Neymar shines as Barca down Real 2-1 in 'Clasico'
By Braden Phillips
BARCELONA (Reuters) - Neymar stole the limelight from Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale with a goal and an assist as Barcelona secured a 2-1 win over bitter rivals Real Madrid in Saturday's La Liga 'Clasico' at the Nou Camp.
In a match watched by millions of people around the world, Barca landed an early blow in the title race thanks to the Brazilian's clinical 19th-minute finish and a sublime chip from substitute Alexis Sanchez 11 minutes from time.
Jese came off the bench to pull a goal back in the first minute of added time but it was little more than a consolation for Real, who were outplayed for long periods and slip six points behind the champions with 10 matches played.
After a predictably cagey start with few chances in the 167th league meeting between the world's two richest clubs by income, Neymar opened the scoring when he collected the ball from Andres Iniesta on the left of the penalty area.
Cutting inside on to his right foot, his low shot was slightly deflected by Real fullback Dani Carvajal before zipping past goalkeeper Diego Lopez into the far corner of the net.
Real battled after the break and Karim Benzema, who replaced world record signing Bale on the hour, smashed a shot against the bar before Alexis scored with an exquisite chip over Lopez from just outside the area after being played through by Neymar.
"I am very happy to score such a special goal but above all for the three points," Neymar said in an interview with Spanish television broadcaster Canal Plus.
"It was very exciting to score in a match that all players want to be a part of," added the 21-year-old, bought from Santos for 57 million euros ($79 million) in the close season. Continued...