Real Madrid moves closer to Spanish league title after 3-2 win over Barcelona in 'clasico'

AP , Sunday 21 Apr 2024

Real Madrid took a huge step toward winning the Spanish league title after beating Barcelona 3-2 with a stoppage-time goal by Jude Bellingham in the final “clasico” of the season on Sunday.

Real Madrid s Jude Bellingham, left, challenges for the ball with Barcelona s Fermin Lopez, centre, and Pedri during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, Sunday, April 21, 2024. AP


Barcelona twice took the lead at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium but Madrid came back to win for a comfortable 11-point cushion over its second-place rival entering the final six rounds.

Bellingham scored the winning goal one minute into stoppage time with a left-footed strike into the top of the net after a cross toward the far post by Lucas Vázquez.

Barcelona, the defending league champion, came to the Spanish capital looking to revive its title chances and took an early lead with a goal by Andreas Christensen six minutes into the match.

The hosts equalized with Vinícius Júnior converting an 18th-minute penalty kick before Barcelona went ahead again with Fermín López's goal in the 69th. Vázquez, who also set up the penalty converted by Vinícius, evened the match again after a cross by Vinícius in the 73rd.

The clasico came four days after Madrid eliminated Manchester City on penalties in England to advance to the Champions League semifinals. Barcelona had been eliminated a day earlier by Paris Saint-Germain after a loss at home, leaving the league as its only title opportunity for the season.

Goalkeeper Andriy Lunin, the hero for Madrid in the shootout against City, miscalculated a cross into the area in Barcelona's first goal and failed to fully clear a ball in front of the goal in the second.

Barcelona midfielder Frenkie De Jong left the field on a stretcher late in the first half after hurting his right leg in a clash with Madrid midfielder Federico Valverde.

Atletico struggle

Atletico Madrid followed up its Champions League elimination with a 2-0 loss at Alaves in the Spanish league, missing a chance to strengthen its hold on fourth place.

The defeat against 13th-place Alaves kept Atletico only three points ahead of fifth-place Athletic Bilbao in the fight for a Champions League spot next season. Athletic had been held to a 1-1 draw against relegation-threatened Granada at home on Friday.

Atletico failed to advance in the Champions League after losing to Borussia Dortmund 5-4 on aggregate following a 4-2 loss in Germany on Tuesday.

Alaves, which had lost three league matches in a row, won with goals by Carlos Benavídez in the 15th minute and Luis Rioja in second-half stoppage time.

In other results, sixth-place Real Sociedad was held 1-1 at midtable Getafe, while ninth-place Villarreal won 2-1 at last-place Almeria.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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