La Liga: Barcelona annihilate Real Madrid
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored twice as a renewed Barcelona delivered a football masterclass to humiliate rivals Real Madrid 4-0 on Sunday
MADRID: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored twice as a renewed Barcelona delivered a football masterclass to humiliate rivals Real Madrid 4-0 on Sunday, smashing Carlo Ancelotti's LaLiga leaders on their home turf.
A sold-out Santiago Bernabeu stadium sat calmly as a much-improved Barcelona under new coach Xavi Hernandez dominated 'El Clasico' from the start.
With Ousmane Dembele and Ferran Torres exposing Real Madrid's defensive frailties on the sides, Barcelona scored in the 29th minute on an Aubameyang header from a Dembele cross.
Barcelona maintained the tempo against a disorganized and lifeless Real Madrid, and their lead was doubled when defender Ronald Araujo headed home from a Dembele corner.
Ancelotti attempted to change the dynamic by making two replacements during the half, but Barcelona scored in the first minute of the second half on an angled effort from Torres following a backheel from Aubameyang.
Torres, a former Manchester City attacker, returned the favour five minutes later, setting up ex-Arsenal striker Aubameyang for his second goal.
Barcelona had several chances to extend their lead, but Real goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois saved them all.
With Real Madrid well atop the standings with 66 points, Sunday's Clasico was never going to decide LaLiga's title chase.
However, pride was at stake, and Xavi's much improved Barcelona demonstrated that their recent comeback to form was genuine.
After their fifth consecutive league victory, Barcelona is third in the table with 54 points and a game in hand, three points behind second-placed Sevilla.
After falling as low as ninth in the table after Ronald Koeman's dismissal in October, Barcelona has been revitalized under Xavi.
They have gone unbeaten in the Copa del Rey since losing in extra time to Athletic Bilbao on January 20 and have scored 24 goals in their past seven league games.
Edited - SportsAction / Inputs - Agency