Real Madrid knew they hadn’t defeated FC Barcelona at Santiago Bernabeu since 2014, and they ended that negative run with a strong performance, particularly in the second half. Los Merengues stole a 2-0 win and that result pushed them to the top of the Liga standings.
Vinicius Junior scored in the 71st minute and Mariano added the second goal on stoppage time. That would be enough to lift Real Madrid to the top of the standings while ending a two-game winless streak. Meanwhile, this result also ended Barcelona’s four-game winning run.
Courtois put up a show during a scoreless first half
The first half got off to a slow start in the first 20 minutes, where neither side was able to create clear-cut chances and the biggest news were two yellow cards given to Alba and Dani Carvajal. The rain and the windy conditions played a role here, however, as neither side looked particularly comfortable under those conditions and Real Madrid took advantage to start putting pressure against Barcelona’s midfielders. Things eventually settled, though, and Barcelona began to look slightly on top.
Antoine Griezmann created the first real chance in the 21st minute. The France international could have found the back of the net, but he sent his attempt over the crossbar despite sitting near the penalty spot.
Los Blaugranas began to create chances past the 25th minute mark, when Messi and Arthur both faced Courtois but couldn’t score. The Brazilian had one of the best chances of the entire first half with a one-on-one against the former Chelsea goalkeeper, but his attempt was denied. Messi also come close to score in the 38th minute with a shot from close range, but Courtois was magnificent once again to deny the Argentina star.
Real Madrid didn’t have many chances throughout the first half, as their attacking attempts were mostly related to counter-attacking sequences where Vinicius Jr. paced the way, but without much success. Barcelona were in control most of the match, however, and the first 45 minutes ended with a scoreless draw even though the intensity and pace of this match didn’t deserve that kind of result at the break.
Real Madrid flipped the script after half-time
Real Madrid began the second half with a more attacking-minded approach and, just like it happened in the first 45 minutes, they looked better in the early going. Isco came inches away from scoring 10 minutes into the second half with a long-range shot, but Marc-Andre ter Stegen was magnificent to deny the Spain international from what would’ve been one of the best goals of the 2019-20 Liga season.
Madrid didn’t stop there, though. Isco nodded the ball home in the 61st minute and ter Stegen – along with Gerard Pique – were there to deny the goal. And as if that wasn’t enough, Benzema missed a point-blank range volley in the 63rd minute when the Germany international was all but beaten.
Barcelona couldn’t adjust and they sent Martin Braithwaite off the bench. The Dane had an almost instant impact since he created a chance just seconds after entering the pitch, but that was just an isolated play. Real Madrid kept attacking, and they would find their prize in the 71st minute thanks to Vinicius Junior.
The former Flamengo star found himself all along following a great through ball from Toni Kroos, and he blasted a shot from close into the near post that went past ter Stegen following a deflection. The Brazilian gets all the credit for scoring, but Kroos was the mastermind behind the goal with an exquisite pass.
Barcelona can’t react after Vinicius’ goal
Los Blaugranas pushed the lines forward after Real Madrid’s goal, but they couldn’t do much aside from an isolated run from Messi that was easily controlled by the opposing defence. Quique Setien sent Ivan Rakitic and Ansu Fati for the final 10 minutes of the game, but neither could make a big impact out there.
Gerard Pique had Barcelona’s final chance in the 83rd minute, but he couldn’t score with a close-range header following a cross from Messi. Real Madrid also had chances, but ter Stegen was magnificent time and time again to protect the result.
Real Madrid shifted to a 4-5-1 tactic with the entrance of Luka Modric and, while threatening on the counter, the hosts chose to control the game down the stretch. The strategy paid off, and Real Madrid close the game to deliver a huge win in front of their crowd against the bitter rivals.
There would be one final goal, though. Mariano Diaz, who came off the bench, netted the second goal on stoppage time to close the deal. The two-goal was undeserved given how the match happened, but the striker took advantage of Barca’s defensive woes to find the back of the net.
This could be a result with huge ramifications in the 2019-20 LaLiga title race.
Real Madrid: Courtois (7); Dani Carvajal (7), Varane (5), Sergio Ramos (6), Marcelo (5); Valverde (6) (Lucas Vazquez (-), 86’), Casemiro (5), Kroos (7); Isco (6) (Modric (-), 79’), Benzema (7) (Mariano (-), 90+1’), Vinicius Junior (7)
Bench: Areola (GK), Mendy, Eder Militao, Bale
FC Barcelona: Ter Stegen (8); Semedo (5), Pique (6), Umtiti (5), Jordi Alba (5); Arthur (5) (Rakitic (-), 80’), Busquets (6), de Jong (5); Vidal (6) (Braithwaite (5), 69’), Messi (7), Griezmann (4) (Fati (-), 81’)
Bench: Neto (GK), Lenglet, Junior Firpo, Alex Collado
Goals: Vinicius Junior (1-0, 71’), Mariano (2-0, 90+2’)
Referee: Antonio Mateu
Yellow Cards: Vinicius Junior, Dani Carvajal (MAD); Alba, Messi (BAR)
Red Cards: None