Barcelona’s win was also delicious revenge for a dreadful home loss to Real back in October – a result that majorly hastened Xavi’s appointment. As they often do under the current regime of their former midfield idol, the Catalan giants enjoyed a superb start to the game, dominating possession and creating the better chances. Pace in wide areas proved a real asset for the visitors, as Ferran Torres displayed by creating a huge chance for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but the forward’s effort was brilliantly stopped by Thibaut Courtois.
The Belgian goalkeeper had no answer on the half-hour mark though, as Ousmane Dembélé left Nacho Fernández for dead, before delivering a pinpoint cross that was nodded home by Aubameyang. The Gabonese forward was causing all sorts of problems, forcing Courtois into yet another save, but that couldn’t prevent Barça from doubling their lead before the interval. Dembélé was the provider once more, as his brilliant corner gave Ronald Araújo a free header to power home and silence the Bernabéu.
Carlo Ancelotti changed his side’s system in the absence of Karim Benzema, and such were the struggles of his side before the interval, he tinkered once more after the break. The changes had no impact, as Torres missed a gilt-edged chance to extend the lead within 30 seconds, before netting a minute later. Frenkie De Jong found Aubameyang, who produced a fabulous chop to give Torres the chance to find the top corner.
Moments later, Barcelona added a fourth. Real failed to play to the whistle having presumed Torres was offside, but the Spaniard slotted in Aubameyang to chip beyond Courtois, with the goal given after a VAR review. By now, Xavi’s men were completely on the rampage, and showed no interest in taking their foot off the gas. In yet another dangerous Barcelona move, Aubameyang missed a tap-in at the back post which would have completed a phenomenal hat-trick, with the effect of emulating a 5-0 away win achieved over Real back in February 1974.
In truth, Real should feel lucky that they only conceded four in a shambolic display. Ancelotti has now lost four of his previous six meetings with Barcelona, and 2021/22 is now unique in that it is only the fourth La Liga season in 50 years to see both league H2Hs won by the away side on the day. Meanwhile, Barcelona are now ten away league games unbeaten under Xavi’s command, closing the gap behind Sevilla to just three points with this sensational victory.
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