Real Madrid ease to El Clasico win over Barcelona | Football news

Goals from Benzema, Valverde and Rodyrgo take Madrid back to the top of the table.

Real Madrid have comfortably defeated Barcelona 3-1 in the first Clasico of the season.

Victory on Sunday also returns Real to the top of the La Liga standings. They now lead Barcelona by three points.

Karim Benzema and Fede Valverde put Madrid 2-0 up in the first half and Carlo Ancelotti’s side played the rest of the game on cruise control.

A late Ferran Torres goal raised hopes of an unlikely Barcelona comeback, but Madrid went down the other end of the pitch and won a stoppage-time penalty which Rodyrgo scored.

The match started with both teams level on points at the top of the table.

In the 12th minute, Real’s pressure paid off and Benzema scored his first goal since August.

A perfectly weighted through ball by Toni Kroos found Vinicius Jr., who slipped past Jules Konde with ease and stormed towards the goal.

His shot was blocked by goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen, but the rebound fell to Benzema, who coolly slotted into the bottom corner.

Benzema has scored 12 El Clasico goals, moving him to fifth. [Susana Vera/Reuters]

The French forward is widely expected to win the Ballon d’Or on Monday and the goal will only brighten the glow of his impending greatness.

The goal was a wake-up call for Barcelona and they began to grow into the game.

Robert Lewandowski got on the end of a dangerous cross from Raphinha on the right, and with the goal wide open in front of him, he put his shot wide.

In the 35th minute, Valverde found himself in acres of space on the edge of the Barca box and, after comfortably teeing up a shot, fired into ter Stegen’s bottom corner. Good finish, but poor defending from Barca.

The Uruguayan has emerged as one of Madrid’s best players in recent months and the goal was his fifth in all competitions this season. It is already more than he managed in the previous two.

With the game drawing to a close, Barcelona substitute Torres pulled a goal back in the 83rd minute after tapping in from close range from an Ansu Fati cross.

Hopes of a comeback were quickly extinguished when Eric Garcia fouled Rodyrgo in the box in stoppage time and, after a video assistant referee check, the Brazilian converted the penalty he had won.

Real Madrid
Real Madrid are now three points ahead of Barcelona at the top of the table [Juan Medina/Reuters]

The result does not represent the level of Madrid’s dominance. Despite the absence of goalkeeper Thibuat Courtois and centre-back Antonio Rudiger, the Madrid defense was hardly threatened.

So far this season, Benzema, Valverde, Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo have each scored five or more goals in all competitions.

A lot of new characters arrived at Barcelona this season, but the story of El Clasico remains the same.

Xavi’s men came into the match with the best defense in the league, having conceded a goal. But injuries have ravaged their backline and they have now conceded six goals in their last two games.

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