Real Madrid added salt to Barcelona’s wounds as Carlo Ancelotti’s team beat the Catalans 3-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The home side opened the score as Karim Benzema took advantage of Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s save of a Vinicius Jr. shot to slot the ball past the outstretched leg of Eric Garcia. Sergio Busquets, who was subbed off early in the second-half, failed to commit a foul on Toni Kroos who delivered the ball to the Brazilian to start the counter.
Barcelona managed to wrestle some control, albeit without creating much danger, following the goal. But like in the game against Inter Milan, defensive mistakes reared its ugly head. Garcia attempted to head away a cross but only deflected the ball to Vinicius Jr. A calamitous attempt from Barcelona to get back in defense was all for naught as Federico Valverde powered a shot from outside the box. Ter Stegen could do nothing to stop the shot.
Real Madrid remained on the front foot to start the second half. They had a goal by Benzema called off due to offside.
Xavi made a triple substitution to try to turn things around. Gavi, Jordi Alba and Ferran Torres replaced Busquets, Balde and Raphinha.
It wouldn’t be until the 83rd minute when Barcelona got one back. A nice run from Ansu Fati on the left saw him escape a tackle from Valverde and into the area. He sent in a cross that was mishit by Robert Lewandowski. The slight deflection fell to an open Torres who simply needed to tap the ball in.
Fati was close to equalizing only minutes later.
The final dagger came after a penalty was given to Real Madrid as the referee took a second look at a potential foul from Garcia on Rodrygo. The Brazilian converted the penalty despite Ter Stegen getting a touch.
The win puts Real Madrid three points clear of Barcelona in the league.
For Barcelona, it puts an end to a terrible week for the club. It’s also created some questions on Xavi. Not so much in terms of his future but what’s gone wrong for the team to be flying before the international break to where they are now.