Real Madrid vs Barcelona Highlights: Benzema, Kroos strike as Madrid climbs top of La Liga with 2-1 win

Barcelona vs Real Madrid, El-Clasico 2020-21: Catch the live football streaming updates, team line-ups, match stats between MAD and BAR from Sportstar.

Karim Benzema's stunning backheel goal put Real Madrid in front against Barcelona in the El Clasico on Sunday.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Hello and welcome to Sportstar's highlights of the El Clasico clash between Real Madrid and Barcelona at the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium in Madrid.

FT: RMA 2-1 BAR

 

A palpitating finish, a riverting first-half and some sensational goals on display marks yet another El Clasico. Real Madrid has held its nerve through a strong response from Barcelona in the second-half to lift itself to the top spot in La Liga with 66 pts from 30 games alongside Atletico who still has a game in hand. An outright Los Blancos first-half had a sensational backheel goal from Karim Benzema before Toni Kroos doubled the lead with a superb free-kick.

 

Koeman's men, led by Messi who attempted everything within his limts, were better placed in the second-half with a goal from Mingueza. Madrid was heavily successful in keeping its nemesis, Messi under check. Leo failed to breach through the makeshift Madrid defence and was forced to stray deep into the left flank to create opportunities.

However, a gritty Madrid has puts its name well on course for the title race with a supreme performance which also saw it winning the El Clasico thrice in a row for the first time since 1978!

90+4' WHAT AN UNBELIEVABLE FINISH! Moriba hits the woodwork in the final seconds of the Clasico! Ter Stegen is up there as well and pushes in another shot that is shoved away by Madrid and the referee blows the final whistles! A high-octane clash with a frenetic end.

90' Messi hits the target with a curling free-kick but Courtois has managed to keep this one under check. The referee, meanwhile has added four extra minutes.

FREE-KICK FOR BARCELONA! And Casemiro sees Red! Two yellows in a minute for him as Messi steps up for the set-piece inches out of the box!  That might well go down as the last chance for the Catalans.

87' The final surge of desperation takes over Barcelona and the slip-ups have crept into its game. Madrid retains its composure as it attempts to see off the remaining minutes with passive aggression.

83' MASSIVE CHANCE FOR BARCA! Alba rushes in from the left and slips the ball through an approachign Courtois in an attempt to find new man, Brathwaite. Mendy does well to cover the line and has perhaps brought Brathwaite down in the box there. The referee does not buy the fall and has ordered for the play to continue. The Barca players aren't happy with the call and continues to land a protest which ends with a yewllo card for Jordi Alba.

78' The rains have subsided but there seems to be a pause in the game as the referee has lost his technical connection with the off-field set-up. Messi is seen shivering in the frosty conditions there! Leo moves out to have a change of shirt as well in a short break.

74' Messi sends one into the box and Moriba hits the heads rightaway after coming in. He feels to induce any force behind the header and Courtois has no trouble in snapping the ball there.

SUB: BAR: Moriba replaces Araujo

SUB: RMA: Benzema, Vinicius, Kroos are replaced by Mariano, Isco and Marcelo That's some bold move from Zidane with 18 minutes on the clock.

67' How on earth did that not go in? Madrid has nearly had its third goal for the third time tonight. Casemiro finds a cross into the box to Benzema who heads it to Kroos who squanders a clear chance on goal with a timid header.

65' Barcelona has assumed possession ever since the goal and sees a terrific counter-attack in a flash from Luka Modrica. Modric lobs it deep for Vinicius who seemed to have flown past the defense. Vinicius needlessly crosses the ball to Benzema but Lenglet intervenes to provide a crucial deflection for Barcelona.

SUB: Sergio Roberto in for Sergio Busquets (BAR)

59' GOOOALLL! Mingueza puts one back for Barcelona!! A fine cross from Jordi Alba set up by Messi from the left flank, has Griezmann jump over it to set it up for Mingueza. Mingueza lunges in past the markers and drills it home without much ado. This game is wide open, folks as Madrid is forced to feel the chills now!

55' Casemiro nearly sets up the third! Trecherous conditions indeed as the downpour continues. Casemiro is briefly pushed back by Lenglet but find his way through the right end of the box and swooshes it in an attempt to find Benzema who fails to reach the ball in time.

52' Alba attempts to push the ball in for Dembele but Casemiro intercepts the ball and pushes it forward to Benzema who rushes in from the right and pushes the ball in for Kroos who hits way over the cross-bar in a sloppy attempt.

47' The heavens have opened up strongly and so has Madrid taken charge over Barca once again. Koeman has regrouped and reformed his lineup with Griezmann coming in. However, Vinicius continues to push the ball forward for Madrid at the other end. Clearly, has been a tough ask for Barca to deal with him tonight.

Substitution: Antoine Griezmann replaces Sergino Dest for the 2nd.

Welcome back to the second-half! A riveting first-half is behind us as Zidane's men stamped their authority all over Messi and Co.

==============================================

What an entertaining first half have we add in the first Clasico at the Alfredo Di Stefano stadium! The Los Blancos attack has been in top gear from the first minute with a fiery Vinicius Jr putting the Barca defence to shame with some manic run-ins! However, the first goal for Madrid was a minute of magical team-work with a sizzling run from Valverde ending with an inch-perfect curler from Vasquez that culminated in a mercurial Benzema backheel finish.

If that weren't enough for Barca, Koeman's boys added to their own woes with a needless challenge paving way for a Toni Kroos special from the set-piece outside the box. Kroos made his El Clasico score-sheet debut with that shot. At the other end, Barcelona has ensured the Madrid makeshift defence did not have it easy. Messi, was at the fore once again as Barca rummaged through its armoury to find a potent way to breach Zidane's men.

45+2' Messi!!!! Oh, nearly there with a goal of the year from the corner!  Messi takes the corner and raises it high over the huddle and its the woodwork. The world would have gone abuzz if that went in right there.  Messi follows it up with another chance from the corner at the other end. He is left unmarked behind the huddle and the ball finds his feet. Messi twitches before attempting a strong shot but Courtois has done supremely well to slide and block it out as the referee blows the half-time whistle!

45' Two minutes added on!

43' Substitution: Alvaro Odrziozola replaces Lucas Vasquez

The rains have graced the Clasico while Lucas Vasquez is seen wincing with some pain. 

40' Barcelona attempt to rush into the Madrid backline, but the makeshift lineup has put up a flawless fortress to keep Messi and Demble at arm's length.

34' CHANCE! Madrid nearly had its third! Vasquez's pass is intercepted by Vinicius who storms towards goal before pushing the ball wide to Valverde who hits the post from a shoot out from the far-right. Vasquez rockets in another hit of the rebound but Ter Stegen has done to keep the scoreline intact.

33' Messi slips past a throng of the Madrid defense but "centre-back" Lucas Vasquez has put him out here.

30' Troubles continue to brew for Barca as Vinicius continues his charge through the left flank! He twists and turns as Lenglet and Araujo have a tough time keeping him out. Vinicius goes down within the box but the referee has a good look at it before continuing with the play.

FREE-KICK: AND GOOOALLLLL! Kroos smashes it in off a deflection from the Barca defence. A needless charge against Vinicius has come down to haunt the visitor big time in under 30 minutes here!

26'  Freekick for Madrid just inches out of the box as Vinicius is brought down.  Toni Kroos steps up to take the set-piece.

22' Freekick for Madrid as Casemiro is brought down by Pedri, few yards out from the box! Barca manages to keep this one out for now.

21' Madrid continues the charge. Modric has created another run into the box and finds Benzema at the receiving end. Like a beehive rattled, the Barca defence has swarmed around the Frenchman who tries to wriggle his way through but Sergio Busquets has quelled the impending danger.

16' Messi wastes no time in aiming for a fitting response. The master cuts past Mendy and Militao and sends in a stifling cross to Dembele who misses to make contact with the ball by a whisker. Just a faint touch with the head would have meant an equaliser there.

Indeed, a Playstation finish from Benzema!



13' GOOOALL! Benzema puts Madrid in the lead with a classic finish!
What a run in it was Valverde as he swishes past the Barca back-line from the right to centre before passing it back to Vinicius in the right flank. Vinicius takes his time and dishes in a beautiful curler to Benzema who nets his 25th goal of the season with a sizzling backheel!

9' CHANCE! Messi nearly gets Alba to shoot in through the Madrid defence! Messi charges with the ball from 30 yards out and manages to run across Militao and Vasquez before cutting the ball to Alba in the wing. Alba attempts to fend in one from far left to Dembele but Courtois makes a decent clearance.

7' Casemiro and Kroos keep the ball in charge of Madrid even as Messi has looked to sneak through its defence on a couple of occasions, only to be denied by Casemiro and Mendy.

4' The Barca midfield drags the ball back to Ter Stegen who manages to clear the ball for a moment before Vincius Jr storms into the box with the ball but Ter Stegen manages to keep it under control once again. Real Madrid is looking to get up on top early on.

2' Positive start from Madrid as it presses forward almost immediately. Interestingly, Valverde and Vasquez have led the charge up-front early.

Kick-Off! Real Madrid sets the ball rolling!

12:30AM: We are nearly there! Benzema and Messi line up next to the referee ahead of the all-important clash. Kick-off in under a minute. The teams join in a moment of silence to mark respects for former Madrid defender, Antonio Calpe.

12:18AM: Leo's in the house!

Leo's arrived for the Clasico in Madrid!   -  GETTY IMAGES

 

12:15AM: Karim Benzema and Co. are going through their stretches ahead of the crucial La Liga fixture - one that may shift the course of the remainder of the league season.

12:00AM (IST): 30 minutes away from kick-off, here is a dose of some more amazing stats!

  • Real Madrid has won its last two Clasico encounters but is yet to win three in a row since 1978 (advantage Barca?)
  • If Madrid wins, it will be the first instance since 2007/08 where it beat Barcelona twice in one season.
  • Barcelona's talisman Lionel Messi has scored as many El Clasico goals as the entire Real Madrid squad combined - 26!
  • This is the first El Clasico to be hosted at the Alfredo Di Stefano stadium.
  • Lionel Messi will join Xavi Hernandez as the Barcelona player to have featured in most La Liga encounters against Real Madrid - 29.


Messi and Co. are on their way to the capital!

 

We are a good 40 minutes away from kick-off and here are some key numbers from the iconic Clasico contest.

OVERALLRMABAR
Goals Scored408400
Total Wins9796


Recent Form:

Real Madrid (La Liga) - WDDWWW

Real Madrid  (all competitions) - DWWWWW

Barcelona (La Liga) - WWWWWW

Barcelona (all competitions) - WWDWWW

 

===============================================
The Lineups are out!

Real Madrid XI: (4-4-2) - Courtois; Lucas Vázquez, Militao, Nacho, Mendy; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Valverde, Benzema, Vinicius.

Barcelona XI: (3-2-3-2) - Ter Stegen; Mingueza, Aruajo, Lenglet; Dest, Busquets, Pedri, De Jong, Jordi Alba; Messi, Dembélé.

 

PREVIEW

Well, well - a potential decider for the La Liga title is here for us tonight, with nine matches before the finish line. And who better to stage the high-stakes match than the ageless rivals - Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The match-up, the 246th between these two giants, comes at a crucial juncture in the La Liga title race as both sides have sneaked in within striking distance of current leader Atletico Madrid.

Zinedine Zidane's Los Blancos have had a stellar run since the end of January, winning seven and drawing three in its last 10 league games since then. Diego Simeone's Atletico (66 pts, 29 games) will certainly be feeling the chills as Real (63 pts, 29 games) have found a way to reel back into the reckoning.

Zidane hopes Saturday not the end of Messi's El Clasico career  

And Ronald Koeman's men have been no different in its stellar rejuvenation since January. The Catalans have not tasted defeat since its loss in last December to Cadiz and heads into the Madrid meeting with six consecutive wins under its belt.

Barca trounced fifth-placed Real Sociedad 6-1 in its previous away league fixture in February.

Team News:

Madrid will be without the services of Sergio Ramos due to a calf problem, while Dani Carvajal too is ruled out due to an injury. Varane is unavailable due to a positive coronavirus test, and forward Eden Hazard has been left out of the squad despite recovering from his injury.

For Koeman's side, Coutinho and Ansu Fati will remain on the sidelines with knee injuries.

What they said

"Hopefully he's not played his last El Clasico. He won't be fit tomorrow, which is a shame, but I hope he stays here," Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane on whether Sunday's El Clasico would be Lionel Messi's last.

The El Clasico clash between Real Madrid and Barcelona will be live streamed on the official La Liga Facebook page.
For more updates, follow Sportstar on :