La Liga: Barcelona Win at Bernabeu Again, End Madrid’s Title Hopes
Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos walks past Barcelona players celebrating after winning the La Liga match between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona at the Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on Saturday.
Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos walks past Barcelona players celebrating after winning the La Liga match between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona at the Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on Saturday.(Photo: AP)

La Liga: Barcelona Win at Bernabeu Again, End Madrid’s Title Hopes

Barcelona handed Real Madrid another demoralising loss on Saturday, 2 March beating their arch rivals at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium for the second time in a week to take complete control on top of La Liga.

Ivan Rakitic scored in the first half and Barcelona held on for a 1-0 victory that virtually ends Madrid's title hopes.

It was the third straight win by Barcelona at the Bernabeu, coming three days after a 3-0 result that eliminated Madrid from the Copa del Rey semi-finals. Barca have also become the first team to win four in a row at the Bernabeu in the league.

Barca are 12 points ahead of Madrid with 12 matches left. The defending champions are seven points in front of second-placed Atletico Madrid, who beat Real Sociedad 2-0 on Sunday, 3 March.

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi (left) goes head to head with Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos after they argue during their La Liga match at the Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on Saturday, March 2.
Barcelona forward Lionel Messi (left) goes head to head with Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos after they argue during their La Liga match at the Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on Saturday, March 2.
(Photo: AP)

Saturday's loss leaves Madrid in crisis, with the Champions League their only hope of a trophy this season. Coach Santiago Solari and his squad will be under pressure when Madrid host Ajax on Tuesday to defend a 2-1 first-leg lead in the round of 16.

Barcelona are gunning for three titles, the league, the Copa del Rey and the Champions League, and their players celebrated in front of the away fans after the match, while Madrid supporters jeered their side at the end.

Madrid are winless against Barcelona in six matches in all competitions, and have lost 11 of 18 matches played against their rival in the Spanish capital.

Barcelona won 3-0 the last time the teams met in the league at the Bernabeu, and routed Madrid 5-1 at Camp Nou Stadium in their first league game this season.

Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic after scoring the only goal in the La Liga match between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona at the Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on Saturday, March 2.
Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic after scoring the only goal in the La Liga match between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona at the Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on Saturday, March 2.
(Photo: AP)

After dominating in the first half on Wednesday only to collapse in the second, Madrid never looked in control on Saturday.

Barcelona created most of the chances and struck in the 26th minute. Sergi Roberto sent a pass behind the Madrid defenders for Rakitic and the midfielder chipped the ball over goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois from inside the area.

Madrid pressed forward after conceding, but Barcelona kept threatening on the counter.

Lionel Messi was quiet for Barca. His most notable moment came when he and Sergio Ramos squared up before halftime, with the Argentina forward upset at the Madrid captain for leaving his arm high and hitting his head in a challenge.

It was the third meeting between the teams in less than a month. They also drew 1-1 in the first leg of the Copa semi-finals at Camp Nou. They can only meet again this season in the Champions League. Barca drew with Lyon 1-1 in its first-leg match in the round of 16.

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