|Bellingham gave Madrid victory in the 92nd minute.|
In a thrilling La Liga Clasico showdown, Jude Bellingham emerged as the hero, propelling Real Madrid to a sensational 2-1 comeback victory against Barcelona on a memorable Saturday. The English international, who has been setting the Spanish league on fire with his remarkable goal-scoring prowess, showcased his skills at the Olympic Stadium.
Bellingham's first goal left the crowd in awe as he unleashed a thunderous rocket into the top corner from a considerable distance, right after Ilkay Gundogan had handed the home team, Barcelona, the lead. The hosts had control of the game, hitting the woodwork twice, and appeared to be in the driver's seat. But Bellingham, who currently reigns as La Liga's leading goal-scorer, proved to be unstoppable.
In a dramatic twist of fate, Bellingham struck again in stoppage time, leaving the Barcelona faithful stunned. His second goal of the match marked his tenth of the season in the top flight. The young talent's remarkable brace elevated Real Madrid to the summit of La Liga, edging past Girona on goal difference, with both teams holding a four-point lead over Barcelona, who currently occupy third place.
The Catalan side entered the Clasico with renewed optimism, welcoming back key players like Robert Lewandowski, Jules Kounde, and Raphinha from injury, although they began the match on the bench. Unfortunately, Frenkie de Jong and Pedri couldn't recover in time to make an impact.
Real Madrid's manager, Carlo Ancelotti, made some crucial tactical decisions for the match. He entrusted Ferland Mendy with the left-back position, opting not to field Eduardo Camavinga or Fran Garcia. Bellingham, once again, was given the pivotal number 10 role as he embarked on his first Clasico experience.
Surprisingly, it was another midfielder making his Clasico debut who altered the course of the game. Barcelona's summer signing, Gundogan, proved to be the sharpest in the early moments of the match, taking advantage of an error by Aurelien Tchouameni who deflected Ferran Torres' pass into his own territory. The former Manchester City star capitalized on this opportunity, outsmarting the hesitant David Alaba and coolly finishing past Kepa Arrizabalaga in the sixth minute.
Barcelona Denied by Real Madrid as Bellingham Seals Late Victory
In a fiercely contested match, Barcelona's Fermin Lopez, a young talent hailing from the prestigious La Masia academy, found himself inches away from breaking the deadlock as his powerful strike met the post. The opportunity arose after an intense pressing effort by Gavi, displaying the tenacity of Barcelona's youth.
Real Madrid's Antonio Rudiger tried his luck from nearly 40 yards out, but his ambitious effort went wide. Madrid faced stiff resistance from the hosts, with their winger, Vinicius Junior, often finding himself in duels with the likes of Gavi and Ronald Araujo, who had been deployed as a right-back to contain him.
During the game, Araujo engaged in a physical encounter with Vinicius, prompting protests from the Brazilian. Barcelona's coach, Xavi, defended Araujo's challenge as a mere shoulder charge but couldn't overlook Ferran Torres' rugby tackle on Vinicius just before half-time, which resulted in a yellow card for Torres.
In the midfield battle, the trio of Gavi, Gundogan, and Lopez dictated the pace, while Joao Cancelo's advanced position provided Barcelona with additional defensive stability. Barcelona's luck with the woodwork continued when Inigo Martinez headed Lopez's pinpoint cross against the post early in the second half, and Kepa Arrizabalaga denied Araujo on the rebound.
Real Madrid resorted to long-range efforts as they struggled to make headway, but their persistence paid off when a thunderous strike found the net, leveling the score with just over 20 minutes left in the game.
Although Marc-Andre ter Stegen made an impressive save against an Aurelien Tchouameni piledriver, he couldn't prevent Jude Bellingham from delivering a decisive blow. Bellingham's powerful shot found its way through Ter Stegen's legs, pulling Real Madrid level in a match where they had struggled to gain control.
As the game appeared to be heading towards a disappointing draw for both sides, Bellingham emerged as the hero. Positioned perfectly, he seized the moment, shooting through Ter Stegen's legs after Luka Modric deflected Dani Carvajal's cross into his path. In the end, it was Real Madrid who secured the victory in a hard-fought Clasico encounter.