BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 21: Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid CF (R) duels for the ball with Carles Puyol of FC Barcelona (L) and Thiago Alcantara of FC Barcelona (C) during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid at Camp Nou on April 21, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Barcelona Vs. Real Madrid: Ronaldo Scores Clasico Winner

Cristiano Ronaldo has finally answered his critics in a league Clasico. Real Madrid have one hand on the La Liga title after a 2-1 win, and Ronaldo was the star.

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Barcelona Vs. Real Madrid, 2012 El Clasico: Final Score, Cristiano Ronaldo Finally A Madrid Hero

Real Madrid have one hand on the La Liga trophy after their performance at the Camp Nou on Saturday afternoon. They haven't been able to get a good result against Barcelona at their own stadium in the league since Pep Guardiola took over the Blaugrana, but they've pulled off a spectacular result away from home, winning 2-1 to go seven points clear of their rivals at the top of the table.

Sami Khedira scored the opening goal just 17 minutes in, tapping in a simple one after a corner kick. Pepe created the chance by beating Adriano in the air, nodding the ball down towards the goal. Victor Valdes got his hand to the ball, but should have been able to hold on or get the ball away from a dangerous area. He did neither and the ball fell to Khedira for an easy finish.

Iker Casillas had terrific command of his area in the first half, but didn't actually have a recorded save on the box score. Still, even though Casillas deserves credit for his great play, the Blaugrana looked completely out of sorts in the first 45 minutes and never really looked like they were going to score.

Things didn't look any better for Barcelona at the beginning of the second half. Christian Tello -- a surprise starter over all of Pedro Rodriguez, Cesc Fabregas and Isaac Cuenca -- had two terrible back to back sitters in a 90 second period. The second was set up by Thiago Alcantara with a terrific through ball, but the shot was so bad that words hardly do it justice. He couldn't have pulled off a worse miss if he tried.

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Barcelona didn't have another great chance until the 68th minute, when Xavi ripped a 20-yard shot just wide of Casillas' far post. That would be the last kick of the ball for the little playmaker, who was subbed off for Alexis Sanchez. Incredibly, it would take just one minute for Sanchez to have a major impact on the game.

Lionel Messi did most of the work to set up Barca's 70th minute equalizer, though he was a few steps removed from the actual finish. He started the move with a great dribbling run, then a ball out wide to Tello. He took a shot and hit the target this time, but Casillas made a save. The ball fell to Adriano who cent the ball back in, and Sanchez eventually applied the finish in bizarre fashion, putting it in with his chest after a bit of a scramble.

In past Clasicos, this would have been the beginning of the end for Real Madrid, who have not reacted well to Barcelona breaking through their defense. Instead, Madrid responded this time around, scoring the winner just two minutes later. Appropriately, the man who responded was the man who has been on the brunt of all of the criticism each time Madrid has lost to their most hated rivals, Cristiano Ronaldo.

Mesut Özil set him up with an absolutely stunning pass, but Ronaldo did most of the work. He showed absolutely remarkable pace to blow by Barcelona's defense while easily keeping the ball under control, then placing a fantastic narrow angle finish past Victor Valdes. It was the second time in the game where Valdes should have done much better, and his poor goalkeeping helped lead to a Madrid goal, but there's no taking away from Ronaldo or Özil on this goal. It was brilliant.

Both teams will have to quickly move on from this game and focus on Champions League, but Jose Mourinho might let his team celebrate just a little bit tonight. They were the better side than Barcelona, despite what the possession and passing numbers suggest, and they're well on their way to capturing a well deserved La Liga title.

You can find all of our previous game coverage in our Barcelona vs. Real Madrid, 2012 El Clasico StoryStream. For more on the two teams, head over to Real Madrid blog Managing Madrid and FC Barcelona blog Barca Blaugranes.

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Barcelona Vs. Real Madrid, 2012 El Clasico: Cristiano Ronaldo Reestablishes Real Lead

Real Madrid respond to being pegged back to 1-1 by... scoring instantly. That's certainly something. Mesut Ozil roams down the right flank and spots the central run of Cristiano Ronaldo, laying in a perfect path for the Portuguese. Ronaldo takes it perfectly, rounding Victor Valdes before slotting in from an acute angle to reestablish the visitors' lead.

And now things are kicking off. Ronaldo's penalised for an imaginary foul on Dani Alves before acting like he'd been shot in the chest in an obvious attempt to get the right back booked. A few minutes later, Ozil is booked for timewasting as he gets prepared to take a corner kick. Then Estaban Granero picks up a booking for fouling Lionel Messi. The resulting free kick looks pretty interesting, but is ultimately cleared out for a corner, from which Real Madrid win a free kick. It's 2-1 to the visitors with ten minutes left.

We have live game coverage in our Barcelona vs. Real Madrid, 2012 El Clasico StoryStream. For more on the two teams, head over to Real Madrid blog Managing Madrid and FC Barcelona blog Barca Blaugranes.

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Barcelona Vs. Real Madrid, 2012 El Clasico: Sanchez Makes It 1-1

And then Pep Guardiola makes a change and Barcelona equalise. Xavi Hernandez is hauled off for Alexis Sanchez, and it's the Chilean who scores to bring his side level. Andres Iniesta burst through the centre and manages to get the ball to Cristian Tello before he's brought down. Tello's shot is blocked off by Iker Casillias, but the rebound falls to Adriano at the edge of the box, and his drive is met by Sanchez.

Sanchez's initial shot is saved in phenomenal fashion by Casillas, who essentially claws the ball off the line, but the rebound falls right back to the to substitute and he's able to turn the ball in at the second attempt. That makes things very interesting indeed. How will Real Madrid react to that one? Er... hang on a minute...

We have live game coverage in our Barcelona vs. Real Madrid, 2012 El Clasico StoryStream. For more on the two teams, head over to Real Madrid blog Managing Madrid and FC Barcelona blog Barca Blaugranes.

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Barcelona Vs. Real Madrid, 2012 El Clasico: Halftime Score, Khedira Has Madrid Ahead

UPDATE: Real Madrid 2-1 FC Barcelona, Final Score

Real Madrid are 45 minutes away from virtually locking up the La Liga title. Thanks to some poor set piece defending and goalkeeping by Barcelona, Los Blancos lead 1-0 at halftime at Camp Nou. Sami Khedira applied the finish, but Pepe did the real work to win the ball in the air and cause the scramble in the box. Madrid haven't had much in the way of possession, but Barcelona's possession has created virtually nothing in the way of chances.

The goal came 17 minutes in and Pepe's setup was excellent. He beat Adriano badly when he rose up to meet the ball, and it's fair to question why Adriano was the man marking Real Madrid's best aerial threat. Victor Valdes couldn't hold on to the ball and no one could clear before Khedira applied the finish.

Barcelona don't have a shot on target in the box score, but they've come close with a couple of great chances. Iker Casillas has been brilliant so far, arguably the man of the match. He rushed out to grab the ball from Dani Alves on a breakaway run in the 5th minute, then later got in front of a shot by Xavi in the 27th minute and barely touched the ball wide of the far post.

For what seems like the first time ever in a huge game under Pep Guardiola, Barcelona looked panicked and impatient in the first half. They're going to have to settle down and start playing their regular game in the second half. A draw is a good result for Madrid, so Jose Mourinho might consider making a defensive change sooner rather than later.

We have live game coverage in our Barcelona vs. Real Madrid, 2012 El Clasico StoryStream. For more on the two teams, head over to Real Madrid blog Managing Madrid and FC Barcelona blog Barca Blaugranes.

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Barcelona Vs. Real Madrid, 2012 El Clasico: Sami Khedira Gives Real The Lead

Well that's something. Real Madrid take the lead against Barcelona at the Camp Nou, and it's from a corner. A really strange corner. Mesut Ozil launches the ball to the far post, where Pepe is being 'marked' by Adriano, which goes about as well as you'd expect. Victor Valdes hurls himself to his left to block the initial shot, but can't prevent a rebound, which falls to Carles Puyol. That's Barcelona centre half Carles Puyol.

The ball was basically on the line, but the captain had plenty of time to clear and the threat should have been over. Instead, he missed his kick entirely and saw the ball basically tackled into the goal by Sami Khedira to make it 1-0. That was a really really weird goal, but full credit to Real Madrid for a well-worked set piece. As things stand (and we're only twenty minutes in, so things are likely to change), the visitors will open a seven point cushion at the top of the league.

We have live game coverage in our Barcelona vs. Real Madrid, 2012 El Clasico StoryStream. For more on the two teams, head over to Real Madrid blog Managing Madrid and FC Barcelona blog Barca Blaugranes.

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Barcelona Vs. Real Madrid, 2012 El Clasico: Lineups

Barcelona have made a couple of surprising decisions for El Clasico, sitting down both of Cesc Fabregas and Pedro Rodriguez. Instead, Christian Tello and Thiago Alcantara will start against Real Madrid. Girard Pique is apparently still not fit to start, and Adriano starts at left back with Carles Puyol and Javier Mascherano in the middle. Jose Mourinho has opted for Mesut Özil ahead of Kaka and Fabio Coentrao ahead of Marcelo.

Barcelona lineup (4-3-3): Victor Valdes; Adriano, Carles Puyol, Javier Mascherano, Daniel Alves; Sergio Busquets, Xavi Hernandez, Thiago Alcantara; Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi, Christian Tello

Bench: Jose Manuel Pinto, Girard Pique, Seydou Keita, Cesc Fabregas, Alexis Sanchez, Pedro Rodriguez, Martin Montoya

Real Madrid lineup (4-2-3-1): Iker Casillas; Fabio Coentrao, Pepe, Sergio Ramos, Alvaro Arbeloa; Xabi Alonso, Sami Khedira; Cristiano Ronaldo, Mesut Özil, Angel Di Maria; Karim Benzema

Bench: Antonio Adan, Kaka, Esteban Granero, Marcelo, Raul Albiol, Gonzalo Higuain, Jose Maria Callejon

Kickoff is at 2:00 p.m. ET, 8:00 p.m. local time from Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. You can catch the game on any of GolTV, ESPN3 and ESPN Deportes in the USA. It's also on GolTV in Canada and Sky Sports 1 in the UK.

We'll have pre-game and live game coverage in our Barcelona vs. Real Madrid, 2012 El Clasico StoryStream. For more on the two teams, head over to Real Madrid blog Managing Madrid and FC Barcelona blog Barca Blaugranes.

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