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The Title Race is Over. Real Lazily Won the Anniversary El Clásico

Approaching the historic 250th match between Barcelona and Real, both teams were weary of league battles.

After the away victory over PSG, the Blaugrana were already thinking about the final, considering their tournament bracket. As early as Tuesday, the Champions League would be Barcelona's saving grace in a tough season. Still, Araujo's foolish sending-off shuffled all the cards for the Catalans. After the disappointing exit, Xavi and his players began to see the match against Real as pivotal, as potential success could put Barcelona back in the title race.

Meanwhile, Madrid prepared for the Clásico in great spirits — Ancelotti's excellently executed plan against Manchester took Real to the Champions League semi-final and automatically made the royal club the tournament's main favorite. However, Barcelona fans and even some players expressed hope in pre-match interviews that the joy of Real's league success would turn into dizzying euphoria, something the Catalans wouldn't miss.

The start of the match couldn't have been better for Barcelona — guests scored from a corner kick by... Christensen unexpectedly deployed in defense. The Dane finished Rafinha's delivery at the far post. The first half was open — there weren't many clear-cut chances, and the existing ones arose more from defensive lapses. Still, the players' attacking intent didn't leave the ball in the midfield for long.

Ten minutes after the guests' goal, Cancelo again made a mistake, allowing Vazquez into the penalty area. Kubo supported his partner, completely bypassing Real's right-back. Xavi didn't believe in Vazquez's fall, but the referee did. Vinícius defeated Ter Stegen from the spot.

In the first 45 minutes, Barca almost scored a second — again from a corner. Or did they? It was impossible to tell from replays whether the ball crossed the line after Yama's strike, and the referee didn't have a unique bracelet. After Christensen's mistake, the hosts also responded — with Vinícius missing from outside the box and passing to Rodrigo instead. Stoppage time was remembered for a brutal clash between Valverde and De Jong, after which the Dutchman was carried off the field on a stretcher.

Despite this, the feeling persisted that Madrid played reluctantly, as if understanding that they could always intervene and correct the situation in unfortunate circumstances. This was how the second half unfolded—until Fermin's goal in the 69th minute, successful in finishing. Xavi released him at halftime instead of Christensen — Barcelona's midfield predictably sank, but the attack transformed.

Real's second conceded goal boosted them; players completely forgot about the center of the field. As the impression suggested, Los Blancos immediately bounced back. Four minutes later, Vazquez and Vinícius scored again — this time, the Spaniard finished the Brazilian's shot.

After making it 2-2, Real picked up momentum, creating goal-scoring opportunities one after another. One of them was converted at the flag by Bellingham — yes, yes, Jud again, as if ignoring criticism after matches against City, becoming the scorer of the winning goal in the Clásico. But the match's hero was undoubtedly Vazquez, scoring from his flank onto the Englishman. Earned penalty, goal, and assist — Carvajal had a successful rest.

In the remaining minutes, Barça couldn't come up with anything. Real, in their — at least seemingly — lazy style, won the anniversary 250th El Clásico, and along with it, possibly the championship — 11 points from six rounds, the royal club won't relinquish.

Published by Patrick Jane