Spanish football champions Real Madrid have taken the lead in the Spanish Primera División with a deserved victory in the Clásico against arch-rivals FC Barcelona. The royals around ex-world champion Toni Kroos and national player Antonio Rüdiger, who was initially rested, beat Barça and ex-Munich Robert Lewandowski 3-1 (2-0) at home on Sunday.
Real had only been second in the table before the game because of the worse goal difference, but with the success in the direct duel they overtook the Catalans and now have a three-point lead.
Europe’s Footballer of the Year Karim Benzema gave the hosts an early lead (12th minute). The Frenchman benefited from a rebound after national goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen was able to parry a shot from Vinicius Junior in the Barcelona goal. Fede Valverde raised for RB Leipzig’s next Champions League opponent (35′), another Benzema goal was disallowed for offside (53′).
Barça only managed to get the goal back shortly before the end through Ferran Torres (83′), which Lewandowski prepared with a hoe. The former Bundesliga professional was unlucky in some scenes in his first Clásico and could have been awarded a penalty in the 75th after a challenge with Dani Carvajal.
The former Leverkusen full-back hit Lewandowski, who had crossed his path on his run, on the thigh. The scene was reviewed but the referee’s decision was very quickly confirmed by VAR.
The decision in favor of the hosts then came in injury time after a converted penalty kick by Brazilian Rodrygo (90.1).
Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti did without Rüdiger, who played with a face mask in his first Clásico, until the 88th minute. The 29-year-old suffered a bleeding laceration on his head in the 1-1 draw in the premier class against Shakhtar Donetsk and then had to have stitches in the dressing room.