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Sunday, 11 December 2011

Real Madrid 1 Barcelona 3

Barca cruised past Real at the Bernabeu last night with a comfortable victory.

Karim Benzema gave Real the lead on 23 seconds after a Victor Valdes howler.

But Barca hit back when Alexis Sanchez latched on to Lionel Messi's pass and fired across Iker Casillas.

The reigning champions took the lead as Xavi's deflected effort crept in before Cesc Fabregas headed in Daniel Alves' pin-point cross.

Barca move back to the top of the table, level on points with Madrid, who had won 15 straight matches.

But Real still have a game in hand as Barca head to Japan for the Club World Cup.

And Guardiola said: "I am delighted with the performance. Madrid will recover.

"To win here, you have to play a very good game and we have done that.

"But there is still much to do and Madrid will again be the leader if they beat Sevilla. There are no champions in December."

Guardiola also backed keeper Valdes, who gave the ball away for the opening goal and looked shaky early on.

He added: "Winning here is always worthwhile and challenging.

"You can see that in the performance of Valdes, who after conceding early has not taken another hit."

Real boss Jose Mourinho put the defeat down to luck, pointing to a Cristiano Ronaldo miss that could have given his side an early 2-0 lead.

He said: "Luck plays a part. When it was 1-0, we could easily have gone 2-0 up.

"Maybe under normal circumstances we would do but Cristiano has put it wide.

"The first half was balanced. The second goal would have been pure luck and not about talent or failure."

Mourinho also thought Messi might have been sent off, having escaped a booking for a late challenge, minutes after being cautioned for dissent.

He added: "I thought Messi could have been sent off but until I see it again I won't say more in case I'm wrong."

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