Goals from David Alaba and Lucas Vazquez fired Real Madrid to a crucial 2-1 victory over arch-rivals Barcelona at Camp Nou in La Liga on Sunday.
It was a cagey start to the contest at Camp Nou as both Barcelona and Real Madrid took time to settle in, but things started to open up midway through the first period. Sergino Dest had a great chance to put the hosts in front but fired his effort over from 12 yards out. This came back to haunt them as David Alaba put Real Madrid in front in the 30th minute with a stunning strike.
Barcelona had a couple of chances to equalise before half-time with Gerard Pique heading narrowly wide while Ansu Fati had a shot blocked as the scoreline remained intact. The Catalans started well after the break, with Fati having a shot saved early on, while a penalty shout for a potential handball was turned down as well.
They continued to push in search of a goal, but Real Madrid held firm at the back while creating a couple of chances of their own which were not taken. But Lucas Vazquez was able to make it 2-0 three minutes into stoppage time to give Carlo Ancelotti’s men a cushion, which would prove pivotal as Barcelona did find the back of the net late in injury time through Sergio Aguero but there wasn’t enough time for a complete turnaround.
The win sends Los Blancos to the top of the La Liga standings, while the Catalan giants find themselves in ninth place, five points shy of the leaders. Here are our player ratings for Barcelona and Real Madrid stars after a closely-fought El Clasico on Sunday.
◉ Real Madrid 2-0 Barcelona
◉ Barcelona 1-3 Real Madrid
◉ Real Madrid 2-1 Barcelona
◉ Barcelona 1-2 Real Madrid
Los Blancos have won four consecutive LaLiga Clásicos for the first time since 1965. ? pic.twitter.com/6YVQb2a325
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) October 24, 2021
Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 6/10
Forced into a couple of decent stops, but the German international had no chance of saving Alaba’s screamer in the first period nor could he have done anything about Vazquez’s late strike.
Oscar Mingueza: 5/10
Started off fairly well, but was troubled at the back by Vinicius Junior as the game wore on. Caught out in the lead-up to the opening goal for the visitors. Did not offer much in attack. Taken off at half-time.
Gerard Pique: 6/10
Pretty solid and reliable at the back, for the most part, marshalled the troops well. Came close to scoring soon after Barcelona conceded. Booked for protesting a decision in the second period.
Eric Garcia: 5/10
Dragged out of position in the buildup to the opening goal and could have done better to stop the second one late on as well. Not always comfortable against the movement of the Real Madrid forwards.
Jordi Alba: 6/10
Recovered from an injury in time to start and looked sharp on the left. Offered a good outlet going forward and was fairly assured at the back, without giving much away.
Frenkie de Jong: 5/10
Frenkie de Jong has been criticized by the media in Barcelona. Since his arrival, he has not won any El Clasico.
What do you think of his game today? pic.twitter.com/OQk4Wd5dGn
— BarçaTimes (@BarcaTimes) October 24, 2021
Showed energy while pressing his opponents in the middle, but lacked that bit of imagination and creativity when on the ball to fashion chances for his attacking teammates. Appeared passive on occasions and largely ineffective as a result.
Sergio Busquets: 6.5/10
The Barcelona captain was solid as ever in the middle of the park, pressing the Real Madrid players with purpose and making several ball recoveries to cut out attacks. Crisp with the ball at his feet and even helped create a chance for Dest in the first half.
One of the bright prospects on the field for Barcelona, the teenage prodigy looked sharp and purposeful on the ball, trying to make driving runs forward or playing piercing passes to cut open the visitors’ defence. Did fade as the game wore on.
Sergino Dest: 5/10
Starting up ahead in the attacking line once again, the USMNT international spurned a great chance to put Barcelona in front after some good work from Busquets and Fati. Moved into the right-back slot after half-time. Fine intervention to deny Rodrygo a scoring opportunity at the hour mark. Still, struggled against the dangerous Vinicius. Did assist Aguero’s late goal.
Memphis Depay: 6/10
Worked hard at the top, got involved in plenty of attacking moves but lacked that final killer pass or shot on the evening. Given his quality, better things are expected of the Dutchman.
Ansu Fati: 6/10
Barcelona’s new No. 10 had his moments on the day, with a couple of efforts on either side of half-time causing some concerns within the Real Madrid camp. However, could not influence the proceedings as his manager would have hoped for. Taken off with a possible injury.
Ansu Fati has discomfort on his right knee. For now, it’s not worrying.
— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) October 24, 2021
Philippe Coutinho: 6/10
On for Mingueza after half-time, leading to Dest moving to right-back. Livened things up in attack after his introduction, but could not help his team find a way back into the game.
Sergio Aguero: 6/10
Replaced Ansu Fati in the 74th minute. Headed over from a Depay cross, before scoring his first goal for Barcelona with a neat finish late on.
Sergi Roberto: N/A
Sent on in place of de Jong with less than 15 minutes left.
Luuk de Jong: N/A
Late substitute for Gavi as Barcelona searched for a goal.
Thibaut Courtois: 6/10
Hardly threatened by the Barcelona attack on the evening. Did have a couple of saves to make, which he did without much of a fuss. Will be disappointed conceding the late goal.
Lucas Vazquez: 7/10
?| Lucas Vazquez: "Today is my father's birthday, my goal is for him. Happy birthday dad!" pic.twitter.com/YVX1rQnbdP
— Madrid Xtra. (@MadridXtra) October 24, 2021
Made a nervy start to the game and gave away some cheap fouls. Grew steadier as the game wore on though and kept things tight at the back while looking positive in his attacking endeavours. Scored the all-important second goal which proved to be the match-winner.
Eder Militao: 6.5/10
Beaten early on by Memphis and Fati, with one such moment leading to Dest’s chance. Improved from thereon, however, and did not put a foot wrong for the rest of the game, ensuring Barcelona stayed away from the goal.
David Alaba: 8/10
Making his El Clasico debut, the Real Madrid summer signing was top-notch at both ends of the pitch. Rock-solid in defence and scored the opening goal of the game with a wondrous effort after he stole the ball off of Memphis before running to the other end of the pitch and fire past ter Stegen.
— PL??????? & Liga?? ? (@PLstreaam) October 24, 2021
Ferland Mendy: 6.5/10
Making his first La Liga start of the season, the Frenchman was assured throughout, only getting caught out late on leading to Barcelona’s goal. Booked for time-wasting.
Luka Modric: 7/10
Worked hard for the team’s cause and helped Vazquez and Militao out defensively in the right-side channel while offering drive and purpose when on the ball going forward.
A mixed outing for the Brazilian, who did very well defensively, cutting out several moves in the middle of the park. However, was uncharacteristically poor when in possession, misplacing several passes, especially in the first half.
Toni Kroos: 7/10
Was unable to dictate play as he usually does but still played his part to ensure that Real Madrid never really lost control of the midfield battle. Helped link play on the left-hand side and kept ticking things along smoothly.
Rodrygo Goes: 7/10
Asked some questions of the defence with his pace causing problems. Fine pass to set Alaba up for the opening goal. Another positive outing for the Brazilian forward.
Karim Benzema: 6/10
Not the Frenchman’s best display, but still had some moments of quality when he linked up play with neat touches and flicks. Should have scored when presented with a chance in the second period but scuffed his effort.
Vinicius Junior: 8/10
?| Vinicius Jr. vs Barcelona:
• 50 touches
• 2/2 long balls
• 6 fouls won
• 4 dribbles completed
• 1 key pass
— Madrid Zone (@theMadridZone) October 24, 2021
Lively from the onset, Vinicius caused the Barcelona defence all sorts of problems with his pace, dribbling and direct running. Involved in the buildup to the opener goal and was a constant thorn in the side for the home team. Enjoying a fine season so far.
Federico Valverde: N/A
Replaced Rodrygo with less than 20 minutes left. Taken off in stoppage time due to a clash of heads.
Marco Asensio: N/A
Had a crucial part to play in the second goal after replacing Vinicius in the 87th minute.
Dani Carvajal: N/A
Replaced the injured Valverde in stoppage time.