In what might be the match that wins them the championship, Barcelona beat Real Madrid 2-1 with goals from Jeremy Mathieu and Luis Suarez to claim the first Clasico of 2015. Cristiano Ronaldo played poorly but still scored a first half equalizer.
Real Madrid had a dominant stretch in the final 15 minutes of the first half and early on in the first half when their speed seemed to be a bit too much for a disorganized Barcelona defense. But Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba and even Dani Alves were in fine tackling form. Combined with a little bit of luck, and they managed to walk away relatively unscathed.
As always, the match was filled with simulation and diving, including this one by Cristiano Ronaldo that earned him a booking. Javier Mascherano was also booked later on for trying to fool the referee.
Pepe did his best to keep up with the fouling and the falling, one of 11 players booked in the contest, with referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz worried more about keeping things calm than always making the right decision, which worked out quite well for the match.
Barcelona opened the scoring in the 19th minute from a Mathieu header from a Lionel Messi free kick, but a beautiful combination between Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema led to the equalizer in the 31st minute and 15 minutes of shock for the hosts.
Once Luis Suarez capitalized on the poor marking from Pepe and the positioning of Iker Casillas to convert Dani Alves’ through ball into the second and winning goal, Barcelona finally took over the match, and Lionel Messi finally showed up.
If it wasn’t for Casillas or the selfishness of both Neymar and Suarez in front of goal, Barcelona would have walked away with a bigger, more humiliating victory. Real Madrid stopped playing in the final 20 minutes in a poor performance from their front three once again.
With the win, Barcelona open up a four point lead at the top of the table ahead of Real Madrid with 10 matches left in the La Liga season. Valencia are only four points behind Real, while Atletico Madrid are at fourth trailing their Champions League rivals by five points.