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Bellingham brace earns Real Madrid Clasico win

AFP – Jude Bellingham’s stunning double snatched Real Madrid a 2-1 comeback victory at Barcelona in his first La Liga Clasico on Saturday.

The England international, who has started his Madrid career in remarkable goalscoring form, unleashed a rocket into the top corner from distance after Ilkay Gundogan had sent hosts Barcelona ahead at the Olympic Stadium.

Bellingham then fired home a second in stoppage time to silence Barcelona fans and reach 10 goals in the top flight this season.

Barcelona hit the woodwork twice and had the better of the game but Bellingham, La Liga’s top goalscorer, is in unstoppable form and inevitably made his mark in his first Clasico.

Bellingham’s brace sent Madrid to the top of La Liga, ahead of Girona on goal difference, with both teams four points ahead of Barcelona in third.

Jude Bellingham celebrates with his teammates after scoring a goal in a match against FC Barcelona. PHOTO: AFP
Barcelona’s Ferran Torres challenges Real Madrid’s Vinicius Junior. PHOTO: AFP

“He seems like a veteran… the goal to level it totally changed the game,” said Ancelotti of Madrid’s 20-year-old match-winner.

“What was surprising today was his shot, he’s always arriving in the box, today he scored a stupendous goal from in front of the area.”

Barcelona were boosted by the returns of Robert Lewandowski, Jules Kounde and Raphinha from injury, with Xavi naming them on the bench, but Frenkie de Jong and Pedri did not recover in time.

His counterpart Carlo Ancelotti selected Ferland Mendy at left back over Eduardo Camavinga and Fran Garcia, once again deploying Bellingham in the number 10 role as he got his first taste of arguably the world’s biggest club football match.

However it was another midfielder playing for the first time in the Clasico who broke the deadlock – Barcelona’s summer arrival Gundogan.

The former Manchester City man was sharpest when Aurelien Tchouameni intercepted Ferran Torres’ pass, diverting it back into his own area.

Centre-back David Alaba tried to clear but was thoroughly unconvincing and Gundogan read his intentions, hopped onto the ball and swept past Kepa Arrizabalaga in the sixth minute.

Fermin Lopez, one of the emerging young Barcelona La Masia academy products who has broken into the first team, slapped a shot against the post after the intense Gavi pressed high to win the ball back. Barcelona struck the woodwork again when Inigo Martinez headed Lopez’s inch-perfect cross against the post early in the second half, with Arrizabalaga thwarting Araujo on the follow-up.

Madrid were reduced to long-range efforts but eventually one ripped into the net to level the score, with just over 20 minutes remaining.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen saved a Tchouameni piledriver but he could not keep out Bellingham’s blast, pulling Madrid level in a game they had struggled to find a foothold in.

With the game heading towards an unsatisfying draw for both sides, Bellingham intervened decisively – in the right place at the right time to shoot through Ter Stegen’s legs after Luka Modric diverted Dani Carvajal’s cross into his path.