Barcelona, Mar 23: Barcelona moved four points clear at the top of La Liga as Luis Suarez’s brilliant individual effort handed them a 2-1 win over Real Madrid. Jeremy Mathieu headed Barca in front early on from Lionel Messi’s free-kick, but Cristiano Ronaldo hit back at his critics in recent weeks with a deserved equaliser before the break.
Suarez was to have the final say, though, as he registered his first goal in El Clasico by controlling Dani Alves’ long ball before turning to strike into the far corner. A third defeat in four games for Madrid will see coach Carlo Ancelotti come under increasing pressure to hold onto his job, but he insisted he had been encouraged by his side’s performance for the first hour. Spanish La Liga Table & Results: Points Table and Team Standings at 2014-15 Spanish League Week 28.
“We played a lot better until the second goal. After that it was very difficult. In the first-half we played very well, we had control, were dangerous up front and solid at the back. We lacked a bit of a cool head to try and equalise rather than playing long balls,” said the Italian. And Ancelotti believes Madrid’s title fight is far from over despite dropping eight points in their last four league games.
“Four points is obviously an advantage for Barcelona. We won’t give up, particularly because of the way we played in the first-half. We have to keep going to try and play like that for 90 minutes,” the former AC Milan and Chelsea manager added.
Ronaldo, who had been booked in the first-half for diving, was then fortunate not to see red when he appeared to kick out after being fouled by Javier Mascherano. The cautions continued to mount as 11 players were booked in all. Messi had been very quiet given his stunning performances of late, but he was inches away from sealing the points 17 minutes from time as his shot curled just wide.
Those wasted opportunities nearly came back to haunt the Catalans as Bravo had to produce a brilliant save to turn Benzema’s deflected effort behind for a corner. Casillas kept Madrid in the game at the other end with a pair of fine saves to deny Jordi Alba and Messi, but it was to no avail as Barca racked up their 18th win in 19 games. (AFP)
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