Ibrahimovich's goal gives Barca win in Spanish "El Classico"
Zlatan Ibrahimovich scored the lone goal in FC Barcelona's 1-0 victory over Real Madrid in the Spanish "El Classico" at the Camp Nou Stadium on Sunday.
The win put Barcelona back on top of the Primera Liga after a fascinating game that saw a contrast in styles and fortunes, Xinhua reported.
Real Madrid will point to an organized defensive display and several missed chances to argue that they deserved more.
However, Barcelona will point to the fact that they played the last 30 minutes with just 10 men, while Carles Puyol made a series of heroic challenges to deny the visitors in front of goal.
The run into the game had been filled with speculation as to whether Cristiano Ronaldo, Leo Messi and Ibrahimovich would be fit to play.
When the teams were announced, both Messi and Ronaldo were on the teams lineup, but Ibrahimovich's hamstring problem meant he had to be content with a place on the bench.
Real Madrid coach Manuel Pellegrini had clearly put a lot of thought into his tactics. Lassana Diarra and Xabi Alonso worked hard to close down Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta, while his side then looked to hurt Barca with pace on the break.
With Messi being crowded out by up to three defenders every time he touched the ball, Real should have opened the scoring in 20th minute.
A rapid break saw Kaka feed the ball to the unmarked Ronaldo, but Victor Valdes pulled off a fine save with his foot to stop Madrid going ahead.
Five minutes later Carles Puyol had to hurl himself into a challenge to deny Marcelo, who had also found space on the left of the Barcelona area.
Barcelona only threatened as the Madrid players tired and Xavi and Iniesta were able to combine.
The home side's best chance came after 37 minutes, but Iniesta was unable to put the ball past a very secure Iker Casillas. Barca coach Pep Guardiola waited just five minutes of the second half before bring on Ibrahimovich for the ineffective Henry and thee minutes later he received his reward.
Dani Alves found space on the right and his cross to the far post was volleyed home by the delighted Swede.
Barcelona was reduced to ten men after 62 minutes after Sergio Busquets was shown a second yellow card for deliberate handball.
Real Madrid was forced to change to a more open style of football, but Manuel Pellegrini was sure to be questioned for his decision to replace Ronaldo with Karim Benzema.
The Frenchman almost scored after 70 minutes, only for Puyol to make a heroic block and ten minutes later he scooped over the bar from close range as Madrid piled on the pressure.
At the other end Casillas made a stunning save to deny Messi and when Diarra was shown his second yellow of the night in the last minute, Real Madrid's last option was lost.