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FC Barcelona have beaten Real Madrid in a thrilling Clásico encounter at Spotify Camp Nou. They had to come from behind to do it and the winner didn’t come until two minutes into injury time. And that was just moments after Madrid themselves had had a potential match-winner of their own cancelled out for offside. What a climax!
95,745 souls, the biggest crowd at the stadium this season, erupted in joy. We have to be careful what we say, because stranger things have happened in football. But this win has opened up a monster margin of 12 points at the top of the Liga table. Surely, surely, that difference is enough for fans to be forgiven for believing their team are the champions elect of La Liga 2022/23. Absolutely nothing has been decided yet, but the fact is that Barça right now are in a very good place indeed.
If the team does go on to win the title, tonight will probably be remembered as the night when it happened.
Araujo own goal
Real Madrid had been very fortunate to take the lead. Vinicius Junior’s ninth minute cross took a deflection off Ronald Araujo’s head and somehow found its way past Ter Stegen and into the net. It was all the more cruel because Barça had totally dominated until then, and could have been leading had it not been for some top goalkeeping from Thibaut Courtois.
It was the first goal from open play that Barça have conceded at Spotify Camp Nou in La Liga 2022/23.
The football continued at the kind of electrifying pace that one would only expect of a Clásico. Courtois was by far the busiest of the two goalkeepers. Time and again the Belgian was reminded us why so many consider him the best in the world.
But right on the stroke of half-time, he was finally beaten. As Barça hounded the Madrid goal, a rebound landed right at the feet of Sergi Roberto in the middle of the area.
Pow! There was no way Courtois was stopping that one and Barça were back level!
It was Sergi Roberto’s fourth goal of the present league campaign, as many as he’d scored in the all the four previous seasons together. And what a way to celebrate his recently extended contract!
Madrid more urgently needed a second goal than Barça did, and it showed. Barça were defending as brilliantly as they have done all season, but they were living dangerously. The all-whites were looking a lot more incisive they had done in the Copa del Rey clash earlier this month. Vinicius in particular was a worry every time he got the ball.
And with ten minutes to go Madrid did have the ball in the back of the net. With his first touch after coming on as a substitute, Marco Asensio scored.
VAR came to the rescue. By the narrowest of margins, the Madrid player was was caught offside and Barça were let off the hook! Phew!
Kessie wins it!
It has to be said, Madrid were playing some very good football. It was frightening. But Barça’s boys at the back were doing a brilliant job…
And all the time, the blaugrana frontmen were threatening to do something on the counter attack.
And two minutes into injury time it happened…
Alejandro Balde found Franck Kessie on his own in the Madrid area... and bang! The 3,000th league goal at Spotify Camp Nou. And what a time to score it!
El Clásico was Barça’s.
From the celebrations at Spotify Camp Nou, it was as if the team had just won the Liga title. Some might even dare to say they had… 12 games to go. 12 points ahead. This is looking very, very, very good indeed!
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