Sports | March 1, 2020 5:03 pm

Real Madrid Defeats Barcelona in El Clasico to Reclaim First Place In Spain

Vinicius Jr. scored a deflected goal to give Real the three points

Vinicius Jr. scores against Barcelona
Vinicius Jr. of Real Madrid celebrates in El Clasico.
David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Despite heading into Sunday’s El Clasico down two points in La Liga, Real Madrid weathered some great Barcelona chances to beat their forever rivals 2-0, thanks to goals from Vinicius Jr. and the substitute Mariano. The victory pushes Madrid into first place, one ahead of the Catalan side, and with an easier schedule the rest of the way, they’re now in the driver seat to win their 34th Spanish title.

The game started with Real controlling the majority of the play, but after about 15 minutes, Barcelona began its barrage on the Madrid goal, to no avail. The best chance of the first half fell to Barcelona midfielder Arthur, who freed himself for a counter-attack, only to see his attempt blocked by Thibaut Courtois:

After the halftime break, it was mostly the Real show, as the all-whites took control of the match on their home turf. The brilliant Isco had the best chance on the day before the goals, curling a 56th minute shot so well that only a majestic save from Barca goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen kept it out:

It was not to be ter Stegen’s day, however, as Vinicius Jr. got free in the 71st minute and dribbled to point-blank range, firing a shot at goal that Gerard Pique deflected in past his goalie.

With Barca pushing to get the equalizer, and with new signing Martin Braithwaite giving Real some problems after being subbed on, the best thing the hosts could do was sit back and counter in hopes of sealing the match, which they did via the under-used Mariano, who nearly slipped but put the ball past ter Stegen to give Real all three points on the night.

With just 12 games to go, Madrid now controls its own destiny, and winning out will see them lift their record 34th La Liga trophy. On the other end, Barca will regret their missed opportunities and must now hope that their rivals slip up on the way to the finish line in hopes of winning the league for the third straight year.

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