Zinedine Zidane’s first clásico as manager brings Barcelona’s 39-game unbeaten run to an end. Atlético Madrid might be smiling, too: they have cut the gap to Barcelona at the top of La Liga to six points this weekend, and will face a Barça in the Champions League quarter-final with a little less momentum.
On Saturday in El Clasico, it was do-or-die for Real Madrid. Ten points out of the title race, a loss would have seen the team’s hopes of winning La Liga evaporate, while a win would give them life. Los Blancos have life, and superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is to thank.
Playing with 10 men after Sergio Ramos’ second-half red card, Real Madrid came back from a 1-0 deficit to beat Barcelona 2-1 at Camp Nou, with Zinedine Zidane winning his first Clasico.
A lively first half didn’t bring any goals, but the second half provided plenty.
First it was Barcelona’s Gerard Pique who headed home the opener on 56 minutes.
Gareth Bale found the net 80 minutes in but the goal was disallowed, but then the former Tottenham man set up Ronaldo five minutes later with a ball at the back post.
“I have played in some big derbies in England but this rivalry is the biggest and even if we were out of the league to beat them is always sweet,” Bale said. “We know the league will not be easy but we have given ourselves a chance.
A clásico that was no classic ended with Barcelona’s first defeat in 40 games. “Few teams win here and I am proud of the players,” Zinedine Zidane said
Now only seven points separate Real from Barca, while Atletico Madrid is six points back of Barca. The title race in Spain is alive and well, and there are three contenders with everything to play for with two months to go.