June 6, 2023
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With Franck Kessie’s late goal on Sunday, Barcelona secured a 2-1 Clasico victory against Real Madrid and extended its lead atop La Liga to 12 points.

The result makes it more difficult for Madrid to defend its crown, and it puts the Catalans in position to win the trophy for the first time since 2019.

Ronald Araujo’s own goal gave Carlo Ancelotti’s Real the lead, but Sergi Roberto’s goal for Barcelona right before halftime tied the game.

Both teams had chances to win the game. For Madrid, Marco Asensio scored, but VAR disallowed it for offside. However, in the 92nd minute, Alejandro Balde set up Kessie to score.

Barcelona’s alleged involvement in corruption in the “Caso Negreira” officiating affair dominated the preparation for the game.

In light of escalating hostilities between the two Spanish powerhouses, Madrid this week joined Spanish prosecutors’ complaint against Barcelona, and team president Florentino Perez skipped the match for the first time in more than 20 years.

In Xavi’s sixth Clasico as Barcelona coach, but just his first at Camp Nou, that increased the tension of the game on and off the field.

Fans sold out the stadium after Xavi urged them to do so and created one of the best atmospheres of the year by whistling when Madrid was in possession.

In their Copa del Rey semi-final first-leg loss to Barcelona earlier in March, Madrid failed to manage a single effort on goal, although Karim Benzema stung Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s hands in the opening minute.

At the other end, Robert Lewandowski reacted by challenging Thibaut Courtois as the skilled shooters traded shots.

It was friendly fire when Barcelona gave up the game’s first goal. Ter Stegen was defenseless when Araujo deflected Vinicius’ cross into the box at the near post.

Araujo, who was defending at right back to counter the Brazilian, had previously loved his battles with Vinicius, but this time the winger won, albeit unintentionally. His fervent jubilation in front of the Barcelona fans infuriated them.

It was only the second strike at home and the ninth overall that Barcelona has allowed in La Liga at Camp Nou all season. It was also the first goal from open play.

Andreas Christensen encountered another cross unmarked and nodded off-target, but Courtois, who had produced an outstanding save to stop a Raphinha header, was powerless to stop him.

The Brazilian was working overtime on the right in the absence of Ousmane Dembele when Raphinha’s flicked effort from a corner was blocked by Courtois. The Danish center-back then came near once more with a flicked effort from a corner.

Nacho, a defender, received a second booking for a handoff on Raphinha, and Barcelona claimed he ought to have been dismissed.

The hosts did not receive what they wanted, but they kept pushing forward and, shortly before halftime, a surprising source provided the breakthrough.

Sergi Roberto, who was chosen to fill in for injured midfielder Pedri, was in the right spot at the right moment to grab a loose ball in the box and arc it over Courtois.

Barcelona had substantially more possession and opportunities than in their cup victory over Madrid.

When Madrid stumbled, Lewandowski blasted a deflected piledriver just wide, prompting Carlo Ancelotti to take a chance and substitute Rodrygo and Ferland Mendy.

As Madrid stole Sergio Busquets and Rodrygo lash inches over the bar, it almost immediately paid off.

Asensio, a Madrid replacement, appeared to have scored the game’s winning goal, but the goal was disallowed for offside following a tense wait for VAR guidance.

Barcelona appeared satisfied with the draw, but Kessie’s dramatic goal at the very end erupted into frenzied celebrations at Camp Nou.

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