Real Madrid beat Barcelona 2-1 in the first Clasico of the season in front of 86,422 fans at the Camp Nou on Sunday after a sensational strike from defender David Alaba and a late goal from Lucas Vazquez gave Carlo Ancelotti’s side three points.
Scoring first and holding off a Barcelona team that struggled to create chances. Real Madrid goes top of the La Liga table, while Barcelona is in 9th place, five points behind their rivals.
Barcelona started strong with Ansu Fati leading the charge and the match could’ve taken a turn in Barcelona’s favor when U.S. international Sergino Dest had the goal at his mercy, but skied his attempt in the 25th minute. That left the door open for Real Madrid, which began to exert more pressure through the runs of Vinicius Junior, whom Barcelona struggled to contain.
It was Vinicius who started the counterattack that led to Real Madrid’s opener in the 32nd minute. He fed compatriot Rodrygo, who then slotted a through ball into space for David Alaba, who was making a marauding run into the attack from his center back position. Alaba applied a striker’s finish past Barcelona goalkeeper Marc Andre Ter Stegen.
Barcelona brought in a host of subs, including attacking midfielder Philippe Coutinho and forwards Sergio Aguero and Luuk de Jong, but it failed to create much. It was Real Madrid which found a way to seal the match in stoppage time when Lucas Vasquez put away a rebound after a shot from Real Madrid sub Marco Asensio was saved by Ter Stegen.
Aguero’s late goal for Barcelona moments later on a cross from Dest was too little too late and the final whistle came seconds later.
Victory was Real’s fourth straight in Clasicos and also Ancelotti’s first at the Camp Nou in six visits, with his side devastating on the counter-attack and the result moving them provisionally top of LaLiga with 20 points.
“We played a practical game. We knew what we need to do and the boys executed the game plan perfectly,” Ancelotti said.
“Our team enjoy playing on the counter-attack and I have to take advantage of that.”
Barcelona controlled possession in the first half but Real took the lead when Alaba started a flowing move with a tackle and finished it at the other end with a left-footed drive from the edge of the box.
Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman brought on Philippe Coutinho at halftime while strikers Sergio Aguero and Luuk de Jong were also thrown on in the second half as they searched for an equaliser.
With seven minutes of injury time added on, Real doubled their lead when Marc-Andre ter Stegen saved a shot from Marco Asensio from another counter-attack but Vazquez was quicker than Gerard Pique to pounce on the rebound to score.
The home side got a goal back in the 97th minute when Sergino Dest crossed to the Aguero in the six-yard box and the Argentine tapped in for his first goal in a Barcelona shirt.
But it proved to be a consolation goal, leaving Barcelona five points behind in eighth place.
Koeman had warned his players they needed to be more effective when controlling the ball possession and that stopping Real’s speed on the counter would be decisive but that was easier said than done.
Barca managed to get the ball into dangerous positions around Real’s box but they lacked the final pass.
He first dribbled past two players and fell inside the area after contact with Jordi Alba but he was denied a penalty while he was also denied another opportunity when the linesman signalled offside with Ter-Stegen beaten.
Barcelona wasted their biggest opportunity of the first half when Memphis Depay led a counter-attack and crossed to Dest, who was unmarked in the box but he volleyed the ball into the stands.
“I’m not happy with the result. I think we deserved more,” Koeman said.
“We knew that we couldn’t afford to miss opportunities and that if they got the lead, they know how to defend. We were not good in the last quarter (of the pitch).
“Losing at home to our biggest rivals in a close game is though to swallow.”
Coutinho gave new life to Barca when he came on for Oscar Mingueza but Real kept persisting with the long balls to Vinicius, who left the game exhausted late on for Asensio.
Barcelona vs. Real Madrid final score
RMA — David Alaba (Rodrygo) — 32nd min.
RMA — Lucas Vasquez — 93rd min.
BAR — Sergio Aguero (Sergino Dest) — 97th min.