Real Madrid 3-1 Barcelona: Player ratings as Los Merengues see off rivals in crucial Clasico win
Real Madrid moved three points clear at the top of La Liga with a richly deserved 3-1 win over arch rivals Barcelona in Sunday's Clasico at the Bernabeu.
With their Champions League campaign dangling by a thread, Barcelona went into the match keen to assert domestic prowess. They dominated possession throughout the match, but were largely toothless in attack and allowed Los Blancos to pick them off with two first half counter-attacks.
The first goal came after great work from Toni Kroos, who sent Vinicius Junior through on goal with a delicious pass. Though Marc-Andre ter Stegen was on hand to parry the Brazilian's shot, Karim Benzema was first on the scene to stroke the rebound home.
Barcelona huffed and puffed but struggled to craft many meaningful opportunities, coming closest to scoring when Robert Lewandowski inexplicably fired over from two yards out - a rare sight indeed from such an established goal threat.
Xavi's side continued to hoard possession in the second half as they pushed for a route back into the game, but no such route opened up as Madrid simply sat back and let their opponents come at them.
Barcelona continued to throw men forward as the game edged towards full-time, eventually finding a breakthrough when Lewandowski squared the ball for substitute Ferran Torres to stab home.
The goal gave the Catalans hope and they continued to push for an equaliser as time ticked on, but it was Madrid who had the last laugh when Eric Garcia brought down Rodrygo in the Barca penalty area with a clumsy challenge.
After a VAR check, the penalty was given, Rodrygo dusting himself off to confidently fire past Ter Stegen and seal the three points for Carlo Ancelotti's side.
The result puts Madrid clear at the top of the league with 25 points from nine games, ending Barcelona's unbeaten start to the season in the process.
Real Madrid vs Barcelona player ratings - La Liga
1. Real Madrid (4-3-3)
GK: Andriy Lunin - 6/10 - Slightly nervy at times, the Ukrainian can probably count himself lucky not to be tested more by the Barcelona attack.
RB: Dani Carvajal - 7/10 - A restrained and mature performance from the experienced full-back, showing the discipline to keep Ousmane Dembele at bay.
CB: Eder Militao - 6/10 - Arguably the weak link in Madrid's back line and caught flat-footed for Barca's goal.
CB: David Alaba - 7/10 - Marshalled the defence admirably and doubled up on Raphinha with Mendy.
LB: Ferland Mendy - 8/10 - Had Raphinha in his back pocket. Classy performance from the Frenchman.
CDM: Aurelien Tchouameni - 6/10 - Seemed a little unsure of himself at times but kept the ball well.
CM: Luka Modric - 7/10 - Not a vintage display from the silky Croatian, but got stuck in and worked hard for the result.
CM: Toni Kroos - 8/10 - Fabulous run and through ball to play in Vinicius for the opening goal.
RW: Fede Valverde - 8/10 - A constant thorn in Barca's side, moving from the flank into central positions and getting his reward with a fabulous goal.
ST: Karim Benzema - 7/10 - Only had one real chance of note, but that was all he needed.
LW: Vinicius Junior - 7/10 - Slightly lacking in composure but a constant nuisance for Barcelona's high defensive line.
SUB: Eduardo Camavinga (78' for Modric) - 6/10 - Didn't get to spend much time on the ball as Madrid were up against it in the final 10 minutes.
SUB: Rodrygo (85' for Vinicius) - 8/10 - What should have been little more than a cameo proved pivotal as the winger won and converted the penalty which sealed the victory for Madrid.
MANAGER: Carlo Ancelotti - 9/10 - This was vintage Ancelotti-ball, sitting back and letting Barca tire themselves out before sucker-punching them on the counter. Ancelotti got it spot-on today.
2. Barcelona (4-3-3)
GK: Marc-Andre ter Stegen - 6/10 - Arguably couldn't do much about any of the goals and was brave coming off his line, but couldn't make the difference today.
RB: Sergi Roberto - 5/10 - Vinicius had Sergi Roberto on toast in the first half, with the Spaniard simply unable to live with the winger's pace.
CB: Jules Kounde - 6/10 - Didn't do much wrong, but didn't do anything right enough to change the outcome of the match.
CB: Eric Garcia - 4/10 - Capped a forgettable performance with a lazy challenge on Rodrygo to give away the penalty.
LB: Alejandro Balde - 5/10 - Apparently Alejandro Balde played in this game. Big if true.
CDM: Sergio Busquets - 6/10 - Kept Barca's possession play ticking, but will be angry to have conceded on the counter twice in one half.
CM: Frenkie de Jong - 7/10 - Arguably Barca's best player. Comfortable on the ball and constantly recycling possession to keep moves alive.
CM: Pedri - 6/10 - Looked a little lightweight up against a formidable Madrid midfield.
RW: Raphinha - 4/10 - A completely anonymous performance from the former Leeds man, who scarcely got himself into the game at all.
ST: Robert Lewandowski - 5/10 - Crowded out and isolated, the Pole's best chance came midway through the first half but he skied it from inches away.
LW: Ousmane Dembele - 6/10 - The best of a bad bunch in Barca's forward line, but looked uncomfortable on the left flank.
SUB: Ferran Torres (60' for Raphinha) - 7/10 - Asked questions of the Madrid defence and got his reward with a tap-in late in the game.
SUB: Gavi (60' for Busquets) - 5/10 - A day to forget for Gavi, who looked lightweight and was repeatedly brushed off the ball.
SUB: Jordi Alba (60' for Balde) - 6/10 - Jordi Alba played in this game too? Mental.
SUB: Ansu Fati (73' for Dembele) - 6/10 - Played a small part in Barca's goal but ultimately a lacklustre cameo from the winger.
MANAGER: Xavi - 5/10 - Xavi came into this game under severe pressure and this result will not have helped one bit. Barca were comfortable in possession but rudderless in attack, and were lucky to have even a single goal for their efforts.