Barcelona beats Real Madrid to open 10-point gap in La Liga

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Barcelona opened a 10-point gap at the top of La Liga on Saturday after beating arch rivals Real Madrid by a solitary goal.

Ivan Rakitic scored the only goal with a lovely chip over goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois in the 26th minute as the Catalans took a giant step towards retaining their Liga title.

Madrid had their fair share of chances in front of goal, especially in the second half, but could not capitalize on any of them to grab the points.

The loss means Madrid remain third on the table with 48 points, 12 points less than the leaders, and two behind second placed Atletico Madrid, who have a game in hand.

Barcelona’s win on Saturday meant they are the first team ever to win on three consecutive visits to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Following Madrid’s loss, right back Dani Carvajal conceded his side’s chances of catching the league leaders, saying focus would now shift to retaining the Champions League title.

“We say goodbye to La Liga and we were at the gates of the cup final. But now it is time to get back up and fight for the Champions League and the league, though the truth is that the advantage against Barcelona is almost final,” Carvajal said after the game.

Real Madrid will host Ajax on Tuesday in the Champions League Round of 16 second leg, seeking to qualify for the quarter final stage. Los Blancos have a 2-1 advantage, but will be wary of the attacking threat posed by the Dutch side.