BARCELONA, Spain (AP) – David Alaba and Lucas Vazquez scored when Real Madrid beat Barcelona 2-1 at the Camp Nou on Sunday in their first “classic” match since the departure of Lionel Messi.
Defender Alaba became the scorer in the 32nd minute, having made a wonderful throw from the left flank into curling, which could not be stopped by Marc-André ter Stegen.
Alaba’s kick came just minutes after American Serginho Dest missed a great chance for Barcelona by sending his shot from close range over the bar.
Vazkes scored his second goal in stoppage time on a counterattack as Barcelona threw themselves frantically forward in search of a balancing player.
Sergio Aguero played Barcelona with Desta’s cross in the last seconds.
The victory lifted Madrid to the top of the Spanish championship, leveling the points with Sevilla and Real Sociedad. Sociedad could regain the lead when he faces reigning champion Atletico Madrid on Sunday.
The defeat was another blow to Barcelona, which were struggling with financial problems that prevented them from re-signing Messi and other players. Ronald Koeman’s team remained in eighth place, five points back.
It was the first Clasico without Messi and longtime Madrid captain Sergio Ramos, who are now Paris Saint-Germain teammates. Two of them took part in 45 matches of Spain’s main rivalry. During this time, Messi led Barcelona to 19 wins, scoring a record 26 goals per game.
Barcelona fans were reveling in the first leg against Madrid as health restrictions due to the pandemic were completely lifted to ensure the full capacity of the 99,000 Camp Nou. Face masks were a must, but they did not stop the stadium from swaying again with drums, chants and the occasional bullying from Barcelona fans, which intensified in the last minutes as frustration arose after their team was disappointed again.
Before the pandemic, Barcelona’s squad underwent a major overhaul due to the club’s financial problems. If once Messi played on the right flank with Antoine Griezmann, now the young Barcelona players Gavi Paes and Oscar Mingeza are teaming up with Dest.
But one thing that hasn’t changed is Barcelona’s determination to dominate the ball. The hosts have controlled the pace from the start, but Madrid are more than used to picking moments when it comes to Barcelona.
Dest had a great opportunity to break out of the initial impasse at 25th when he shot high from six yards away. Memphis Depay broke the left flank and passed the ball to Ansu Fati, who touched the ball before Dest caught him all alone.
To bring Real Madrid forward fell to replace Ramos.
Alaba snatched the ball from Depay outside his zone and rushed forward with a quick attack. Two passes later, Alaba looked like a striker as he took aim from an angle and delivered a great shot around Ter Stegen. It was the first goal of the former Bayern player for Madrid.
“This goal was decisive,” said Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets. “In games like this, whoever scores first has a big advantage. Games are being played in this area, and today we have not produced any results. “
Vasquez added his goal as he bounced faster than Eric Garcia to the rebound as he slid his foot past the Spain defender and kicked the ball into the net.
Substitute Aguero’s goal, having played in his third leg since joining Barcelona from Manchester City, was scored too late to trigger a comeback. This is Barcelona’s only goal against Bayern, Benfica, Atlético and Madrid in this campaign.
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