Sublime Suarez strike secures Barcelona El Clasico victory
An inspired Luis Suarez helped to secure Barcelona a crucial 2-1 El Clasico victory over Real Madrid, with his sensational second-half effort earning three points and extending his side’s lead at the La Liga summit to four points.
Luis Enrique’s Spanish league leaders, 5/2 with Coral to win the Champions League, made a great start through a Jeremy Mathieu header, prior to a Cristiano Ronaldo strike before the break to level proceedings and Suarez settling the ferocious tie with a superb strike.
The Nou Camp triumph means the Catalan giants maintained control of this season’s title race, as they avenged a 3-1 defeat to Madrid at the Bernabeu earlier in this current campaign.
It was the hosts who made a bright start, as Lionel Messi’s deadly in-swinging free-kick from the left flank was met by a thunderous header from towering defender Mathieu, with the unmarked Frenchman giving a helpless Iker Casillas no chance.
The Galacticos were quick to respond to their disappointing start, as they rapidly broke forward after Neymar incredibly failed to convert from close range.
Benzema ran onto a pass in the Barcelona penalty area during a clinical counter attack and brilliantly back-heeled the ball into the path of an incoming Ronaldo, who slotted home his seventh goal in eight visits to the Nou Camp.
Under-fire Welshman Gareth Bale thought he had sent Carlo Ancelotti’s men in front before half-time, but his well-taken goal was ruled out for offside, after Ronaldo had come from a deep position to head on towards his teammate.
Former Liverpool hitman Suarez then stole the show with an amazing match-winning strike, as he perfectly plucked Dani Alves’ lofted ball forward from the sky and delightfully dispatched a low driven effort past Casillas.
Despite his equaliser, Portuguese superstar Ronaldo was unable to drag Madrid back into the game, and had another ultimately frustrating night, gradually becoming less effective as the game went on.
His heavily-criticised counterpart Bale also stumbled to a stuttering showing, recording fewer touches than any other player who featured for 90 minutes, and finding it extremely difficult to make any impact at all.
Madrid’s latest lacklustre loss has seen them drop four points adrift of their El Clasico conquerors, and they have a tough European quarter-final encounter with Atletico Madrid to soon contest. Ancelotti’s side are 4/1 to retain their Champions League crown in Berlin this year.