-0!

SNS | New Delhi | Updated :

Barcelona gave their fans an early Christmas present on Saturday as they beat eternal rivals Real Madrid 3-0 in an eventful El Clásico at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Real Madrid came into the tie full of confidence after their triumph at the 2017 FIFA Club World Cup and dominated the early exchanges but with star forward Cristiano Ronaldo misfiring, struggled to break down La Blaugrana’s defence.

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Marc-Andre ter Stegen in the Barcelona goal was having a standout game as was his counterpart Keylor Navas as both teams went into the dressing rooms at the interval deadlocked.

For once, Real had bossed proceedings, but Barcelona had looked dangerous on the break and Los Blancos were made to rue their profligacy when Luis Suarez gave the visitors the lead in the 54th minute.

Sergio Busquets, with a masterful pirouette and simple through-ball, allowed Ivan Rakitic to run at the backtracking Los Blancos defence and as the Croatian released Sergio Roberto on the right wing, there was only one outcome.

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Roberto’s first-time low cross at the far post was tapped-in by Luis Suarez with Navas well beaten for once.

Real, staring at a 14-point deficit, tried to muster a response but disaster struck soon after as fullback Dani Carvajal was sent off for hand balling a goal bound attempt.

The ball eventually trickled into the goal but referee Jose Martinez opted to award the visitors a penalty and give Carvajal his marching orders.

Lionel Messi, already the highest-scoring player in El Clásico history, added to his season’s tally with an emphatic finish and with less than half and hour remaining, Real were up against it.

Gareth Bale and Sergio Asensio were brought on by Zinedine Zidane with a final throw of the dice but the two wingers were unable to affect the result in the desired manner as Barcelona withstood some late pressure and would eventually add a third late in the tie.

Messi, who had been quiet by his sensational standards, was the architect and substitute Aleix Vidal stroked home a third to silence the Bernabeu.

After second-placed Atletico Madrid has lost their game on Friday night, Barcelona had the opportunity to put daylight between themselves and the chasing pack and Ernesto Valverde’s men did just that in the Spanish capital.

At this point, it seems like the La Liga title is theirs to lose but storm clouds seem to gathering in Madrid as Los Blancos have seen their title defence torn to shreds before the halfway point of the season.