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Real Madrid go top after edging rainy Clasico against Barca

2021 Apr 11, 10:51, MADRID
Real Madrid moved to the top of La Liga on Saturday night after a dramatic 2-1 win at home to FC Barcelona on a rainswept night in Valdebebas.

Real Madrid moved to the top of La Liga on Saturday night after a dramatic 2-1 win at home to FC Barcelona on a rainswept night in Valdebebas.

First half goals from Karim Benzema and Toni Kroos gave Madrid the win and although Oscar Mingueza pulled a second half goal back for Barca, it was not enough on a game that had alternatives until the final whistle.

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane included Fede Valverde in his side along with Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Casemiro and the Uruguayan's energy and pace was to prove vital as he produced a surging run in the 13th minute before feeding Lucas Vazquez to cross for Karim Benzema to flick the ball past Marc Andre Ter Stegen for the opening goal of the game.

Leo Messi looked to produce something for Barca, but his cross for Ousmane Dembele was flicked away from the Frenchman, before Real Madrid doubled their lead.

Vinicius Jr was maybe lucky to be given a free kick on the edge of the Barca area after a swift break and Kroos' free-kick took a big deflection off Sergino Dest to completely wrongfoot Ter Stegen and Jordi Alba, who was unable to clear off the line.

Real Madrid got men behind the ball in defense and looked to attack at speed and Valverde was unlucky to see his shot bounce back off the post before Ter Stegen saved Benzema's shot after the rebound.

Alvaro Odriozola then replaced Vazquez, who had to go off injured after a collision with Sergio Busquets, moments before Messi's corner hit the inside of the post but bounced clear.

Antoine Griezmann came on for Dest at the start of the second half as Barca reverted to a 4-man defence as the second half kicked off in a heavy rainstorm, which was blowing into the faces of the Barca team.

The conditions meant there was less control in the game, with the play shifting from end to end and in the 59th minute Mingueza gave Barca a lifeline with a smart finish after Griezmann had dummied Messi's cross.

Thibaut Courtois then did well to block Alba's cross as Barca began to camp outside the Madrid area, although Ronaldo Araujo deflected Vinicius Jr's cross onto the post after a counter.

Vinicius and Kroos wasted another chance on the break, while Mingueza flashed another ball across the face of goal. Alba saw an effort go just wide after a poor backpass from Odriozola as Madrid looked to defend their lead.

Casemiro was sent off for a second yellow card in the last minute of normal time, but Courtois easily saved Messi's resulting free kick and after Martin Braithwaite headed wide it looked as if it was all over for Barca, but there was still time for young substitute Ilaix Moriba to hit the Madrid crossbar with virtually the last kick of the game. 

Real Madrid Clasico Barca La Liga FC Barcelona Valdebebas Karim Benzema Toni Kroos Zinedine Zidane Lionel Messi Ousmane Dembélé Antoine Griezmann soccer football
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