Barca stun the Bernabeu
Barcelona have gone seven points clear at the top of La Liga after a 6-2 thrashing of Real Madrid.
Last Updated: 02/05/09 9:46pm
Barcelona extended their lead at the top of La Liga to seven points with a crushing defeat of arch-rivals Real Madrid in 'El Clasico'.
Thierry Henry and Lionel Messi both netted braces while Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique were also on the scoresheet as Pep Guardiola's treble-chasers condemned Madrid to their first league defeat in 18 games.
Barca were forced to come back from an early deficit, however, as Madrid went ahead inside 14 minutes through Gonzalo Higuain.
Sergio Ramos sent over a cross from the right and Higuain rose unmarked to head home his 19th league goal of the season.
But the visitors turned the game around within six minutes with strikes from Henry and Puyol.
The lively Henry drew Barca level in the 18th minute when Ramos failed to cut out Lionel Messi's through-ball and the Frenchman coolly rolled his shot past Iker Casillas.
Henry was also involved in the goal that put Barca ahead soon after, winning a free-kick to the left of the area that Xavi curled into the area and onto the head of the unmarked Puyol, who duly finished.
Real Madrid goalkeeper Casillas produced three superb saves to deny Lionel Messi (twice) and Samuel Eto'o in the space of six minutes as Barcelona repeatedly swept through the home defence.
But Casillas could do nothing to prevent Messi putting Barca 3-1 up in the 35th minute though after a mix-up in the Real Madrid defence.
Lassana Diarra was caught in possession by Xavi deep inside Madrid territory, and with the home side's backline nowhere in the vicinity, Messi had all the time in the world to collect the ball, stroll into the area and slide a low shot past Casillas.
Barca continued to look the more likely to get another goal as well, with Dani Alves testing Casillas with a long-range free-kick just before the break and Andres Iniesta going close at the start of the second half.
It was actually Madrid who would find the breakthrough though, thanks to Ramos.
Iniesta was adjudged to have fouled Robben just outside the box, and from the resulting kick Ramos headed home the Dutchman's cross at the far post to give Madrid a lifeline.
The glimmer of hope was to last all of a minute before Henry restored Barca's two-goal advantage.
Xavi picked out the former Arsenal player's run in behind Ramos and Henry reached the ball before the onrushing Casillas. The Frenchman coolly curled his shot around the keeper and into the net.
The hosts were left embarrassed after Messi made it 5-2 in the 75th minute, the Argentinean picking up a pass from Xavi before beating Casillas at his near post.
Madrid's nightmare had not finished and Pique wrapped up the scoring eight minutes from time with Barca's 100th league goal of the season.
The win moves the Catalan side seven points clear with only four games remaining in the Spanish season.
|Real Madrid||Team Statistics||Barcelona|
|1||1st Half Goals||3|
|4||Shots on Target||13|
|1||Shots off Target||4|