Ramos returns as Madrid face Barcelona

Madrid captain Ramos was substituted on in last week’s home defeat to Cadiz and missed the subsequent shock against Shakhtar Donetsk in the UEFA Champions League as the Spanish champions drew nearer to a crisis ahead of their first meeting with Barca this season.

But the center-back was fit for the La Liga opener at Camp Nou, scoring a Clement Lenglet free kick in the second half to restore Madrid’s lead after Ansu Fati canceled Federico Valverde’s opener in a hectic start.

Luka Modric made a neto mistake in the 90th minute to secure the points and bring Zinedine Zidane’s men to the top. For the first time since May 2008, they won La Liga victories against their fiercest rivals in a row – the last time they successfully defended their domestic title.

Barca now have no more wins in three leagues and are six points behind in midfield under new coach Ronald Koeman.

The first chance of a gripping match came when Karim Benzema patiently played a pass for Valverde to get over Neto in the top left corner in the fifth minute.

Vinicius Junior shot from goal as Madrid went for a quick second. Instead, they were held back three minutes after the start when Jordi Alba stormed in behind Nacho and got Fati to type.

Thibaut Courtois and Neto contested Lionel Messi and Benzema on both ends as an even, entertaining first half before Barca got off to a strong start in the second half.

Fati shot across the face of the goal and then Philippe Coutinho aimed a header that was wastefully far from the goalscorer’s precise cross.

But Lenglet’s stupid, unbalanced move against Ramos resulted in an extravagant fall that alerted the VAR to the foul and allowed the visiting skipper to push his kick past Neto.

The embattled Neto made a clever double stop by Toni Kroos and somehow blocked Ramos’ volley, but his valiant efforts to keep Barca in play were undone when he spilled the ball at the feet of Rodrygo, who settled on substitute Modric, to stay calm bump into the net.

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