Real Madrid trimmed Barcelona’s lead at the top of La Liga to one point when they recovered from letting in an early goal to secure a stirring 3-1 comeback win in the ‘Clasico’.
There was no dream return for Luis Suárez today, making his Barca debut after a four-month ban for biting an opponent at the World Cup.
The Uruguay forward looked reasonably sharp and had a hand in Neymar’s opening goal but did not come close to scoring himself before being replaced by Pedro midway through the second half.
Neymar stunned a packed and hostile Bernabeu with a superb fourth-minute effort before Cristiano Ronaldo levelled with a penalty in the 35th, the first goal the Catalan side had conceded in nine league outings this term.
Pepe made it 2-1 to the European champions five minutes into the second half and a misunderstanding between Andrés Iniesta and Javier Mascherano led to Real's third after the hour when Karim Benzema finished off a swift break with a clinical strike.
“The team was incredible across the board,” Real defender Sergio Ramos told Spanish television.
“We had very clear ideas, we dominated and we not only controlled possession of the ball but we were very good on the counter attack,” added the Spain international.
“Football is about phases of a match and you have to know how to read them. We fought for the ball and they are not used to that and we did them damage.”
Barca are top with 22 points and Real, who had an early-season wobble but have been in scintillating form in recent weeks, second on 21. Sevilla, who host Villarreal tomorrow, are third with 19.
Four-times World Player of the Year Lionel Messi had a quiet night for Barca and remains one goal short of the league scoring record of 251 set by former Athletic Bilbao forward Telmo Zarra six decades ago.
“We played a very good first half,” said Barca sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta.
“We had some good chances to unbalance them but the 3-1 caused us a lot of damage and we struggled,” added the former Barca and Spain goalkeeper.