Real win first clasico of season

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BARCELONA, Spain, Oct 24, (AP): Sergio Ramos scored the winning goal in Real Madrid’s 3-1 win at Barcelona after a video review awarded him a penalty in the Spanish league on Saturday.

Real Madrid’s Luka Modric scores his side’s 3rd goal during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain on Oct 24. (AP)

Ramos restored Madrid’s advantage in the 63rd from the spot after a brush with Barcelona’s Clement Lenglet in the area. After consulting the video screen on the touch line, referee Juan Martínez ruled that Lenglet had impeded Ramos from contesting a high ball by grabbing his shirt. Federico Valverde opened the scoring for Madrid in the fifth minute when he fired in a pass from Karim Benzema. Barcelona’s Ansu Fati leveled three minutes later from an attack cued by Lionel Messi.

Barcelona were taking the match to Madrid’s area when Ramos was sent to the spot by the VAR review. Substitute Luka Modric capped the win for Madrid in the 90th with Barcelona searching for an equalizer. Madrid lead the league with 13 points. Barcelona have 7 with a game in hand. Gone was the listless Madrid that had been embarrassed in home losses against Cádiz and Shakhtar Donetsk over the previous week. Ramos had been knocked out of the loss Cádiz at halftime with a knee knock that also sidelined him for the Shakhtar defeat in the Champions League. With him back barking orders in the center of their defense, Madrid were the aggressive, compact side that had won the league from Barcelona last season.

Ramos also proved key in attack when he used his wiles to grapple with Lenglet and then complain vehemently after he collapsed to the turf following the defender’s tug. Barcelona’s US defender Sergiño Dest, making just his third start for his new club, had his doubts. It was the first “clásico” match played without fans since the Spanish league closed all stadiums to the public after since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, Elche beat Valencia 2-1 to deal the visitors a third consecutive loss in the Spanish league.

Valencia continue to struggle after not replacing several of their starters that they sold during the summer transfer window, including Rodrigo Moreno, Ferran Torres, and Dani Parejo. Elche dictated the first half against a Valencia side that were unable to threaten their area. José Fernández curled in a strike to give Elche the lead in the 19th minute.

Fidel Chaves added another goal with a pinpoint shot in the 37th. Valencia improved after halftime through the incursions of right back Thierry Correia, but Elche goalkeeper Edgar Badía saved tries by José Gayà, Carlos Soler and Gabriel Paulista. Valencia pulled one back after coach Javi Gracía sent on Kang-In Lee. The South Korean midfielder threaded a pass through Elche’s defense that left left-back Toni Lato alone to round Badía and score with 15 minutes remaining. Kevin Gameiro was then inches away from equalizing when he squirmed a ball past Badía, only for Elche defender Gonzalo Verdú to clear it from the goal-line.

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