Real Madrid grabbed a superb 3-1 win over Barcelona at the Camp Nou, with Los Blancos bouncing back from a horrible week to grab a crucial win in La Liga's title race.
Against the backdrop of an empty stadium, El Clasico kicked off in high-tempo fashion. Karim Benzema produced a brilliant through ball to send Fede Valverde through and the Uruguayan scored from a narrow-angle to give Los Blancos the lead in just the fifth minute.
Barcelona did not let their heads drop, and Lionel Messi produced a trademark chip beyond the backline for Jordi Alba to run on to. He squared the ball for Ansu Fati to finish from close range, leveling the score at 1-1 with nine minutes gone. Both teams continued in gung-ho fashion but went into the break with the same scoreline.
After a relatively quiet start to the second half, the game came alive in an innocuous fashion. Clement Lenglet's tug on Sergio Ramos from a set-piece resulted in VAR awarding a penalty. The Madrid captain converted with aplomb, giving his side the lead in the 63rd minute.
Despite Neto's brilliance late on, Barcelona hung on, but their resistance was broken as Luka Modric kept calm to sidestep defenders and finish into the net late on, confirming a huge win for Madrid.
On that note, here are five talking points from a humdinger of a game.
#5 The silent El Clasico roars again
The first-ever El Clasico to be played behind closed doors, dubbed a 'Crisis Clasico' in many quarters before the game, displayed why it's the best, the biggest, the most entertaining game in football. Many expected a cagey game, with both clubs fearing a loss. Instead, both sides grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and going hammer-and-tongs at each other.
The narrative prior to the game in most Spanish newspapers decried the lack of quality in both teams, yet we saw plenty of deliciously good football. For all of those fans yearning back for the days of Guardiola vs Mourinho, Messi vs Ronaldo, the games were often dirty, physical encounters.
It was a pity that the 98000 seats in the Camp Nou were left empty, and it's obviously understandable given Spain's spike in COVID-19 cases. The fans will be back again one day, and in a time of uncertainty they can count on one thing:
El Clasico will always deliver.
#4 Young guns shine for Barcelona
A prevailing story in the air of Barcelona prior to the game lamented the decline of an aging squad. With Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets both getting caught out for the opening goal, there was justifiable proof for that widely-held opinion.
However, Barcelona are also in possession of some of the best youngsters in the game, and they repaid the faith shown in them by Ronald Koeman.
Ansu Fati was brilliant in a false nine role, dropping deep when needed and making incisive runs behind the defense to give Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane a tough time. The youngster is rewriting record books and may very well be the one who Koeman builds around for the future.
Sergino Dest and Pedri also put in impressive performances, which bodes well for Barcelona, results notwithstanding.