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FC Barcelona turned in a virtuoso performance on Saturday night at the Santiago Bernabéu, meticulously carving up Real Madrid up and down the pitch to take the first El Clásico of the 2015/16 season by a score of 4-0.
The victory is Barça’s fourth in a row and puts them up by six points at the top of the league table.
Luis Suárez and Neymar Jr each scored in a frenetic first half that saw the Catalans go up 2–0 while outpossessing, outpassing and outshooting the Madrileños by a wide margin. The league’s top two goalscorers almost combined for a third goal before the break but Marcelo headed away with his feet on the goal line.
The third goal did come after the break, however, when Andrés Iniesta went top shelf with a one-time blast on 53 minutes.
Suárez made it 4–0 a quarter hour from time to confirm the rout.
Neymar and Suárez further distanced themselves from the pack in the race for the Pichichi trophy. Neymar’s goal was his 12th of the season, tops in La Liga, while Suárez’s double keeps him in second, one behind Neymar.
Suárez slotted home to give Barça a 1–0 lead on 11 minutes. Sergi Roberto picked up the ball near midfield and sliced through the Madrid defence with the precision of a surgeon’s scalpel before passing back across the grain to Suárez, who finished with aplomb.
Then in the 39th minute, Neymar made it 2–0 after taking a pass from Iniesta and firing low with enough pace to beat Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas, who couldn’t get a big enough piece of the ball to keep it from finding the net.
The sequence put a big dent in Real Madrid’s morale, ending the only sustained pressure that the all-whites were able to generate all night long.
Claudio Bravo was superb in goal for FC Barcelona. He made several brilliant saves to preserve a clean sheet. Bravo stoned Real Madrid’s James Rodríguez, Cristiano Ronaldo twice and Karim Benzema all in the second half.
Other than his two shots — coming in a one-on-one and on a point-blank header — Ronaldo was a non-factor.
After the break, in the 53rd minute, Iniesta and Neymar combined on a give-and-go when Neymar left a no-look drop pass for a hard charging Iniesta, who met the ball in stride and fired a rocket past a hopelessly diving Navas and into the upper right corner for a 3–0 lead. It was Iniesta’s third career goal against Real Madrid, and his second at the Bernabéu.
Lionel Messi replaced Ivan Rakitic in the 57th, giving the four-time Ballon d’Or winner his first minutes since going out with an injury on 26 September.
The addition of a surprisingly spry Messi to FC Barcelona’s already perplexing attack put the Madrileños even further into submission.
In minute 74, Suárez netted Barça’s 4th of the night. With both Suárez and Neymar bearing in on goal unfettered, Suárez chose to keep it himself. The Uruguayan juked Navas to the ground before chipping over the felled keeper and into the back of the net.
With Real Madrid facing the ignominy of a whipping in front of their home fans, tempers began to flare, and in the 84th minute Isco was shown a straight red card for coming in high with the studs on Neymar and catching the league’s leading goalscorer square on the knee.
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