Vastavam web: Barcelona took a huge step towards regaining the La Liga title as goals from Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi and Aleix Vidal beat bitter rivals Real Madrid 3-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu today to open up a 14-point lead over the European champions.In a recurring theme of this season Madrid were made to pay for Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema missing first-half chances as Barca took control after half-time.And Messi was the creator as Vidal rubbed salt into Real’s wounds deep into stoppage time.
Victory extends Barca’s unbeaten run to 25 games in all competitions as they moved nine points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid and exacted revenge for a 5-1 thrashing on aggregate in the Spanish Super Cup at the hands of Real in August.Madrid do still have a game in hand over Barca to marginally reduce the gap at the top, but their efforts in the new year are now likely to be more focused on becoming the first side to win three consecutive Champions League titles in over 40 years.Madrid fans unfurled a huge banner proclaiming it to be a “white Christmas” after they claimed a club record five trophies in 2017.
However, it is Barca who will enjoy the upcoming winter break more after a second-half display which showed the turning of the tide their way since August has been no fluke.It could have been very different for the hosts if Cristino Ronaldo had buried a huge opportunity when he completely miskicked just 10 minutes in.Benzema was inches away from giving Real a half-time lead as he headed against the post two minutes before the break.
However, Barca came out a different side in the second period to almost certainly put the title out of Madrid’s reach.Nine minutes after the break Sergio Busquets’s calm opened up the Madrid midfield as he fed Ivan Rakitic and Sergi Roberto eventually crossed to Suarez to apply the finishing touch.Navas saved Suarez’s first effort before he fired against the post with the goal at his mercy, but Paulinho’s follow-up was punched off the line by Dani Carvajal.The Spanish international accepted his punishment of a red card and Messi dispatched the resulting penalty into the top corner to kill the game as a contest.
Ter Stegen produced more heroics to ensure there was no Real fightback as he again denied Ronaldo.