Barcelona are once again top of the La Liga table thanks to a memorable 5-1 over Real Madrid in El Clásico. After a spectacular first half, a tough start to the second and an amazing finish to the game, Barça dominated most of the match and saw a Luis Suárez hat-trick give them three huge points. And Julen Lopetegui might already be searching for a new job.
From the very first second, Barça established themselves as the dominant force in the game. They were very good in possession, with all three midfielders having plenty of touches and finding the attackers in good positions. Jordi Alba and Sergi Roberto were fantastic, with Alba especially being a constant threat. Madrid’s only resource were long, hopeful shots from distance that never troubled Ter Stegen.
And the goals came for Barça. First it was Ivan Rakitic who played a spectacular ball over the top to a running Jordi Alba, who took his time and made a beautiful pass to Philippe Coutinho for the opener. 20 minutes later, Raphael Varane fouled Luis Suárez inside the box, and VAR gave the penalty. Suárez took it beautifully and made it 2-0 for a dominant Barça.
The chances kept coming, but Thibaut Courtois made important saves and gave his team a little bit of hope. But at halftime, Barça were well on top thanks to a simply breathtaking performance.
Julen Lopetegui was 45 minutes away from losing his job, so he threw caution to the wind, took off Varane for Lucas Vázquez, changed formations and sent literally everyone but Courtois forward. The plan worked very quickly when Marcelo scored just five minutes into the final period. Madrid dominated after that and created chance after chance, including Karim Benzema hitting the post.
After about 15 minutes of complete pressure from Madrid, Barça recovered the ball and got more control of the game, creating chances themselves and looking a little more secure at the back. Ernesto Valverde made two changes, which made Sergi Roberto and Ousmane Dembélé the partners up front for Luis Suárez, and the three combined for a big third goal for Barça as Dembélé started the counter attack, Roberto made the cross, and Suárez headed the ball home.
With 15 minutes left and a two-goal lead to protect, Barça needed to keep their shape and their heads, and they did even more than that when Sergio Ramos made a hilarious mistake and gave the ball away to Sergi Roberto, who assisted Luis Suárez for a fantastic goal. There was still time for more, though, with a fifth goal scored when Ousmane Dembélé obliterated Nacho on the wing and assisted Arturo Vidal.
The final whistle came to end one of the most amazing nights in the history of El Clásico. It’s hard to forget this one. It’s impossible, actually.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Roberto, Piqué, Lenglet, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Arthur (Vidal); Rafinha (Semedo), Suárez, Coutinho (Dembélé)
Goals: Coutinho (11’), Suárez (30’, 75’, 83’), Vidal (87’)
Real Madrid: Courtois; Nacho, Varane (Vázquez), Ramos, Marcelo (Mariano); Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Bale (Asensio), Benzema, Isco
Goal: Marcelo (50’)