Barcelona come from behind to win Clasico in Madrid

Barcelona come from behind to win Clasico in Madrid

Barcelona pulled level with Real Madrid at the top of the Spanish Liga on Saturday with a 3-1 comeback win away to Real, dpa reported.

Karim Benzema gave Real an early lead, but Barca triumphed thanks to goals from Alexis Sanchez, Xavi and Cesc Fabregas.

It was Barca's third win at Real in four seasons, since Pep Guardiola took over as Barca coach.

Barca's memorable win was watched by a worldwide television audience of almost 500 million. It was a hard match, but fortunately for Spanish football, there was no repetition of the ugly incidents that have marred recent Clasicos.

The noisy capacity crowd in the Estadio Bernabeu gave Barca a nervous start and this was what led to the earliest goal ever in a Clasico, after just 28 seconds.

Barca keeper Victor Valdes gifted the ball to Angel di Maria, and after several more nervous errors on the slippery pitch Karim Benzema made it 1-0 with a fierce drive from close range.

From then on, the hosts were content to soak up the pressure and play on the break, with Barca dominating possession with their legendary short-passing game.

They were rewarded for their domination with an equalizer in the 30th minute. Lionel Messi beat three men in midfield and set up Alexis Sanchez to make it 1-1 with a powerful low cross-shot.

Barca's domination continued into the second half and Xavi made it 2-1 in the 53rd minute with a long shot, which took a wicked deflection off Real's Marcelo and bounced in off Iker Casilla's far post.

In the 66th minute Fabregas scored Barca's third goal with a brave far-post header, after a fast break and a good centre from Dani Alves.

Barca are now level with Real on 37 points - and top on goal difference - though they have played a game more than the whites.

Earlier on Saturday, lowly Betis finally rediscovered their winning touch, coming from behind to beat Valencia 2-1 with two late goals from Ruben Castro.

It was Betis' first win since September and lifts them into 13th place, while also saving coach Pepe Mel from being sacked.

Mel said afterwards: "It was not that we were lucky today. What happened was that we deserved to win ... We were better than Valencia today."

Valencia looked weary after their Champions League meltdown away to Chelsea and allowed Betis to dominate.

Betis defender Jose Dorado broke the deadlock with a clumsy own goal in the 67th minute, turning a centre from Jeremy Mathieu into his own net.

But Ruben took advantage of Valencia's fatigue to turn the tables with two goals in injury-time, both of them set up by supersub Juanma.

Valencia stay third, but are now just one point ahead of crosstown rivals Levante, who beat Sevilla 1-0 earlier on Saturday.

Levante coach Juan Martinez said: "To beat Sevilla has a lot of merit. We played really well today."

The only goal of an important clash came in the 57th minute, when Levante defender Nano scored after the Sevilla defence had made a mess of a corner.

Dull Sevilla rarely threatened to equalize, and Levante - the season's surprise package and oldest team in La Liga - should really have increased their lead.

The win leaves Levante five points above Sevilla, and well placed to fight for one of next season's Champions League berths.

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