Real Madrid 3-2 Barcelona (Apr 21, 2024) Game Analysis

LaLiga leaders Real Madrid‘s pursuit of a record-extending 36th Spanish title gathered momentum after Jude Bellingham scored a goal in added time to secure a 3-2 comeback win over defending champions Barcelona on Sunday.

Madrid twice fought back from a goal down before Bellingham smashed in the winner at the far post from about six yards out to beat Barcelona for a fourth successive time. The result left second-placed Barca 11 points adrift of the leaders with six games left.

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“What a great night for being a Real Madrid fan, it’s incredible,” Luka Modric told Real Madrid TV. “It’s a win that edges us closer to the title, it’s what we want. It was a great game, we never stopped believing.

“We were behind twice but kept fighting, playing well, pressing and in the end we came back time and time again.”

Barca took the lead in the sixth minute when Andreas Christensen headed in following a corner after Real goalkeeper Andriy Lunin failed to clear the cross from his 6-yard box.

Vinicius Junior equalised 12 minutes later from the penalty spot after Lucas Vazquez was fouled inside the box.

Barcelona complained as the match was paused for several minutes as the VAR tried to determine whether a Lamine Yamal effort had crossed the goal line, but it couldn’t find a clear camera angle and the decision not to award a goal stood.

Jude Bellingham celebrates after scoring the winning goal for Real Madrid against Barcelona.
Jude Bellingham celebrates after scoring the winning goal for Real Madrid against Barcelona.

LaLiga is the only major European league not to use goal-line technology.

Madrid dominated the second half but missed several chances and allowed substitute Fermin Lopez to give the visitors the lead again in the 69th minute from a rebound. The hosts hit back with a Vazquez volley four minutes later.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side kept pushing for another goal and their perseverance paid off in added time, when Vazquez raced down the right channel and crossed to Bellingham, who blasted the winner into the roof of the net.

“He arrived at the right moment,” Ancelotti said of the Bellingham goal. “He made a big effort, working hard, he scored with his last bit of energy. It had been a while that he hadn’t scored. He scored the goal and let’s hope it’s fundamental in winning the league.”

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 their only title opportunity for the season.

“We’ve done very well. We couldn’t have done any better. I don’t think many thought we could do it,” Ancelotti said. “So far it’s been a spectacular season with all the problems we’ve had, physical above all. So far we’ve done spectacularly. Did Barcelona win the game? We’ll have to see, I think honestly a draw might have been fair, for us a draw wouldn’t have been bad.

“When we made it 2-2, they tried to play with a lot of players up front so we had some straightforward transitions and that’s how we made it 3-2. Barcelona went for it and they lost their balance.”

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

It was another tough loss for Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez, who announced in February that he was stepping down at the end of a difficult season.

“It’s hard to find words for it. It’s an accumulation of many things. We have not been at the level of competitiveness that we should have been. And that cost us,” Barca goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen said.

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.