Messi & Suarez Fire Barca 14 Points Clear Of Real After Clasico Win
Spanish La Liga Report: Real Madrid v FC Barcelona 23 December 2017
Spanish La Liga
Result: Real Madrid 0-3 Barcelona
Venue: Santiago Bernabéu
Date: 23 December 2017
FC Barcelona moved 14 points clear of Real Madrid after they thrashed Los Blancos 3-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez getting on the scoresheet.
In the second minute, Cristiano Ronaldo aroused a roar from the crowd as he found the net with a close-range header. However, he was correctly denied by the offside flag.
The Portuguese star then spurned a glorious chance in the 10th minute as he received a cut-back from Toni Kroos in the box, but failed to connect with the ball and let Barcelona off the hook.
Barcelona gradually found their feet and forced Keylor Navas into action in the 30th minute. Paulinho struck the ball first time after a perfectly-timed run in behind to latch onto Lionel Messi’s aerial pass, but the Costa Rican keeper tipped it over the bar.
Ronaldo forced a save from Marc-André ter Stegen with a low shot straight afterwards, but Paulinho worked Navas again with a 39th minute header, which the keeper was able to reach on the stretch.
In the 42nd minute, Karim Benzema went closer than anyone before him, meeting Marcelo’s cross with his head and striking the post.
Barcelona flew out of the blocks early in the second half and promptly carved the Real Madrid defence open. Ivan Rakitic’s run from deep put the Blaugrana on the front foot and Sergi Roberto’s ball across goal found Luis Suárez for the finish. The Uruguayan drew first blood in the 54th minute.
Suárez continued to torment the Real Madrid defence, surging forward and firing goalwards at regular intervals.
He was denied by Navas and by the post, but the pressure paid off as Dani Carvajal was red carded shortly afterwards for a deliberate handball in the penalty area. Lionel Messi stepped up to the spot and doubled Barcelona’s lead in the 64th minute.
Real Madrid refused to surrender and Gareth Bale forced Ter Stegen into saves first from close range in the 78th minute and then from distance a minute later.
Semedo forced Navas into action at the other end moments afterwards, but the German keeper’s work for the day was not done. He had to make a fine reaction-save to deny Sergio Ramos from right in front of goal with eight minutes of the 90 remaining.
Ultimately, Barcelona proved impenetrable and Aleix Vidal put the cherry on top as he received a cut-back from Messi and squeezed it under Navas. The Catalans moved nine points clear at the top of La Liga and 14 ahead of Los Blancos.
Soccer Laduma’s Rossella Ricco-Marrai is attending this year’s El Clasico thanks to La Liga’s offices in Johannesburg. Follow her daily dairy in Fan Park and our social channels.