BARCELONA (Reuters) - Real Madrid can take a giant step towards a first La Liga title in five years when they host champions Barcelona on Sunday, looking to extend their lead over their arch rivals at the top of the table to six points with a game in hand.
Here are five games between Spain’s biggest two teams which determined the destination of the title.
Barcelona 3-1 Real Madrid, March 1960
European conquerors Real were in a strong position to wrestle the domestic title back from Barca when they visited the Nou Camp with a two-point lead. Alfredo di Stefano’s second half equaliser looked to have preserved their advantage but Eulogio Martinez and Ramon Villaverde immediately scored in the space of two minutes to pull the two sides level on points, putting Barca top on goal difference. They preserved their slender lead in the remaining games to defend the title.
Real Madrid 0-1 Barcelona, May 1994
Madrid were out of the running when they hosted their rivals in the penultimate game of the season, but were hoping to kill off Barca’s slim hopes of catching leaders Deportivo La Coruna. A late strike from Guillermo Amor stunned the Santiago Bernabeu into silence and took the title race to the final day, when Barca eased to victory over Sevilla and Deportivo drew with Valencia after missing a penalty, handing a fourth consecutive league triumph to Johan Cruyff’s side.
Real Madrid 2-6 Barcelona, May 2009
After a chaotic first half of the season under beleaguered coach Bernd Schuster, Real staged a remarkable recovery under caretaker Juande Ramos, winning 17 out of 18 games. Victory at the Bernabeu would have cut a seemingly insurmountable deficit with Barcelona to just one point, but Pep Guardiola was merely biding his time to make his mark as a coach. Midway through the first half he shifted Lionel Messi into the “false nine” role and watched his side blitz their arch rivals to race towards the league title.
Real Madrid 0-2 Barcelona, April 2010
Barca’s historic treble the previous year prompted a spending spree from Real Madrid’s returning president Florentino Perez, who splashed over 200 million euros in one summer on Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Xabi Alonso and Karim Benzema to try and shoot down the soaring Catalans. The title race was delicately poised going into the ‘Clasico’ with the two teams level on points but Barca again emerged victorious from the Bernabeu, striding towards the title with goals from academy success stories Messi and Pedro, leaving the press to gleefully declare the ‘cantera’(academy) had triumphed over Real’s ‘cartera’ (wallet).
Barcelona 1-2 Real Madrid, April 2012
Real had employed three different coaches to try to end Barca’s domestic hegemony under Guardiola and finally completed the task under the Catalan’s ideological opposite Jose Mourinho, who led the team to a record breaking total of 100 points. They effectively sealed their title with a late winner by Cristiano Ronaldo, who celebrated by mischievously gesturing the 99,000 Barcelona supporters inside the Nou Camp to calm down.
Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Toby Davis