Clinical In the 250th El Classico, Real Madrid defeated Barcelona to take the lead in La Liga and hand their rivals their first league loss of the year.
The Clásico kicked off with both teams looking to control possession and it was Barcelona who fired the first warning shot with 5 minutes gone through a long-range effort from Raphinha.
Real Madrid hit back soon after after Mendy made a run down the left before playing in Vini Jr. whose shot narrowly missed the target. The Whites were comfortable and took the lead in the 12th minute.
A swift counter-attack initiated by Kroos with a great pass to Vini Jr., and the Brazilian cut inside the area but his shot was blocked by Ter Stegen, before Benzema picked up the rebound and made it 1-0.
The tempo dropped as the minutes ticked by and Barça created the occasional chance. The best chance came in the 25th minute when Lewandowski shot over at the back post after a cross from Raphinha. Ancelotti’s men injected more pace into the game and Valverde doubled the lead on the half-hour mark.
A team goal involving Vini Jr, Tchouameni, Mendy and the Uruguayan, who struck a right-footed shot just inside the post from the edge of the area, leaving Ter Stegen with no chance.
The script remained the same following the restart, as Real Madrid enjoyed two fine chances to extend their lead to 3-0. First, Kroos fired over the crossbar, before Benzema had the ball in the back of the net with the very next move, a gorgeous curling effort which was ultimately ruled out by VAR for offside against the Frenchman (52nd minute).
Ancelotti’s team had the azulgranas pinned back now and with 70 minutes on the clock, Benzema shot high after a nice piece of link-up play between Modrić and Valverde.
As the game moved into the closing stages, Barcelona pushed up in search of a goal. Ansu Fati tried his luck from outside the box but his strike flew over, before Ferran Torres did cut the deficit on 84′ (2-1). In the 90th minute, Eric García brought down Rodrygo in the box and VAR beckoned the referee to the monitor, where he pointed to the spot.
The Brazilian forward, who had replaced Vini Jr., converted from the spot to make it 3-1 at the end.
The competitors had seven victories and a tie in their first eight games of the day, but Real now leads by three points and is still unblemished.
For Xavi, it was his first La Liga road loss in over a year as Barcelona’s manager.