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Bellingham Show returns as Real Madrid win Clasico thriller

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Bellingham Show returns as Real Madrid win Clasico thriller
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MADRID — Jude Bellingham scored a late winner as Actual Madrid beat Barcelona 3-2 in an exciting version of El Clasico on Sunday, leaving Madrid 11 factors clear on the prime of the desk and — with six video games left — closing in on the LaLiga title.

Barca went forward early on on the Santiago Bernabeu by Andreas Christensen, earlier than Vinicius Junior equalized from the penalty spot. Barca might need gone forward earlier than halftime, however with no goal-line expertise in LaLiga, Lamine Yamal’s shot was judged to not have crossed the road.

Substitute Fermin Lopez’s close-range end put Barca again in entrance halfway by the second half, however Lucas Vazquez levelled simply 4 minutes later, earlier than Bellingham struck in added time.

– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, FA Cup, Bundesliga & extra (U.S.)
– Learn on ESPN+: What would it not take for Barca to catch Madrid?

Alex Kirkland and Sam Marsden in Spain break down what that consequence means for every of the LaLiga giants.


Actual Madrid’s inevitable LaLiga title belongs to Bellingham

After all, it was Jude Bellingham. Was there ever any doubt?

The midfielder scored twice to win the primary Clasico of the season again in October in what might solely be dubbed the Bellingham Present. Right here, he dazzled once more with one other dramatic aim in added time, firing previous Marc-Andre Ter Stegen to successfully finish the title race. Actual Madrid will win LaLiga this season, and Bellingham’s half in that victory could not have been a lot better.

Madrid are actually 11 factors forward of second-placed Barca. Six of these factors have come from two Clasico wins, each because of Bellingham. Twice Barca went forward right here on the Santiago Bernabeu, and twice Madrid fought again — with unsung hero Lucas Vazquez the important thing man on each events — earlier than Bellingham sealed the three factors within the 91st minute.

This wasn’t a Clasico that Madrid needed to win. They simply had to verify they did not lose, to protect their lead on the prime, and keep away from Barca injecting some belated life again into the title race. So this wasn’t as all-or-nothing as El Clasico often feels. However that is nonetheless the largest membership recreation in world soccer, and the environment on the Bernabeu lived as much as the event. Even the stadium’s new, imposing 360-degree big wraparound screens have been switched on for the primary time.

This wasn’t fairly Madrid’s strongest XI, with some tiredness from 120 minutes performed towards Manchester Metropolis in midweek. Coach Carlo Ancelotti made three adjustments, with Dani Carvajal, Nacho Fernandez and Ferland Mendy dropping out. Luka Modric — in what may be his final Clasico look — got here into midfield, whereas Vazquez changed Carvajal, and Aurelien Tchouameni joined Antonio Rudiger at centre-back. The absence of Mendy meant Eduardo Camavinga at left-back, with the daunting process of going up towards Lamine Yamal.

It wasn’t all optimistic for Madrid. Barcelona’s opener will make for uncomfortable viewing for goalkeeper Andriy Lunin, who was the penalty shootout hero towards Metropolis. Lunin got here off his line to attempt to attain Raphinha’s nook, could not get anyplace close to it, and was simply crushed. Metropolis had 18 corners towards Madrid in Manchester and could not rating from any of them. Right here, Barca solely wanted one.

One other fear was how tough Lamine Yamal was making life for Camavinga, earlier than he was ultimately changed within the second half. However it’s one other, much less thrilling large participant, Vazquez, who deserves simply as a lot consideration. The 32-year-old’s dribbling run led to Madrid’s first aim, beating Joao Cancelo and going over Pau Cubarsi’s leg, for Vinicius to transform the penalty. And when Barca went again in entrance within the second half, it was Vazquez who responded to make it 2-2, assembly Vinicius’ cross with a cool far-post end.

Vazquez bought the help for the winner, too, though by then the main target was, naturally, on Bellingham and yet one more essential aim in what has been a outstanding debut season. Again and again, when Madrid have wanted it most, Bellingham has delivered, the final word clutch participant. And he might need simply delivered them the league title. — Alex Kirkland

With trophyless season assured, unsure Barca rebuild begins

Barcelona’s season will finish trophyless.

This week started with hopes of reaching a primary Champions League closing since 2019 and slicing the hole on LaLiga leaders to Actual Madrid to 5 factors. It ended with a European exit and a 3rd El Clásico defeat of the season.

There have been moments in Madrid on Sunday when it regarded like they might breathe life again into their fading title hopes. Christensen’s opening aim and López’s strike to make it 2-1 are the apparent standout moments, however this was additionally one other night time when 16-year-old Lamine Yamal as soon as once more confirmed how particular he’s.

There have been different moments that would have modified the sport, too. Barça will bemoan the very fact aim line expertise shouldn’t be utilized in Spain after Yamal’s first half effort, spooned away by Lunin, was dominated to not have crossed the road. They may even lament poor ending from Ferran Torres and lapse defending from Joao Cancelo.

Cancelo was crushed too simply by Vázquez, who was then fouled by Pau Cubarsí resulting in the penalty Madrid levelled from. The Portuguese full-back then left the identical participant utterly unmarked for Madrid’s second equaliser at a second when it regarded just like the momentum had swung in Barça’s favour.

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Have Barca’s defensive weaknesses value them the LaLiga title?

Dan Thomas is joined on ESPN FC by Craig Burley and Alejandro Moreno to look again on Barcelona’s El Clásico defeat to Actual Madrid.

If particular person errors have hampered Barça’s title defence all through the season, accidents have additionally performed their half. There was one other one right here when Frenkie de Jong was pressured off with an ankle drawback late within the first half.

However, in reality, even a win on the Bernabéu might not have been sufficient. They’d nonetheless have wanted Madrid, who’ve misplaced simply as soon as within the league this season, to drop factors in at the least two extra video games, whereas successful all their closing six matches. Maybe it is higher to maneuver on with out the false hope three factors might have introduced.

Now Barça can deal with what comes subsequent. It stays to be seen what the long run holds for coach Xavi Hernández. Earlier than this week, the requires him to reverse his determination to step down in the summertime have been rising after a 13-game unbeaten run. Again-to-back defeats to Paris Saint-Germain and Madrid might change that.

Xavi led Barça to a primary LaLiga title since 2019 final season, however it’s arduous to argue they’ve improved this season, regardless of the additions of Cancelo, Joao Felix and Ilkay Gundogan. They’ve come up brief towards Madrid on three events and misplaced their method towards PSG regardless of holding a two-goal benefit when Ronald Araujo was despatched off within the second leg in midweek.

Gundogan informed ESPN this week that they’re experiences that can serve to enhance the workforce subsequent season. That is a optimistic method of it. There may be additionally a gifted younger squad brimming with potential, however there are additionally monetary points and areas of the workforce which want bettering. Whereas the long run is unsure, the loss to Madrid means the planning can now begin. — Sam Marsden

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