Real Madrid returned to the top of LaLiga with an impressive win over archrivals Barcelona in a pulsating El Clasico at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday.
The clash between the top two teams in LaLiga was decided by two second-half strikes from Vinicius Junior and Mariano Diaz as Real won at home against Barcelona in the league for the first time since 2014.
A pulsating first-half ended in a goalless draw but was slightly shaded by Barcelona whose manager Quique Setien was making his Clasico debut.
Real were much improved in the second period and twice came close to taking the lead with Marc-Andre ter Stegen pulling off a world class save to tip Isco’s curler round the post and Gerard Pique clearing off the line from Isco’s header.
Karim Benzema also volleyed over from Carvajal’s exquisite cross when a goal seem certain and the French striker has now gone five games without a goal.
It looked only a matter of time before Real broke their opponent’s resistance and the goal duly arrived in the 71st minute when Vinicius drove into the box after breaking free on the left and wrongfooted ter Stegen when his strike deflected off Pique.
It was the Brazilian youngster’s second goal in the league and he became the youngest goalscorer in El Clasico history in the 21st century breaking the mark set by Lionel Messi in 2007.
Barca failed to rouse themselves after going behind as Real ramped up the pressure in search of the killer goal.
Real boss Zinedine Zidane introduced Mariano Diaz for Benzema in the 90th minute perhaps looking to run down the clock but it proved to be an inspired decision as he put the final nail in Barca’s coffin.
The player who had only been on the pitch for a couple for seconds beat Samuel Umtiti for pace on the rightwing, he slipped as got off a shot from a tight angle but still managed to beat ter Stegen.
Real Madrid claim a deserved win that could have a potentially decisive impact on the title race as they return to the summit of LaLiga with 56 points after 26 games while Barca stay a point behind in second place.