El Clásico: Real Madrid come up top in first El Clásico of the season

Real Madrid bounced back from a nightmare week to beat Barcelona 3-1 at Camp Nou on Saturday in what would be the 245th El Clásico game between both teams. 

In the previous week, The defending La Liga champions had suffered embarrassing defeats to Shakhtar Donetsk and newly promoted Cadiz, while Barcelona was beaten by Getafe last weekend

Barca had the chance to inflict a third consecutive defeat on their rivals and increase the pressure on Zinedine Zidane, but Real started the clash in the best way possible. 

Fede Valverde gave Real the dream start with a fifth-minute strike. Karim Benzema’s through-ball was perfect for Valverde, who took advantage of lackadaisical Barca defending and finished beyond Neto.

But that joy was short-lived as Ansu Fati equalised just three minutes later from close range.

Philippe Coutinho both tried their luck from range when Messi saw Courtois produce a moment of magic after 24 minutes. The Argentine used deft feet to beat Ramos in the box and fired in a shot to the near post with his right foot. Courtois was alert and threw himself across the goal to push the ball away to ensure the game remained levelled at halftime.

After the break, Sergio Ramos converted a 63rd-minute penalty that he won after VAR intervened. 

Ramos and Valverde both could have made it three in the final minutes but it was the substitute who Modric did, finishing beautifully after Neto rushed out.

This was Ronald Koeman’s first Clasico as Barcelona coach and some of the pressure Zidane would have felt from a loss is now transferred to the Dutchman, who has overseen only three wins from his first six games in charge.

Madrid’s win takes them to the top of the table and earns them a six-point lead over the Catalans, having played one game more than who Barca remain 10th on the log.

Barcelona faces Juventus on Wednesday in the Champions League, without the suspended Gerard Pique.

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