Efficient Real Madrid win last El Clasico of the decade

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Madrid win last El Clasico of the decade
Real Madrid's Federico Valverde scoring the first goal in the 3-1 win over Barcelona

Real Madrid returned to winning ways with a vital victory at bitter rivals Barcelona in an entertaining El Clasico behind closed doors.

Morale may have been low after defeats in their previous two games by Cadiz, in La Liga, and Shakhtar Donetsk, in the Champions League.

But they started brightly when Benzema fed Valverde, who slammed the ball into the far corner, leaving Neto with no chance.

Fati’s almost immediate equaliser made it the first time both sides scored in the opening eight minutes of a Clasico in La Liga since 1940.

Madrid captain Ramos was substituted in last week’s home defeat to Cadiz and missed the subsequent shock reverse against Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League as the Spanish champions crept towards a crisis ahead of their first meeting with Barca this season.

But the centre-back was fit to start for the crunch LaLiga clash at Camp Nou and drew a second-half spot-kick from Clement Lenglet to restore Madrid’s lead after Ansu Fati had cancelled out Federico Valverde’s opener in a frantic start.

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Luka Modric then preyed on a Neto error in the 90th minute to secure the points and take Zinedine Zidane’s men top, earning back-to-back LaLiga wins against their fiercest rivals for the first time since May 2008 – the last time they successfully defended their domestic title.

Zinedine Zidane has not lost any of his six matches as a manager at the Nou Camp, with three wins and three draws as Real remain unbeaten in three Clasicos for the first time since 2012-13 which is also the last one of the decade.

Meanwhile, Barca are now without a win in three games in the league and sit six points back in mid-table under new coach Ronald Koeman.

 

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