MADRID: Real Madrid piled renewed pressure on Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman as David Alaba scored a scintillating goal to help them seal a 2-1 victory in the Clasico at Camp Nou on Sunday. Alaba's bending shot had Madrid in front for the majority of an end-to-end contest, with Lucas Vazquez making it two in injury-time before Sergio Aguero tapped in his first goal for Barcelona with seconds left.
Barca have now lost a fourth consecutive Clasico for the first time since 1965 and stay a lowly eighth in La Liga, five points behind Madrid, who surge back to the top of the table.
After beating Valencia and winning a crucial Champions League game against Dynamo Kiev this week, it represents a fresh set-back for Barca and Koeman, whose future will again come under scrutiny. Madrid, meanwhile, see their own recovery bolstered, after backing up a thumping win over Shakhtar Donetsk to leave a rocky run in the rear-view mirror.
This was the first league meeting between these clubs without either Lionel Messi or Sergio Ramos since 2005 and while there were still veterans on show - Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Karim Benzema, Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets all starting - it was a Clasico more about the future.
For the first time in 65 years, six players younger than 22 began the game while Gavi, Barcelona's 17-year-old midfielder, was the youngest Barca starter in a Clasico in almost a century.
The promotion of a duel between Ansu Fati and Vinicius Junior perhaps felt a little forced, but both players have become symbols of hope. Fati endured one of those games to be expected sometimes of an 18-year-old, with the occasional threat dotted across a quieter display than he would have liked.