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Vinicius, Mariano hand Real Madrid win in El Clasico, reclaim first place in Spain

Real Madrid CF v FC Barcelona  - La Liga

MADRID, SPAIN - MARCH 01: Vinicius Jr. of Real Madrid celebrates after scoring his team’s first goal during the Liga match between Real Madrid CF and FC Barcelona at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on March 01, 2020 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Sonia Canada/Getty Images)

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The season’s second version of El Clasico was setting itself up to have a dull, scoreless final result like its predecessor. But as the match turned the final corner, Real Madrid’s new-age attackers showcased what the new era is all about.

With two second-half goals from Vinicius Jr. and Mariano, Real Madrid edged rivals Barcelona 2-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday. Los Blancos leapfrog Quique Setien’s side to take control of La Liga, as the total point count reaches 56.

Held back by an unimaginative Lionel Messi and laudable defensive efforts from the hosts, it’s the first time in 45 years that Barcelona don’t score a league goal against Real Madrid.

Zinedine Zidane’s side was persistent on generating goalscoring opportunities, but were met by a solid Marc-Andre ter Stegen between the sticks.

In the 71st minute, however, Vinicius Jr. cracked the code, scoring with the help of a minor deflection. The Brazilian attacker is the first teenager to score in El Clasico since Messi.

50 seconds after coming off the bench, Mariano followed suit, recording his first goal of the season in grand style. It was the 26-year-old’s first appearance and first shot of the season.

In typical fashion under Setien, Barcelona managed possession and the rhythm of the match. But Messi and Antoine Griezmann failed to sync, lacking to generate many dangerous chances at goal.

The win proves to be vital for Madrid, who were coming off loses to Levante and Manchester City in Champions League play.

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