Real Madrid edged an exhilarating El Clasico encounter to claim a 2-1 win over Barcelona and move ahead of Atletico Madrid at La Liga’s top.
Just two points divided the two rivals before kick-off, with Atleti’s recent stuttering form allowing Barca and Real Madrid to make up ground. Still, it was the former who gave their championship chances a serious boost.
Real triumph over Barça in El Clasico
It took Real Madrid just 13 minutes to break the deadlock with Benzema flicking home a wonderful finish following a counter-attacking move that involved Fede Valverde and Lucas Vazquez down the right-wing.
And the hosts doubled their advantage before the half-hour mark when a Toni Kroos freekick from the edge of the penalty area was deflected off Sergino Dest and Jordi Alba on its win into the net.
Torrential rain made the second half challenging for both sides, but Barcelona gained a foothold in the match through Oscar Mingueza, who diverted an Alba cross from the byline into the net off his shin.
The result sees Real Madrid draw level with Atletico Madrid on points in the table with their superior head-to-head record moving them top. Barca, however, remains one point off the pace.