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David Alaba and Lucas Vazquez scored as Real Madrid beat Barcelona 2-1 at Camp Nou on Sunday in the rivals’ first clash since the exit of Lionel Messi.
Defender Alaba turned goal-scorer in the 32nd minute with a wonderful curling shot from the left side of the area that the outstretched Marc-Andre ter Stegen could not stop.
His strike came minutes after American Sergino Dest squandered Barcelona’s best chance of the match when he sent his close-range shot soaring over the crossbar.
Vazquez added a second goal in stoppage time on a counterattack with Barcelona desperately thrown forward in search of an equalizer.
Sergio Aguero pulled one back for Barcelona on a cross from Dest in the final seconds.
The victory moved Madrid to the top of the Spanish league, level on points with Sevilla and Real Sociedad. Sociedad can reclaim the lead when they face defending champion Atletico Madrid later on Sunday.
The defeat was another blow to Barcelona who have struggled since their financial troubles kept them from re-signing Messi and other players. Ronald Koeman’s team was left in eighth place at five points adrift.
AFRICA DAILY NEWS, NEW YORK