Barcelona, Spain (SportsNetwork.com) - Luis Suarez's second-half strike proved decisive on Sunday as Barcelona claimed a nervy 2-1 victory over Real Madrid at the Camp Nou in the latest installment of El Clasico.
Widely considered the fiercest rivalry in world football, both clubs entered the clash with plenty on the line as they continued to battle for the La Liga title. The 230th edition of the Clasico was a pulsating affair for 90 minutes.
Since falling to a 2-1 defeat against Malaga on Feb. 21, the Catalans have won seven straight matches across all competitions and 17 of their last 18 games, while Real Madrid is struggling a bit, having gone winless in four of their last five matches across all competitions.
Los Blancos created the first great chance of the night in the 13th minute as Karim Benzema served a great ball across to Cristiano Ronaldo at the back post, but the reigning Ballon d'Or winner smashed it off the crossbar.
The hosts opened the scoring just five minutes later with some set-piece magic as Lionel Messi hit a driven free kick into the area where Jeremy Mathieu got free of his mark and sent a glancing header into the bottom right corner, past Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas.
Real Madrid drew level in the 31st minute with some excellent play of their own as Toni Kroos sent a direct ball down the channel to the feet of Benzema, who deftly flicked it into the path of an on-rushing Ronaldo and the Portuguese international poked it into the bottom left corner.
The deciding goal came in the 56th minute as Dani Alves played a long diagonal ball toward Suarez, who did superbly to collect the ball with one touch, ward off two Real Madrid defender and slide it home.
Barcelona turned up the pressure as the second half wore on and Messi, Neymar and Suarez all produced quality scoring chances, but Casillas came up large on several occasions to keep his side in the game.
The fourth official's board showed three minutes of added time, and Madrid pushed numbers forward looking for a late equalizer, but Barcelona held firm to claim all three points.
The result sees Barcelona increase its lead atop the table to four points over Real Madrid with 10 league matches remaining. Real Madrid remains in second place with 64 points.
Also in La Liga on Sunday, Sevilla continued its push for a Champions League place by extending its unbeaten run to seven matches with a comfortable 2-0 win over Villarreal.
Coke opened the scoring four minutes into the second half and Vitolo doubled the advantage with 25 minutes to play to wrap up all three points.
Imanol Agirretxe, Gonzalo Castro and Alfred Finnbogason all found the back of the net as David Moyes' Real Sociedad claimed a 3-1 win over Cordoba, which finished the match with only eight players.
Aleksandar Pantic was sent off for Cordoba after just six minutes, and despite going down a man early, Florin Andone opened the scoring to give the visitors the lead.
Agirretxe leveled things in the 34th minute and Castro made it 2-1 for Sociedad in the 75th miniute. Inigo Lopez and Daniel Pinillos were both sent off as the clock struck 90 minutes as things fell apart down the stretch for Cordoba.
In Sunday's final La Liga fixture, Deportivo and Espanyol played to a scoreless draw.