Real Madrid moved to the top of the La Liga table with a 2-1 victory against Barcelona in the latest instalment of El Clasico on Saturday evening.
Karim Benzema brilliantly gave the hosts the lead with a fantastic, flicked finish from Lucas Vazquez’s low ball. Toni Kroos’ deflected free kick then saw Los Blancos double their advantage before the half-hour mark. The game was not quite finished there though as Oscar Mingueza pulled a goal back for Ronald Koeman’s men. An impressive comeback was not forthcoming in the end as the Catalans lost their first game in over four months despite Casemiro’s late sending off for two bookable offences.
Here are three things we learned from the game in Madrid:
Despite having not scored in Clasico since a 2-0 Real Madrid victory in the SuperCopa Espana back in August 2017, Benzema showed no anxiety in front of goal as he extended his recent lethal run. The Frenchman’s flicked finish was an exemplary effort and is the sign of a striker in top form and with immense confidence.
It is no surprise then to find out that the 33-year-old has now scored 11 goals in his last ten La Liga games. Now on 25 goals in all competitions, Benzema is now just two off of his total from the entirety of last season. It is form that he will surely be aiming to continue throughout the season.
Mingueza makes a name for himself in the Clasico
From one experienced campaigner in La Liga, to one who is only just forging his reputation, Oscar Mingueza took a considerable step on the road in his development by scoring in the biggest game of all.
It has been a thoroughly impressive debut campaign from the young Spaniard having made 32 appearances in all competitions for the Catalans. So, having now scored in El Clasico, the 21-year-old will hope to continue his upwardly mobile trend.
Real now favourites as Barca’s winning streak comes to an end
Coming into this game, it might well have not been the most outlandish suggestion to say that Barcelona were favourites. After all, Koeman’s men were fresh off of the back of six consecutive league wins, whilst they had not lost any of their last 19 La Liga matches, winning 16 of those. It was a run of form that was desperately needed considering their horrendous start to the campaign.
However, that run was ended emphatically by Zinedine Zidane’s troops who have now surely established themselves as title favourites. Los Blancos now sit one point clear at the top of the standings and whilst their stay could well be temporary considering Atletico Madrid tussle with Real Betis on Sunday, the way that Diego Simeone’s men have wobbled in recent weeks, Real will certainly be encouraged.
So, having now passed the huge hurdle that was El Clasico, Real can now be backed at a price of 17/10 to lift the league title come the end of the campaign.
Real Madrid: Courtois (7); Mendy (7), Nacho (7), Militao (7), Vazquez (7) (Odriozola (6), 43′); Casemiro (6), Valverde (6) (Asensio (6), 61′), Modric (6), Kroos (7) (Isco (6), 72′), Vinicius Jr. (7) (Marcelo (6), 72′); Benzema (7) (Mariano (6), 72′).
Barcelona: ter Stegen (6); Alba (5), Lenglet (6), Araujo (6) (Moriba (6), 72′), Mingueza (7), Dest (5) (Griezmann (6), 46′); De Jong (6), Busquets (5) (Roberto (6), 64′), Pedri (6) (Trincao (N/A), 81′); Messi (6), Dembele (6) (Braithwaite (N/A), 81′).
Goals: Benzema (13′), Kroos (28′), Mingueza (60′)
Referee: Gil Manzano
Yellow Cards: Pedri (23′), Araujo (26′), Nacho (69′), Alba (84′)
Red Cards: N/A