Barcelona took a massive step towards the La Liga title after thumping a disappointing Real Madrid outfit 3-0 in their own backyard on Saturday.
Real Madrid 0 Barcelona 3
Suarez breaks deadlock after break
Carvajal red-carded for foul inside box
Messi converts from the penalty spot
Late sub Vidal seals Clasico win
In one of the most one-sided Clasicos in recent history, Barca romped to a 3-0 win with all three goals arriving in the second half as they moved 14 points ahead of Zinedine Zidane’s side.
Luis Suarez opened the scoring before Dani Carvajal saw red for handling the ball on the goalline. Lionel Messi netted the subsequent spot-kick and Aleix Vidal rubbed salt into Real’s wounds with a stoppage-time third.
Despite the hosts starting off with real intent, seeing a goal disallowed and a near miss by Toni Kroos, Barca eventually got into their stride and threatened with more regularity.
Paulinho’s 18th-minute effort after receiving a pin-point pass from Sergi Roberto was the first real effort at goal before a flurry of chances at either end culminated before the break.
Real had goalkeeper Keylor Navas and captain Sergio Ramos to thank for their last-ditch defending at keeping the scores level, while Marc-Andre ter Stegen was at hand to save efforts from Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema.
With the scores level at 0-0 at the break, the one-sided result to come was totally unexpected for the passionate home supporters.
It all started with Suarez’s opener 10 minutes into the second half. Sergi Roberto’s surging run saw the right-back perfectly pick out the Uruguayan to pounce onto the cross and beat Navas at the back post.
Going behind saw the defending champions turn a bit more offensive, despite having no real pace on the pitch as Marco Asensio and Gareth Bale watched from the sidelines, with Matteo Kovacic deployed part of a four-man midfield alongside Luca Modric, Casemiro and Kroos.
Just after the hour mark, the visitors opened the Real defence as Messi released Suarez, but after being denied by Navas the Argentina international latched on the rebound and teed up his team-mate again.
This time Suarez’s effort struck the post, before Paulinho came forward only to see his header blocked by the hand of Carvajal, who then received a straight red card. Messi stepped up to slot home the resulting spot-kick and the Blaugrana took firm control of the clash with their possession-based tactics.
Frustrating the home team and their supporters, the result only became embarrassing in stoppage-time. Second-half substitute Aleix Vidal was on hand to smash home Messi’s cut-back, which in the build-up seemed to have went out for a throw-in.
However, Barca and Vidal played to the whistle and his low shot squirmed underneath the body of Navas and rolled into the back of the net.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) December 23, 2017