Real's hopes of retaining their La Liga title fade as goals from Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi and Aleix Vidal lift Barcelona14-points clear of their bitter rivals in the standings.

Barcelona clinched the win after a tense but tight first half in the early afternoon sun at Santiago Bernabeu.
Barcelona clinched the win after a tense but tight first half in the early afternoon sun at Santiago Bernabeu. (Reuters)

Real Madrid's hopes of retaining their La Liga title appeared to be fading fast as goals from Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi and Aleix Vidal propelled Barcelona to a 3-0 win in the 'Clasico' on Saturday, lifting them 14-points clear of their rivals in the standings.

Suarez capitalised on wide open space in Madrid's midfield to knock in a simple pass from Sergi Roberto following a breakaway move in the 54th minute. That opened the scoring after a tense but tight first half in the early afternoon sun at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Messi hammered in the second goal from the penalty spot 20 minutes later after Dani Carvajal was sent off for blocking a goal-bound header from Paulinho with his arm after Real were again easily picked apart on the counter attack.

Catalan defender turned winger Vidal hit the third in injury time to pile more misery on Madrid, who looked unrecognisable from the side who crushed Barca 5-1 on aggregate in the Spanish Super Cup in August.

"Madrid never give up"

Real failed to capitalise on their chances in the first half as Karim Benzema's header came off the post and Cristiano Ronaldo was denied by the flailing leg of Barca goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen. However, the European and Liga champions collapsed after the interval and Barca took full advantage.

"We are down because it is a defeat that hurts," said Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane.

"Madrid never give up, whatever happens. It is a difficult moment because we've lost by three goals. I could say we don't deserve it, but that is football."

Barca are nine points clear of nearest challengers Atletico Madrid at the top of the standings although Valencia could climb to second and close the gap to eight points later on Saturday if they beat Villarreal. Real are 14 points adrift but have a game in hand.

"The league isn't finished, we haven't even completed the first half of the season," claimed Barca boss Ernesto Valverde over his side's seemingly unassailable advantage.

Record TV audience

Instead of the usual late evening kickoff time, Spain's premier club fixture took place at 1200 GMT in a bid to capture a record television audience in Asia.

It was also played in the backdrop of a political crisis in the country, coming two days after elections in Catalonia in which separatist parties won a majority.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies