Real Madrid came from behind to record a convincing and deserved 3-1 victory over fierce rivals Barcelona in the first Clasico of the 2014-15 campaign.
All eyes were on Luis Suarez, who made his competitive debut for the Catalan giants after serving his ban, and the Uruguay international was involved early on - giving the ball to Neymar, who fired Barcelona 1-0 ahead with just three minutes on the clock.
However, Cristiano Ronaldo levelled the scores from the penalty spot after Gerard Pique inexplicably handled Marcelo’s cross inside the box. And after that it was all Real Madrid.
Pepe fired Real Madrid ahead early in the second half with an unmarked header, before Karim Benzema finished off a fabulous counter-attacking move to ensure the hosts secured all three points.
Iker Casillas: 7.5
The much-maligned Spaniard made one fantastic save from Lionel Messi in the first half and another from Jeremy Mathieu in the second. A long-overdue good day at the office for the veteran keeper.
Dani Carvajal: 8.5
Superb. Should have done better with Neymar’s goal, but recovered extremely well after that. Worked tirelessly all match and was arguably Real Madrid’s best player.
Scored Real Madrid’s second goal with a thumping header - but where was the marking from the Barcelona defence? Solid at the back alongside Sergio Ramos.
Sergio Ramos: 7
Fine performance from the veteran Real Madrid centre-back. Smart decision by Ancelotti to start him ahead of Raphael Varane.
Excellent down the left flank. Played the cross which led to Pique’s handball and Ronaldo’s subsequent equaliser.
Toni Kroos: 7
The Germany international didn’t look out of place on his first Clasico appearance. Swung in the corner that Pepe powered in with his head early in the second half.
Luka Modric: 8
There aren’t many better central midfielders in world football than Luka Modric. The diminutive Croatian put in a real shift tonight - at both ends of the pitch - and thoroughly deserved his standing ovation in the final minutes.
James Rodriguez: 7.5
Real Madrid’s big summer signing is settling in nicely at the Bernabeu. Should have scored with a header, but made amends by playing the pass which led to Benzema’s goal.
Fantastic performance by the Spaniard, who is currently deputising for Gareth Bale. Gave Real Madrid balance and was effective at both ends of the pitch. Subbed off to a standing ovation with 10 minutes remaining.
Karim Benzema: 7.5
It’s bizarre to think some in Spain were questioning Karim Benzema just a few weeks ago. The France international is one of the world’s best strikers, and showed his class with another excellent finish.
Cristiano Ronaldo: 7
La Liga’s top scorer, and the current Ballon d’Or holder, was typically busy throughout the match. Dispatched his first-half penalty with ease - his 21st goal of an already remarkable season.
Asier Illarramendi: N/A
Sami Khedira: N/A
Alvaro Arbeloa: N/A
Claudio Bravo: 6
Hard to blame Barcelona’s summer signing for another of the three goals. His defenders left him exposed at times.
Dani Alves: 5
Difficult match for the Brazilian, both in an attacking and defensive capacity. After this below-par performance it’s easy to understand why Barcelona are letting him leave at the end of the season.
Gerard Pique: 4.5
Foolishly stuck his arm out while on the floor to concede the first-half penalty and nowhere to be seen when Pepe crashed home Real Madrid’s second goal from a corner. Abject performances such as tonight’s will add further question marks over his future.
Javier Mascherano: 7
At fault for Real Madrid’s third goal but, in truth, without the Argentina international on the pitch things could have become very messy indeed for the visitors. Mascherano made several crucial blocks in the second half and, unlike some of his teammates, fought until the final whistle.
Jeremy Mathieu: 5
A little uncomfortable in an unfamiliar left-back role. Tested Casillas with an excellent effort, but probably should have started alongside Mascherano or Pique in central defence.
The Barcelona legend might be getting on a bit - this might have been his final Clasico - but his ability to pick a pass remains second to none. Tidy but unspectacular. Subbed off for Ivan Rakitic after 60 minutes.
Sergio Busquets: 5.5
Sergio Busquets has enjoyed better Clasicos; this wasn’t one one of his better performances. The Spain international is still short of match fitness - and it showed.
Andres Iniesta: 5
Not as involved as Luis Enrique would have hoped. The world-class 30-year-old looks as if he’s starting to slow down, and must take a large portion of the blame for Real Madrid’s third goal.
Scored the game’s opening goal with a superb strike, but disappeared after that. The Brazilian superstar struggled to get himself into the game.
Lionel Messi: 6.5
Not a bad performance from Barcelona’s superstar, but not great either. Probably should have scored in the first half, but was denied by Casillas, and didn’t look like scoring after that. His passing, however, was typically crisp and accurate.
Luis Suarez: 6
Grabbed his first Barcelona assist just three minutes into his competitive Barcelona debut. Not Luis Suarez at his brilliant best - which is understandable given the amount of time he’s missed - but he still made an impact. Tired as the game wore on and was subbed with 20 minutes remaining.
Ivan Rakitic: 5.5
Sergi Roberto: N/A
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