Football

Real heaps more misery on Barcelona

The clincher: Lucas Vazquez, centre, caps of a typical Real Madrid counter by bundling in the second past a scrambling Barca defence.  

Real Madrid piled renewed pressure on Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman as David Alaba scored a scintillating goal to help it seal a 2-1 victory in the Clasico at Camp Nou on Sunday.

Alaba’s bending shot had Madrid in front for the majority of an end-to-end contest, with Lucas Vazquez making it two in injury-time before Sergio Aguero tapped in his first goal for Barcelona with seconds left.

Barca has now lost a fourth consecutive Clasico for the first time since 1965 and stays a lowly eighth in La Liga, five points behind Madrid, which surged back to the top of the table.

After beating Valencia and winning a crucial Champions League game against Dynamo Kiev this week, it represents a fresh set-back for Barca and Koeman, whose future will again come under scrutiny.

Madrid, meanwhile, see its own recovery bolstered, after backing up a thumping win over Shakhtar Donetsk to leave a rocky run in the rear-view mirror.

This was the first league meeting between these clubs without either Lionel Messi or Sergio Ramos since 2005 and while there were still veterans on show — Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Karim Benzema, Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets all starting — it was a Clasico more about the future.

For the first time in 65 years, six players younger than 22 began the game while Gavi, a 17-year-old midfielder, was the youngest Barca starter in a Clasico in almost a century.

The promotion of a duel between Ansu Fati and Vinicius Junior perhaps felt a little forced, but both players have become symbols of hope.

Fati endured one of those games to be expected sometimes of an 18-year-old, with the occasional threat dotted across a quieter display than he would have liked.

Vinicius, though, was electric from the start, a constant thorn in Barcelona’s side, especially in the first half, and instrumental in Alaba’s superb, counter-attacking opener.

The results: Premier League: Brentford 1 (Jorgensen 60) lost to Leicester 2 (Tielemans 14, Maddison 73); West Ham 1 (Antonio 72) bt Tottenham 0.

La Liga: Barcelona 1 (Aguero 90+7) lost to Real Madrid 2 (Alaba 32, Vazquez 90+3).

Serie A: Atalanta 1 (Malinovskyi 56) drew with Udinese 1 (Beto 90+4); Fiorentina 3 (Biraghi 21-pen, Gonzalez 42, Vlahovic 49) bt Cagliari 0; Verona 4 (Simeone 30, 36, 62, 90+2) bt Lazio 1 (Immobile 46).

Bundesliga: Cologne 2 (Modeste 63, 82) drew with Bayer Leverkusen 2 (Schick 15, Bellarabi 17).

Saturday: Premier League: Brighton 1 (Mac Allister 81-pen) lost to Manchester City 4 (Gundogan 13, Foden 28, 31, Mahrez 90+5); Crystal Palace 1 (Benteke 56) drew with Newcastle 1 (Wilson 65).

La Liga: Cadiz 0 lost to Alaves 2 (Joselu 6-pen, 90+1); Elche 2 (Boye 23, Benedetto 84) drew with Espanyol 2 (Morlanes 51, De Tomas 52); Athletic Bilbao 2 (Raul Garcia 14, Muniain 77-pen) bt Villarreal 1 (Coquelin 32).

Serie A: Bologna 2 (Ibrahimovic 49-og, Barrow 52) lost to AC Milan 4 (Leao 16, Calabria 35, Bennacer 84, Ibrahimovic 90); Salernitana 2 (Ranieri 48, Ismajli 55-og) lost to Empoli 4 (Pinamonti 2, 45-pen, Cutrone 11, Strandberg 13-og); Sassuolo 3 (Berardi 37, Henry 50-og, Frattesi 67) bt Venezia 1 (Okereke 32).

Bundesliga: Hertha Berlin 1 (Richter 40) bt Borussia M’Gladbach 0.


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