A late Cristiano Ronaldo goal at the Camp Nou gave Zinedine Zidane his first El Clasico victory over FC Barcelona as the manager of Real Madrid.
Centre-back Gerard Pique had given Barcelona the lead 10 minutes into the second half after heading in an Ivan Rakitic corner. However, two counter attacking strikes from Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo guided Real Madrid to an unlikely win over their arch rivals in the second Clasico of the season.
Madrid’s stunning win at the Camp Nou also put an end to Barcelona’s 39-match unbeaten run in all competitions.
Zidane: Clasico win a turning point for Real Madrid
Real Madrid’s 2-1 Clasico win over Barcelona on Saturday may turn out to be an important turning point for the Los Blancos according to their manager Zinedine Zidane. “This can be a turning point — it is very important, for the rest of the season, for our spirit,” said Zidane (via espnfc).
“And just before we play in the Champions League in Germany. Before the game, we wanted to keep doing what we are doing, preparing well. These are three points — it is a derbi, it is better to win it, but these are [just] three points.
“Now we must think about resting well, and the next game, which is very important for us, and for what we want to do. I’m very happy with everything, not just the result. I am happy for Madrid fans who can be proud of their players.”
Enrique bemoans painful defeat for the Catalans
Luis Enrique bemoaned Barcelona’s crushing defeat to their bitter rivals in the Clasico on Sunday but said that his players would learn from the experience and emerge from it stronger.
“Losses can teach you that all trophies are difficult to win,” said Luis Enrique (via espnfc). “The players know how difficult any game can be, even more against an opponent who has the same objectives as you.
“What happened to us can happen in any game. We managed most of the game, created many chances, had a very good first half. But it was dangerous situation, as in the transitions we suffered in the last 15 minutes.
“It is painful to lose at home; had to happen some day. But we must move on, prepare for the Champions League, and it will be a very difficult game. We are still leading in La Liga, and we must keep pushing forward.
“We would have liked a different result, but football is curious like this,” he said. “We must get up quickly and lift the players. We gave everything, the fans were great as always. There is nothing else to do than get up again.”
Zidane the right man to take Real Madrid forward
Although Barcelona still lie 7 points clear of their Castilian rivals, Saturday’s Clasico win will go a long way towards instilling belief into Real Madrid’s domestic campaign. Central to Real Madrid’s win last night was the tactical acumen displayed by their manager Zinedine Zidane. The Frenchman’s decision to start Casemiro ahead of big money acquisitions such as James Rodriguez and Isco in the Clasico last night paid huge dividends.
Since taking over the reins from Rafa Benitez at the turn of the year, Zidane has enjoyed phenomenal success against some of the weaker teams in the league, while faltering against the stronger sides. However, a 2-1 away win against arguably the greatest side in Europe at the moment, suggests that Zidane may have finally turned the corner.