LaLiga leaders Barcelona boosted their gap from eternal rivals Real Madrid to a mammoth 12 points with a 2-1 victory at the Camp Nou, sealed at the death by a Franck Kessie tap-in, which also secured the Blaugrana’s 100th El Clásico win in history.
A ferocious opening to this pivotal clash therefore came as no surprise, and the hosts initially overran Carlo Ancelotti’s side in a hostile atmosphere, as Barcelona mounted pressure in front of a roaring home faithful.
While that gave Real a huge degree of confidence, the Catalans persevered and found a leveller in first-half stoppage time, when Sergi Roberto fired in his first El Clásico goal after a tension-packed pinball session in the visitors’ area.
One of those substitutes, Rodrygo, ought to have done better with his first real involvement in the game, blasting high and wide when presented with acres of room in the Barcelona penalty area.
Barcelona seemed unbothered that they were potentially spurning a landmark El Clásico victory with such an approach.
However, it wouldn’t be a Clásico clash without some late drama, and after Marco Asensio’s late goal was ruled out by VAR, Franck Kessié struck a late winner with Real having flooded numbers forward.
Twelve points is now the gap that UEFA Champions League quarter-finalists Real must negotiate, and with Barcelona contrastingly free of European commitments, the LaLiga crown must surely now be heading back to Catalonia.