Despite many predicting a Barcelona win, late goals from Benzema and Ronaldo claimed all three points for Real Madrid. Barcelona’s lead at the top of the table has now been cut to six points.
Barcelona 1-2 Real Madrid
(Pique 56′ – Benzema 62′, Ronaldo 85′)
Real Madrid picked up a shocking 2-1 win against Barcelona on Saturday night in a game that may well have blown the Spanish title race wide open. Although the capital side still sit eight points behind their Catalan rivals, the win now means Atletico Madrid sit just six points behind Barcelona in second place.
Despite eventually claiming all three points, Madrid had to put up with extended periods of domination from the home side in the first half. Barcelona did not create many chances, but Real Madrid seemed happy to allow them to dominate possession.
Howeve,r Barcelona were rewarded for their dominance early in the second half. Towering central defender Gerard Pique pulled away from his marker and headed in Ivan Rakitic’s corner. It was a goal that the home side deserved and had hoped to build upon as the game went on.
Yet just six minutes later, Madrid stunned the home fans into silence when Karim Benzema pulled Real Madrid back in to the game with an exquisite scissor-kick in the Barcelona six-yard box. From nothing, the Frenchman had latched on to a rebound and given the visitors a chance at taking something from their trip to Catalonia.
Indeed, it was the capital side that took the initiative following the equalizer, and “The Whites” really should have taken the lead when a Gareth Bale goal was incorrectly ruled out. Replays showed the Madrid forward had apparently climbed over Alba when heading the ball in to the goal. Moments later, Cristiano Ronaldo found himself with space and time outside the box and hit a shot off the Barcelona crossbar in what looked like a late assault from Zidane’s side. All of a sudden the home side looked vulnerable.
The late drive looked to have hit a stumbling block when Sergio Ramos was handed a second yellow card and duly sent off, reducing Madrid to 10 men. However, with just five minutes remaining, Bale was once again powering down the right wing, where he swung a cross in to Ronaldo at the back post. The Portuguese international then chested the ball down and fired the ball home from close range to give his side a late lead.
Five months after a Rafa Benitez Real Madrid team were embarrassed off of their own ground, the Zidane-lead Spanish giants regained some of their old cache in Camp Nou. The will take this result into their Champions League tie with Wolfsburg as they try to reach their sixth consecutive semifinal.