After battling back to defeat Real Madrid 2-1 in El Clásico, Barcelona has made significant progress toward winning La Liga for the first time since 2019. With 12 games remaining until the season’s last international break, they now lead the standings by 12 points. Despite being the better team on the night, Barça lost early and had to demonstrate incredible grit to recover and deal with what felt like a knockout blow to their main competition for the title.
Four times during the season, the two teams have faced off. Barcelona took the Supercopa de Espana final, the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final, and the second La Liga match while Los Blancos took home the victory in the first La Liga match.
Real Madrid prevailed in 101 of the 253 competitive games, while Barcelona triumphed in 100. 52 fights resulted in draws. Along with current Paris Saint-Germain colleague and former Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos, former FC Barcelona star Lionel Messi holds the record for most goals scored in El Clasico history.
This game’s first ten minutes between Barcelona vs Real Madrid were completely wild, with Madrid hitting a shot on goal after only 45 seconds and three significant Barça chances before the sixth minute. An entirely unintentional first goal for Madrid as Vinicius Junior’s attempted cross inside the box hit Ronald Araujo’s head and went into the net.
After an erratic start, Barça found themselves in the lead. However, they kept their composure and started blitzing the Madrid defense with perilous attacks one after another. Thibaut Courtois was compelled to make a few crucial saves to maintain his team ahead.
Madrid had to resort to some highly tough play to slow the pace and try to hold onto their lead before the halftime whistle as Barça pressed high and recovered the ball often.
The Blaugrana never gave up and eventually received theirs just due: after a shot from Raphinha was blocked inside the box, the rebound fell to Sergi Roberto, who took his time and finished brilliantly to score the equalizer and give Barça the lead. It had appeared that Los Blancos would withstand the pressure from Barça and take a significant lead into halftime.
The second half began with everything in perfect balance even though the home team was by far the superior squad at the break.
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From an entertainment standpoint, the second half was particularly challenging to watch because neither team was able to hold together significant periods, and play was frequently stopped for fouls.
Both teams were more muscular than creative, although Barça did have two good chances thanks to efforts from Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha, while Madrid only had a few half-chances on the counter that never threatened Marc-André ter Stegen.
As the game entered its last ten minutes, it appeared that we would end up with a draw, but Madrid eventually found a way to get through Barça’s defense on the break, and Dani Carvajal’s cross found Marco Asensio inside the box for a tap-in to give the visitors the lead. But after a protracted VAR review, the goal was disallowed due to very little offside on Asensio, and Barça narrowly avoided disaster in the last moments.
Madrid desperately needed the victory and took the initiative in the last moments of play, pushing many players forward in search of a game-winning late goal. A swift counterattack resulted in a great pass from Lewandowski finding Alejandro Balde on his own on the left wing, and the full-back made an excellent low cross to Franck Kessie, who finished the rebound and gave Barça the lead at the very last moment. However, their desperate late surge left spaces behind, which Barça explored hugely.
Shortly after the final horn blew between Barcelona Vs Real Madrid, Barça has declared the clear favorite to win the championship. Although La Liga isn’t quite done, it feels like it. Barça earned this victory by outplaying Madrid that night and showing a greater will to win. One of Barça’s biggest victories in this rivalry in a very, very long time would be a third consecutive Clásico victory in 2023.
Lewandowski, who leads La Liga in goals scored with 15, had a shot deflected just wide before Real replacement Rodrygo, playing in his first game, shot over at the other end. Another outstanding Courtois save denied Raphinha a chance to win it in the 74th minute, and Lewandowski also missed the target.
After only six minutes on the field, Asensio scored late for Real, but the goal was disallowed due to a close offside call by the video assistant referee. In the 92nd minute, Kessie, a substitute, won it for Barcelona by scoring after some strong work from Alejandro Balde.
“The league is not decided, but it’s a huge win, of course between Barcelona vs Real Madrid,” Barcelona manager Xavi stated. “I believe we earned the victory and were superior to Real Madrid, as we produced more opportunities.” Before Real Madrid hosts Real Valladolid the next day, Barcelona will play an away game at Elche on April 1.