Real Madrid went to the top of La Liga thanks to a hard-fought victory at Real Sociedad.
Zinedine Zidane’s side is level on points with Barca, who drew 0-0 with Sevilla on Friday but go top because of their superior head-to-head record. Sergio Ramos’ penalty after the lively Vinicius Jr was fouled gave the visitors the lead. Karim Benzema doubled their advantage before Mikel Merino’s strike set up a tense finale.
There was controversy when substitute Adnan Januzaj thought he had made it 1-1 with a strike from outside the area but it was ruled out for a Merino offside. Merino did not get a touch but the officials deemed he was blocking goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois’ view, so interfering with play.
The anger became worst when Madrid goal machine Benzema controlled a Federico Valverde cross with his shoulder before firing the ball to the back of the net. The goal stood after a video assistant referee review for handball. Real Madrid looked comfortable at that stage but Merino rifled a shot in via the underside of the crossbar, after a cross from substitute Roberto Lopez, to keep the closing minutes interesting.
Real Madrid was faced with a big problem as the club’s captain Ramos was injured minutes after his goal and needed an ice pack on his leg in the stands. Madrid who have only won one La Liga title since 2012 – is now eight victories away from winning the league. Barcelona, on the other hand, will host Athletic Bilbao on Tuesday with Real at home to Mallorca the next day (both 21:00 BST kick-offs).