• Spain's news in English
Ronaldo ends Barça's 39-game winning streak
Real Madrid striker Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring against Barcelona on Saturday. Photo: Lluis Gene/AFP

Ronaldo ends Barça's 39-game winning streak

AFP · 3 Apr 2016, 09:10

Published: 03 Apr 2016 09:10 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit
Gerard Pique's towering header put the hosts in front on the night they honoured legendary former player and coach Johan Cruyff.
Yet, Karim Benzema quickly levelled before Ronaldo fired home five minutes from time after Madrid captain Sergio Ramos had seen the 21st red card of his career.
Victory reduces Barca's lead over third-placed Madrid to seven points with seven games remaining.
Atletico Madrid closed the gap on the leaders to six points with a 5-1 thrashing of Real Betis earlier on Saturday.
"I liked everything from my players both defensively and offensively against a great team with very good players," said Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane after a successful first Clasico in charge. "When I see the team like this, fighting for their teammates, it is the best thing for a coach."
There was an emotive homage to Cruyff before kick-off with over 90,000 fans holding up a display reading "Thank you Johan" alongside a Barca jersey with the number 14 the Dutch great adorned during his playing career.
Yet, it was a sad end to a spectacular run for the European champions as they tasted defeat for the first time since losing at Sevilla in October.
"Their first goal damaged us and disorientated us and caught us out of position," said Barca coach Luis Enrique. "One day it had to happen and it happened today. Now we have to prepare for the Champions League, rest and keep going."
Barca started by far the better and only an incredible miss by Luis Suarez let Madrid off the hook on 10 minutes.
Neymar unselfishly squared for his Uruguayan strike partner, but Suarez failed to make any connection from his low cross with the goal at his mercy.
The hosts were enraged midway through the half when Lionel Messi looked to have been brought down by Ramos right on the edge of the area, but referee Alejandro Jose Hernandez waved play on with Ramos already having been booked.
Madrid grew into the game as the first half progressed and finally threatened the Barca goal when Ronaldo's shot was beaten away by Claudio Bravo before Gareth Bale blazed a volley over from a narrow angle.
Barca started on the front foot again after the break and Navas made a brilliant save to prevent Messi's cheeky chipped effort floating in at the farpost.
But that save only momentarily denied Barca as Pique rose highest to power home Rakitic's corner on 56 minutes.
The lead lasted just six minutes, though, as Benzema swivelled to blast home Toni Kroos's deflected cross into the bottom corner.
Story continues below…
Bale had the chance to turn the game on its head, but his tame effort on his favoured left foot was easily held by Bravo as Madrid again threatened on the counter-attack.
The Welshman did have the ball in the net nine minutes from time, but was incredibly unfortunate to be penalised for a push on Jordi Alba as he headed in.
Ronaldo then fired against the bar and Bravo saved a one-on-one with Bale as Madrid's pace on the break began to tear a tired-looking Barca apart.
The visitors' hopes of a famous win looked to have gone when Ramos was finally given his marching orders for a second booking after chopping down Suarez seven minutes from time.
However, just two minutes later Ronaldo struck the winner as he controlled Bale's cross to the far post before slotting under Bravo

For more news from Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Halloween weekend: Sunny skies and nightmare traffic
Authorities expect 5.5 million cars to take to the road over the 'puente'. Archive photo: AFP

Spain is set for great weather over the long weekend. But be prepared for nightmare traffic.

Southern Spain will become a desert with global warming
Photo: Steven Stralton / Flickr

Southern Spain will become a desert if global warning continues, scientists have warned.

Eight Spanish films to truely terrify you this Halloween
Photo: Corie Howell / Flickr Creative Commons.

Looking for something to give you goosebumps this Halloween? The Local looks at eight Spanish films that are sure to have you cowering beneath the covers.

Spain's Socialists refuse to go easy on Rajoy once in power
Photo: AFP

Spain's Socialists may have reluctantly decided to let Mariano Rajoy govern again but they will not go easy on the acting conservative premier once he re-takes power, they warned on Thursday.

Spain's Podemos sees golden opportunity in Socialist woes
Pablo Iglesias is ready to step up in opposition. Photo: AFP

As Spain's conservatives prepare to re-take power after 10 months of political limbo, anti-austerity party Podemos has set its sights on replacing the divided Socialists as the main opposition force.

Wildlife ranger accused over decapitated bison in Valencia
The headless corpse of Sauro was found last month. Photo: Carlos Alamo / Reserva de Valdeserrillas

The case of the beheaded bison at a wildlife reserve in Valencia just got a whole lot weirder.

Spain jobless drops below 20% for first time in six years
The unemployed queuing up outside a Madrid job centre. Photo: AFP

Spain's unemployment fell below 20 percent for the first time in six years, official figures showed on Thursday.

'Saints not ghouls' insists Spanish church for Halloween
Suggested outfits from the Bishopric of Cadiz and Ceuta. Photo: Shower of Roses

Spanish bishops are urging good Christian children to forgo zombie, ghost and devil outfits and instead dress up as "saints, virgins and apostles".

Tough road ahead, Spain PM warns before return to power
Rajoy will try and form a government this week. Photo: AFP

Spain's acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy warned on Wednesday of a tough road ahead as he prepares to take power again at the head of a minority government with little support.

Russia withdraws request to refuel warships in Ceuta
The aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov was due to dock in Ceuta

Russia has withdrawn a request for its aircraft carrier group to be refuelled at the Spanish port of Ceuta, authorities confirmed.

Analysis & Opinion
Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Spanish 'La Mafia' restaurants banned after Italian complaint
Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Hunt launched for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Napflix: Spaniards launch very boring TV channel for siestas
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
jobs available