Barcelona: Víctor Valdés; Dani
Alves, Puyol, Mascherano, Adriano (Pedro 74'); Xavi (Alexis 69'), Busquets,
Thiago; Iniesta, Messi, Tello (Fàbregas 81'). 4-3-3.
Madrid: Casillas; Arbeloa, Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Coentrao; Xabi Alonso, Khedira; Di María (Granero 74'), Özil (Callejón 88'), Cristiano Ronaldo; Benzema (Higuaín 93'). 4-2-3-1.
0-1. 17. Khedira. Turned ball in from close up after Valdés saved Pepe header.
1-1. 70. Alexis. Beat Casillas at second attempt after keeper saved from Adriano.
1-2. 73. Ronaldo. Ran on to Özil pass and fired shot inside Valdés's near post.
Yellow cards: Busquets 14', Pepe 42', Xabi Alonso 47', Özil 76', Granero 77'.
Real Madrid are all but mathematical league champions this season after a 1-2 victory at Barcelona on Saturday evening! Those who were expecting a spectacular match though would have been disappointed, this was a dour encounter between a Madrid serious and unyielding in defence, and a Barça team looking tired and lacking the spark we are so used to seeing in recent years.
Both keepers were in action early on, Valdés tipping a Cristiano Ronaldo header over the bar and Casillas saving at the feet of Dani Alves. The visitors took the lead with just over quarter of an hour on the clock after Pepe headed an Özil corner towards goal, Valdés getting a hand to the ball but Puyol unable to clear before Khedira stuck out a foot and poked it in to the net.
Casillas did well to deflect a shot from Xavi round the post before the break (although the referee gave a goal kick), and after the restart Tello, a surprise inclusion in Guardiola's starting line-up, fired a shot over the top after Thiago put him through.
Ronaldo, Benzema and Özil were causing some problems for the Barcelona defence, but with twenty minutes to go Alexis equalised just a minute or so after coming on, beating Casillas at the second attempt after Pedro and Adriano had shots blocked.
Just three minutes later though Ronaldo ran on to Özil's through ball to restore the lead, and Benzema and Ronaldo could both have added to the scoreline after that. The win takes Madrid seven points clear of their arch-rivals, and with only four games left to go the title race is virtually over.