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.
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.
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.
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.
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.