Real Madrid defeated Sporting Gijon 3-0 while Barcelona hammered Levante 5-0 as Spanish football’s two superpowers warmed up for next weekend’s El Clasico by preserving their grip on the title race.
With yesterday’s win, Real stretched their winning run to 14 games in all competitions and lead Barcelona by three points with the defending La Liga and European champions having played a game more.
Los Blancos on Song
Angel Di Maria scored Madrid’s 34th-minute opener and produced the throughball for Cristiano Ronaldo to put the game at El Molinon beyond doubt in the 64th. Marcelo capped the win in stoppage time.
Di Maria said his team was trying to remain focused ahead of the clasico that will likely mark the course of the competition with Madrid seeking to dethrone Barcelona for the first time in four seasons.
“The team is calm. We have a game (at Ajax) in the Champions League before we can start thinking about Barca,” Di Maria said.
With Xabi Alonso suspended, Lassana Diarra started in Madrid’s midfield alongside the equally defensive-minded Sami Khedira.
Barca’s 4-0 win over Rayo Vallecano on Tuesday was a game brought forward because of their participation in the Club World Cup in Japan later this month and Pep Guardiola’s side produced another dominant display against Levante whose annual budget is less than 1/20th of the top two Spanish teams.
Former Arsenal captain Fabregas put the home side 2-0 ahead with a low shot and a header before promising B-team player Isaac Cuenca made it 3-0 after 37 minutes. World Player of the Year Lionel Messi struck a fourth in the 55th minute and Chile forward Alexis Sanchez added the fifth just after the hour.
“The feeling (about the Clasico) is very positive,” said Barca defender Javier Mascherano. “It’s going to be a spectacular match and the whole world is watching and waiting.”