Real Madrid 2-1 Barcelona
Karim Benzema scored in his seventh-consecutive La Liga appearance as Real Madrid held off Barcelona’s comeback to win a pulsating Clasico and go top.
Benzema wrongfooted Marc-Andre Ter Stegan with a wonderful near-post flick on Lucas Vazquez’s cross for a 13th minute lead.
Although dominating possession after Benzema’s opener, Barca were struggling to cope with Real counterattacks, and when midweek hero Vinicius Junior was clipped on the edge of the area by Ronald Araujo, Toni Kroos doubled the lead in the 28th minute, his free kick finding the net via Serginho Dest and Jordi Alba.
Federico Valverde, the only change from the Liverpool victory for Marco Asensio, then hit the post with Ter Stegen scrambling to keep out Vazquez’s rebound.
The only mark on the host’s half was losing makeshift right back Vazquez to injury after a collision with Sergio Busquets.
Lionel Messi then almost provided some magic in injury time when he hit the far post from a corner.Embed from Getty Images
Barca introduced Antoine Griezmann for the second half, switching to a back four, and it was the Frenchman’s dummy on Alba’s 60th minute cross that allowed Oscar Mingueza to pull one back with his shin in the torrential rain.
The action began to match the wild conditions as Araujo deflected against his own post before Messi and Alba combined to force Thibaut Courtois into a crucial near-post block.
Despite a Martin Braithwaite penalty appeal, a late Casemiro second yellow card and a last-second Ilaix Moriba volley against the bar, Real survived to top the table pending Atletico Madrid’s visit to Real Betis tomorrow.