Rakitic gives Barca second ‘Clasico’ win in a week at Real

Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic scores their first goal. (Reuters pic)

MADRID: La Liga leaders Barcelona won a tight and tense ‘Clasico’ 1-0 at Real Madrid on Saturday, beating their rivals at their Bernabeu home for the second time in a week and moving a staggering 12 points clear of their great rivals in the standings.

Croatia international Ivan Rakitic struck the only goal of the game midway through the first half, delivering an ice-cool finish over Madrid keeper Thibaut Courtois after being played in by a clever pass by Sergi Roberto.

Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez were largely kept quiet in a shy display from the champions in which their defenders Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet were the heroes instead, bravely putting their bodies in the way to snuff out Madrid.

The victory, which followed Barca’s 3-0 win in the Copa del Rey semi-final on Wednesday, gave them a 10-point lead at the top over Atletico Madrid, who visit Real Sociedad on Sunday and effectively ended third-placed Real’s title hopes.