Barcelona started the season undefeated through eight matches and hadn't even conceded a single goal in that span. But then they met the unrelenting scoring power of Real Madrid in the world's most expensive league match and all of that changed as Los Blancos won 3-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The match began with a customary manic pace that would make even the most dedicated caffeine freak warn both sides to slow down. With Luis Suarez starting his first official match for Barcelona since the end of his four-month ban for biting Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup, the visitors had the more potent attack in the opening minutes. Neymar put them ahead in just the fourth minute.
[More Clasico: Real Madrid vs. Barcelona in pictures]
Lionel Messi threatened to extend the lead shortly thereafter, but missed a sitter as he remains on the cusp of becoming La Liga's all-time leading scorer. Barca missed several more chances, but the biggest mistake came 34 minutes in when Gerard Pique conceded a penalty to Marcelo. Cristiano Ronaldo was entrusted with the spot kick and he did not disappoint, scoring his 16th goal of the season to make it 1-1 going into halftime.
Cristiano Ronaldo has scored more league goals per game this season (2.14) than 91 of the 97 other teams across Europe's top 5 leagues.
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) October 25, 2014
At the start of the second half, Real Madrid picked up where they left off. Pepe, the man who usually takes it upon himself to serve as El Clasico's troll king, headed in the go-ahead goal for Real Madrid in the 50th minute and Karim Benzema extended the lead to 3-1 in the 61st minute. From there, Real Madrid coasted to victory.
Since this was only his first match back and his fitness still needs improving, Luis Suarez came off in the 69th minute. He didn't make a huge impression on the match, but he did make it that entire time without biting anyone, so it should be considered a success for him.
Despite the convincing result, Barcelona remain top of the table, one point ahead of Real Madrid. But this could put a scare into them. Real Madrid were clearly the better side on the day, proving that their overwhelming attack was too much even for Barca's impenetrable defense.
This battle has only just begun, though. There's still a majority of the season left to play and Barca will have a chance at revenge on March 22 at the Camp Nou. At the current rate, Cristiano Ronaldo should have about 4,238 goals by then.
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