Real Madrid 2 Barcelona 1 match report: Can we play you every week?

Back-to-back triumphs over Barcelona see Real Madrid brimming with confidence ahead of United tie

the bernabeu

First they loved him, then they grew tired of him, now they're in love all over again. Jose Mourinho had the Santiago Bernabeu singing his name as one yesterday as he served up the second scalp of Barcelona inside five days, just three days ahead of the visit to Old Trafford.

With Manchester United on the horizon Mourinho rested half his team, but Madrid were left with their confidence sky-high and Barcelona with theirs lower than at any time since the Portuguese took over Real in 2010.

The teamsheet reflected the needs and concerns of Tuesday's second leg. Cristiano Ronaldo, on 39 goals in all competitions so far this season, was left on the bench alongside Mesut Ozil, Sami Khedira, Xabi Alonso and Gonzalo Higuaín. Angel Di Maria was also rested, serving a one-match ban.

But within five minutes the second string was in front, with 19-year-old forward Alvaro Morata, playing in his first Clasico, rounding Dani Alves and crossing for Karim Benzema to score from close range. For the 13th consecutive match Barcelona had failed to keep a clean sheet.

The La Liga leaders' heads were down having conceded so early, but Alves found Lionel Messi inside the area and he made it 16 straight scoring matches in the league with his 50th goal in all competitions this season. It was his 18th Clasico goal, to equal Alfredo Di Stefano as the fixture's all-time top scorer.

Barcelona still looked a shadow of the side that racked up such a big early-season lead. Alves was exposed by Fabio Coentrao, whose cross-shot was saved by Victor Valdes. Messi then shot weakly at Diego Lopez after Sergio Ramos had failed to clear and Morata headed Luka Modric's cross into the side-netting.

The first half closed with the referee, Miguel Perez Lasa, not having issued a single card – something that had not happened for eight years. But he booked Ramos for handball shortly after the break and then booked five more in the next 16 minutes before sending off Valdes for dissent after the final whistle – the flurry of cards more a sign of Barcelona in meltdown than any repeat of previous Battles of the Bernabeu.

Barcelona's lead is still 13 points over their rivals but the wind is now blowing at Real Madrid's back, and more especially at Ronaldo's. He was introduced on 57 minutes, and though a free-kick on to the bar was the closest he came to scoring he goes to Old Trafford one goal short of 40 for the season and in unstoppable form.

His introduction seemed to convince Madrid they could get the winner. He immediately drew a foul on the edge of the area from Gerard Pique, who was booked, and though his free-kick was cleared he came closer moments later with one Valdes had to punch clear.

Ronaldo then raced away from first Sergio Busquets and Pique before shooting into the side-netting, and Valdes saved a Morata shot after he had run on to a fine pass from Pepe.

Then came Ramos's winner. Modric floated over a corner and the Madrid captain rose to head it past Valdes. That was the cue for Mourinho's name to be sung from all sides of the Bernabeu with more gusto than at any time since he took over.

Asked if this was the best the spirit had been in the Real Madrid dressing- room this season, Mourinho's No 2, Aitor Karanka, said afterwards: "It's clear that these five days have lifted everyone but we can't think that because of that the job against Manchester United is done; if we do that we will live to regret it."

If as expected Mourinho does move on at the end of the season then this may well have been his last Clasico. His assistant's comments underline the need for no complacency, but he will feel he has masterminded the perfect double against the old enemy and done it moreover while leaving plenty of powder dry for Manchester United on Tuesday.

Real Madrid (4-2-3-1): Diego Lopez; Ramos, Varane, Pepe, Coentrao (Arbeloa, 68); Essien, Modric; Callejon, Kaka (Khedira, 57), Benzema (Ronaldo, 57); Morata.

Barcelona (4-3-3): Valdes; Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Alba; Busquets, Thiago (Tello, 85), Iniesta; Villa (Sanchez, 67), Messi, Pedro (Adriano, 77).

Referee Miguel Perez Lasa.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?