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Spanish Primera BBVA

Santiago Bernabeu (ATT 84,000) 2nd March 2013 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: P Lasa

R Madrid Real Madrid vs Barcelona Barcelona

R Madrid 2

K Benzema (6)
S Ramos (82)

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Barcelona 1

L Messi (18)

La Liga: Sergio Ramos earns Real Madrid Clasico win over Barcelona

Last Updated: 04/03/13 12:34pm

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Captain Sergio Ramos celebrates after bagging El Clasico winner

Captain Sergio Ramos celebrates after bagging El Clasico winner

Real Madrid cut the gap between them and Barcelona to 13 points with a morale-boosting 2-1 win over the Catalans at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Karim Benzema gave Los Blancos an early lead but Lionel Messi levelled just over 10 minutes later to become the joint-top scorer of all time in the Clasico.

Sergio Ramos headed in a corner to restore Madrid's lead with nine minutes remaining, and Victor Valdes was sent off on the final whistle for a second yellow card after arguing with referee Miguel Angel Perez Lasa.

Madrid coach Jose Mourinho, presumably with an eye on his side's Champions League last 16 second leg match against Manchester United at Old Trafford in three days time, put out a very different team to the one that beat Barcelona last Tuesday in the semi-final second leg of the Copa del Rey. Cristiano Ronaldo, Mesut Ozil, Sami Khedira, Gonzalo Higuain and Alvaro Arbeloa all started on the bench, with Kaka, Benzema, Luka Modric, Alvaro Morata and Michael Essien drafted in.

Barcelona put out an almost identical side to the one that lost on Tuesday, with the exception of Cesc Fabregas and the injured Xavi Hernandez, who made way for Thiago Alcantara and David Villa.

Despite Madrid having the weaker side out, they were the first to draw blood after six minutes. Morata picked the ball up on the left wing, beat a placid Dani Alves and delivered a low ball across the box which Benzema tapped in from just a few yards out at the far post to give Madrid the lead.

Barca were level on 17 minutes, when Dani Alves delivered a low through-ball into the path of Messi after the Madrid defence and goalkeeper Diego Lopez all hesitated. Unchallenged, the Argentinian drove into the box and shot into the bottom corner to equalise.

It was Messi's 39th goal of the season in the Primera Division and his 18th in a Clasico, drawing him level with fellow Argentine Alfredo Di Stefano as the player to score the most goals in this fixture.

Morata and then Messi both failed to score from decent openings, both players firing their shots straight into the hands of Valdes and Lopez respectively. The 20-year-old Morata then missed another good chance shortly before half-time, heading a cross by Modric into the side-netting.

The opening stages of the second period were largely uneventful but the double substitution of Ronaldo and Khedira for Kaka and Benzema lifted the Bernabeu crowd, who had previously failed to make a lot of noise in a rare afternoon kick-off and with so many key players missing.

Morata had the best chance of the second half, receiving a brilliant pass by Pepe with just Valdes to beat, but his shot was pushed out by the goalkeeper - who was wearing the captain's armband in the absence of Carles Puyol and Xavi Hernandez.

Ronaldo then headed a free-kick by Modric just over the bar but Madrid's pressure soon paid off. Modric sent in a corner and Sergio Ramos rose above the Barca defence to head the ball just under the bar and into the back of the net on 81 minutes.

Ronaldo almost doubled the advantage when his powerfully struck free-kick hit the bar, and at the other end Barcelona were denied a penalty when Adriano went over after a challenge by Ramos.

Madrid stood firm to hold on for the three points but there was still drama even after the final whistle had been blown, with Valdes arguing with the referee and receiving a second yellow card, followed by a red.

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Matches

Table

Spanish Primera BBVA

Spanish Primera BBVA
Pos Team P Pts
1 Real Madrid 12 30
2 Barcelona 12 28
3 Atletico Madrid 12 26
4 Valencia 12 24
5 Sevilla 12 23
6 Malaga 12 21
7 Celta Vigo 12 20
8 Villarreal 12 18
9 Athletic Bilbao 12 15
10 Getafe 12 14
11 Rayo Vallecano 12 14
12 Eibar 12 13
13 Levante 12 12
14 Espanyol 12 11
15 Granada 12 11
16 Real Sociedad 12 10
17 Almeria 12 10
18 Deportivo La Coruna 12 10
19 Elche 12 10
20 Cordoba 12 7

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Match Reaction

Real assistant praises squad

Real assistant praises squad

Assistant coach Aitor Karanka was delighted with the performances of Real Madrid's fringe players after their 2-1 win over Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu.