La Liga, Bernabeu - Real Madrid 0 Barcelona 3 (Suarez 54', Messi 64' pen., Vidal 90+3')
Lionel Messi inspired Barcelona to a comprehensive 3-0 win over 10-man Real Madrid, giving the Catalans an astonishing 14-point lead ahead of their rivals at the top of La Liga.
Zinedine Zidane’s side needed a win if they were to keep alive their chances of retaining their championship crown, but they were served a humiliating defeat on their own patch, withy Barca scoring three times in the second half.
Real Madrid had the better of the play in the opening 45 minutes, but failed to take their chances. They were made to rue that when Luis Suarez opened the scoring in the second half, sweeping home a finish following a rapid counter attacking move through Ivan Rakitic and Sergi Roberto.
Dani Carvajal was sent off for making a save with his hands on the goalline, with Messi converting from the penalty spot to establish a 2-0 advantage. And substitute Aleix Vidal scored a third in stoppage time to put the finishing touches on a significant victory for the visiting Catalans.
The 2017/18 La Liga title race is over before Christmas
We’ve not even had our turkey and all the trimmings yet, but the 2017/18 La lira title race is over. With victory at the Santiago Bernabeu, Barcelona now hold an astonishing 14-point lead over Real Madrid at the top of the table, and a nine-point lead over Atletico Madrid in second place. What’s more, there was no suggestion in their performance that they could let that lead slip. If anything, Real will only slip further behind.
MAN OF THE MATCH - Paulinho (Barcelona)
Messi’s picture will adorn the back pages of the Spanish sports dailies tomorrow, but Paulinho was the standout performer on the pitch for Barcelona. The Brazilian has proved his doubters wrong since joining in the summer and this was an illustration of his importance to Barca. He gave them something different, providing a threat in the first half when the Catalans found the going tough. Against the odds, Paulinho has become a crucial part of Valverde’s team this season.
Real Madrid - Navas 4, Carvajal 4, Ramos 5, Varane 5, Marcelo 6, Kroos 6, Modric 6, Casemiro 4, Kovacic 5, Ronaldo 6, Benzema 5. Subs - Bale 6, Asensio 5, Nacho 5.
Barcelona - Ter Stegen 7, Roberto 7, Pique 7, Vermaelen 7, Alba 6, Rakitic 8, Busquets 7, Paulinho 8, Iniesta 7, Messi 8, Suarez 7. Subs - Gomes 5, Semedo 5, Vidal 6.
3’ RONALDO GOAL CHALKED OFF! The Real Madrid number seven has the ball in the net within the opening few minutes, but he was offside when he headed home off the underside of the bar.
28’ WHAT A SAVE! Paulinho comes close to opening the scoring for Barcelona, sending a volley towards goal on the stretch. But Navas was equal to the effort, tipping it over the bar.
30’ RONALDO COMES CLOSE! This game is opening up now, with Ronaldo taking on Roberto before shooting from a tight angle. But Ter Stegen makes a save to divert it wide.
42’ OFF THE POST! That was inches away from being an opener for Real Madrid. Benzema gets to the near post to get on the end of a cross, but his header hits the outside of the post.
54’ GOAL! Real Madrid 0-1 Barcelona: What a blow that could be! Rakitic bursts through the Real Madrid midfield, passes out to Roberto who squares it across the box to Suarez. He finishes with aplomb.
64’ WHAT A CHANCE! That could have finished the game as a contest. Suarez had the opportunity to score from eight yards out, but Navas makes the save to deny the Barca striker.
65’ OFF THE POST! Now Suarez hits the woodwork with a shot. Mayhem ensues in the Real Madrid penalty area, but for the moment they somehow manage to scramble it clear.
66’ PENALTY KICK TO BARCELONA! Carvajal makes a save with his hand to prevent Barca from finding the net. Easy decision for the referee.
66’ SENT OFF! Carvajal is shown a straight red card for using his hands to make a save on the line. Barcelona now have a man-advantage and they have a chance from the spot.
67’ GOAL! Real Madrid 0-2 Barcelona: Messi makes no mistake from the penalty spot, striking high into the Real Madrid net. Barcelona now have a 2-0 lead and a man advantage. Is there any way back for the hosts from this? Up against it.
78’ WHAT A CHANCE FOR BALE! That would have been some introduction. The pass was cut back to Bale, who was free six yards out, but Ter Stegen made a reflex save to deny him.
93’ GOAL! Real Madrid 0-3 Barcelona: Barcelona are humiliating Real Madrid on their own patch! Great play from Messi sets up Vidal just inside the box and the former Sevilla man squeezes a finish underneath Navas. What a result.
Lionel Messi is the only player to score 15 or more goals in 10 consecutive La Liga seasons.
Messi has scored more goals against Real Madrid than any other player in La Liga history (17).
Karim Benzema has hit the woodwork more than times (six) than he has scored (five) in all competitions this season.