BARCELONA: Barcelona snatched a 2-1 Clasico win over Real Madrid with Franck Kessie’s late goal Sunday to move 12 points clear at the top of La Liga.The victory dents Madrid’s ambitions...
BARCELONA: Barcelona snatched a 2-1 Clasico win over Real Madrid with Franck Kessie’s late goal Sunday to move 12 points clear at the top of La Liga.
The victory dents Madrid’s ambitions of retaining the title and leaves the Catalans close to lifting the trophy for the first time since 2019.
Carlo Ancelotti’s Madrid took the lead through a Ronald Araujo own goal but Barcelona pulled level when Sergi Roberto tucked home just before half-time.
Both sides had chances to win the game and Marco Asensio struck for Madrid, but the goal was ruled offside by VAR, before Alejandro Balde set up Kessie in the 92nd minute. “It’s not definitive but it’s a very important step,” Xavi told reporters.
“Twelve points clear at the top of La Liga, we are having an extraordinary league campaign, I am very happy for that and proud to watch the team play.” The build-up to the match was overshadowed by Barcelona’s corruption charge in the “Caso Negreira” refereeing scandal.
Madrid joined Spanish prosecutors’ complaint against Barcelona last week and their president Florentino Perez snubbed the game for the first time in over 20 years, amid rising tensions between the two Spanish giants.
That fed the match’s intensity, both on and off the pitch, in Xavi’s sixth Clasico as Barcelona coach but only his first at Camp Nou. Xavi asked fans to make the stadium a pressure cooker and they responded, selling it out, whistling Madrid in possession and conjuring one of the best atmospheres of the season.
However, they fell behind in unfortunate circumstances. Araujo deflected Vinicius’ cross in at the near post, with Ter Stegen helpless. Araujo, playing at right-back to counteract the Brazilian, has enjoyed his duels with Vinicius in the past but this time the winger triumphed, albeit fortuitously. Barcelona supporters became enraged by his emphatic celebration in front of them.