Barcelona suffered a first league defeat of the season as Real Madrid secured a sixth win in their past seven matches against Xavi’s side.
Real Madrid moved three points clear at the top of La Liga with a richly deserved 3-1 win over arch rivals Barcelona in Sunday’s Clasico at the Bernabeu.
With their Champions League campaign hanging in the balance, Barcelona went into the match eager to assert their home prowess. They dominated possession throughout the match, but were largely toothless in attack, allowing Los Blancos to pick them off with two counter-attacks in the first half.
The first goal came after great work by Toni Kroos, who sent Vinicius Junior to the goal with a delicious pass. Although Marc-Andre ter Stegen was on hand to save the Brazilian’s shot, Karim Benzema was the first on the scene to hit the rebound.
Barcelona panted but struggled to create many meaningful chances, coming closest to scoring when Robert Lewandowski inexplicably fired wide from two yards – a rare sight indeed with such an established goal threat.
Xavi’s side continued to accumulate possession in the second half as they tried to find a way back into the game, but no such avenue opened up as Madrid simply sat back and let their opponents go at them.
Barcelona continued to throw men forward as the game neared full-time, eventually finding a breakthrough when Lewandowski squared the ball for substitute Ferran Torres to stab home.
The goal gave the Catalans hope and they continued to push for an equalizer as time ticked down, but it was Madrid who had the last laugh when Eric Garcia brought down Rodrygo in Barca’s penalty area with a clumsy challenge.
A penalty was awarded after a VAR review, Rodrygo dusted himself off and confidently slotted past Ter Stegen to seal the three points for Carlo Ancelotti.
The result leaves Madrid clear at the top of the league with 25 points from nine games, ending Barcelona’s unbeaten start to the season.
Real Madrid: Lunin (7); Carvajal (6), Militao (6), Alaba (6), Mendy (7); Modrić (7), Tchouameni (6), Kroos (7); Valverde (8), Benzema (7), Vinicius (6).
Bench: Rudiger (-), Camavinga (6), Asensio (-), Rodrygo (7).
Barcelona: Ter Stegen (5), Roberto (5), Garcia (5), Koundé (6), Balde (6), Frenkie De Jong (6), Busquets (7), Pedri (6), Raphinha (7), Lewandowski (6), Dembélé (6).
Bench: Alba (6), Kessie (6), Gavi (5), Torres (7), Fati (7).