Majestic Barca defeat Real in Bernabeu
Updated: 2011-12-11 10:09
MADRID - FC Barcelona came back from conceding a goal after less than half a minute to take a famous victory 3-1 away to bitter rivals Real Madrid in the Santiago Bernabeu stadium Saturday.
Barcelona will now fly to the World Club Championships knowing they have dealt their title rivals a huge blow to their morale in a game that an in form Madrid were favorites to win.
Those expecting an inform Madrid to open up a nine point gap over Barcelona would have been celebrating when Karim Benzema scored inside the first minute, but Alexis Sanchez, Xavi Hernandez and Cesc Fabrigas turned the game on its head.
Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho kept faith with the style of play that has served his side so well this season with Lassana Diarra partnering Xabi Alonso in central midfield and with Benzema leading the attack in preference to Gonzalo Higuain, while Fabio Coentrao started at right back.
Alexis Sanchez got the nod ahead of David Villa in a Barcelona side where Carles Puyol partnered Gerard Pique in central defense.
Madrid needed only 25 seconds to open the scoring as Benzema volleyed home from close range following Mesut Ozil's deflected shot from Victor Valdes' scuffed clearance.
Real Madrid's Karim Benzema celebrates his goal against Barcelona during their Spanish first division soccer match, the "Clasico", at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, December 10, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]
The home side were working incredibly hard, but Leo Messi almost equalized after five minutes after a run only for Iker Casillas to tip his shot wide.
Pressing high up the field, Real Madrid looked hungry and Cristiano Ronaldo saw a shot parried before Iker Casillas had to punch over a Xavi Hernandez free kick after 24 minutes. Ronaldo wasted another chance a minute later, shooting wide with Angel di Maria was well placed.
Alexis Sanchez leveled the score slightly against the run of play on the half hour with a right foot shot from outside the Madrid area following another Messi run.
Barcelona's Lionel Messi (R) celebrates a goal against Real Madrid with teammate Cesc Fabregas during their Spanish first division soccer match, the "Clasico", at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, December 10, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]
Following two dangerous free kicks from Ronaldo, Barca took the lead after Xavi Hernandez's shot was deflected past Casillas after touching Marcelo. It was a good way to celebrate his 600th appearance for the club.
Mourinho reacted fast by bringing Kaka into the game for the ineffective Ozil, but Barca were gaining control of midfield and Casillas had to save with his feet to deny Alexis a second goal, before Messi hit a free kick just wide following a wide challenge by Pepe.
Ronaldo missed fine chance to level the scores before Cesc made it 3-1 to Barca following a fine move that ended with a diving header from a Dani Alves cross.
Kaka saw a shot flicked wide by Valdes in a frantic closing period, while at the other end Casillas did well to deny Iniesta and Messi in a goalmouth scramble and in the closing minutes Barcelona gave Real Madrid a lesson in football to show who are still the side to beat in Spain.
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